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Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography Paperback – August 11, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0596523701 ISBN-10: 059652370X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (August 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059652370X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596523701
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Johnson is a photographer, designer and teacher. His photographs have appeared in numerous publications including American Photo, Audubon, Life Magazine, Landscape Magazine, Pacific Discovery, Sierra Magazine, U.S. News and World Report and The New York Times, to name a few. Internationally recognized as a digital photography "pioneer," Johnson's photographs are part of the permanent collections of many institutions including the Oakland Museum, the Getty, the City of New York, Apple Computer, and the National Park Service. Also known as a masterful educator, he has been running a workshop program 25 years, and has helped to build a wondrous portable digital lab, the "Magical Digital Bus". Among his many awards and recognition for his groundbreaking work was his induction into the Photoshop Hall of Fame in 2003, grants from the NEA, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, California Arts Council, Adobe, Apple and many others.

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Customer Reviews

I have been through the book front to back once and another couple of times with random chapter reading.
D. Woodbeck
In one short tome, Stephen Johnson speaks volumes regarding digital photography as only one of the pioneers of fine art digital photography could.
L. Angier
This was a great book--not only to read about some of the history of photography, but to also see a master at work on his own photographs.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Hobbs on August 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have worked alongside Steve in Ireland, California and Antarctica and having this book is like having the Master at your side. Steve is the consumate teacher. He has a unique gift of making the complex simple. As a teacher myself, I understand the challenge. In this book, Stephen Johnson takes the reader along on his own personal journey of discovery, dealing with the birth of Digital imaging and the transition from film to silicon in a way that is both history lesson and photoshop primer. The key feature of this book over most others on similar topics is that it is aimed at photographers who are passionate about making beautiful images and not obsessed with the latest filter or gimick. Steve's approach takes you through the process from visualisation to fine print stopping along the way with tips and advice on how to maximise the quality with the minimum of intervention. The book is beautifully written, designed and produced to a standard we have grown to expect from Stephen Johnson. I am making it a mandatory purchase for my Fine Art Media students. As a photographer and teacher for 30 years and working digitally for the last 12 or so, I still could not put this book down. I learnt something from every page. I cannot reccommend it highly enough.

Anthony Hobbs
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Andrew A. Stern on August 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a book for anyone who is a photographer, either professional or amateur. It is also the photography book for the 21st century. Now that film is pretty much dead, both for the camera and darkroom, this book is essential for understanding the new digital technology. Stephen Johnson was there at the creation, and this book takes you through all of the necessary steps for understanding and working in the digital format.

The book is extremely well written. The language is clear, the illustrations are beautiful. I have taken several workshops with Stephen, and as others have said, he is superb teacher. In fact he is responsible for getting me started on the path of digital photography, and teaching me how to scan and print some my old black and white negatives from Appalachia. This has resulted in several exhibits, including a major one at the University of Kentucky next year. In the last few years, I have bought several books on digital photography, but this is the one I will keep close to my computer. A final note: I used to teach photography at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, if I were still teaching (now emeritus), this would be my textbook of choice. It is simply superb.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By ueberhund VINE VOICE on August 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a truly fascinating book. Rather than just another How-To book on digital photography, the author takes the reader on a journey through a history of "digital imaging", shows how the same principles of "classic" photography apply to digital photography today, and examines what the future may hold. According to the author, we are still in the stone age of digital photography--we are only now becoming aware of some of the tools that are available. He speculates, "just imagine what the future holds".

Digital photography actually has its ancestors in the cathode ray tube, the television, and even radar. Rudimentary sorts of digital cameras were used in the Voyager space programs. In any case, the digital camera you use today owes a great deal to these early ancestors. Understanding this history is important, so that the workings of modern digital cameras is understood.

While digital photography does not use a darkroom per se, as in classic photography, a computer running Photoshop can act as a digital darkroom. In this section, the author discusses some of the common techniques used in a "digital darkroom". Interestingly enough, many of these techniques have a direct counterpart in classic photography. It is fascinating to see so many similarities.

Finally, there is a very interesting discussion on photo doctoring, ethics, and what the future may hold in this regard for digital photography. In this section, the author shows a doctored photo of President Clinton shaking hands with an alien (courtesy of the Weekly World News), and even more insidious, a doctored photo of John Kerry and Jane Fonda together at an anti-war rally (the photo of John Kerry was taken in 1971; the photo of Jane Fonda in 1972).
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wuehler on September 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
Unlike any other book on digital photography I've read up to this point. Part science class, part history lecture, part art lesson, all education. Not the read if you're looking for a "rules for taking good digital pictures" book. However, if you're looking for an intelligent discussion on all that goes into a digital image, this is the book. Details on how digital cameras and scanners work; how light is transformed into a digital image.

I found the section titled "Photography, Art and the Future" a very interesting opinion piece on a variety of subjects in the news that are obviously important to the author. It covers topics facing photographers in general such as ethics, ownership, copyright, professional respect, social concerns and environmental work.

A unique at digital photography, smart and well written.
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