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The Minimalist Photographer 1st Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1937538095
ISBN-10: 1937538095
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Editorial Reviews


"Who is this book for? This is yet another excellent read for aspiring photographers. Breaking down the many overwhelming aspects and complications of photography, this book manages to focus on what is most relevant in true photographic creation. The Minimalist Photographer touches on all of the key components of authentic photography in an easy to digest and extremely helpful manner."  -- Photo.net

About the Author

Steve Johnson was originally a painter who took photographs. Over the last decade he has become a photographer who paints occasionally. His distinctive minimal style stems from the belief that subject matter is not as important as aesthetic considerations like composition, tone, and line.

Steve has taught visual art and undertaken commercial art projects on both sides of the Atlantic and in the Middle East. He and his wife also owned a gallery that specialized in both painting and photography.

Steve's work has been exhibited in both the United States and the United Kingdom. He is a UK citizen who lives and works in the American Midwest.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Rocky Nook; 1 edition (April 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937538095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937538095
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #734,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The title of the book is The Minimalist Photographer, and it's all about what you bring to your photography, and why. Good photographs might happen as a result of just knowing how to use a camera, but consistently great images of any kind result from merging that technical know-how with some idea of what you want to convey about what you see.

Johnson clearly sets the premise for this book in the Introduction, beginning with the all-too-familiar crisis that a lot of us face after the excitement of a new camera wears off and we ask ourselves, "What now?" He came to realize that without bringing some kind of aesthetic philosophy to his photography, it would remain little more than an exercise in technical competence. He chose a minimalist, reductionist philosophical approach, and found that it works on all levels, whether as a style of art or as a conscious choice in equipment. Once that approach, that philosophy, was in place, the possibilities opened up, and interesting images could be made from nearly anything.

Developing an aesthetic philosophy begins with self-exploration, and the first chapter is appropriately titled "You." It starts with an explanation of why it is easier now to develop your own approach to photography than it was in the past, thanks to digital cameras and being able to share photos on the Internet, without worrying about meeting a pre-ordained standard set by publishers and gallery owners.

The chapter really kicks in for me, though, when Johnson poses the question, "Why do you want to take photographs?" It is a harder question to answer than it might first appear, but it is the first step toward developing your own philosophy, and you need to be honest. From there he asks, "What type of photographer are you now?
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Format: Paperback
As a photographer do you sometimes feel that you are stuck in a groove that you'd like to leave? If so, this is a book you should pick up. I have been taking photos for 47 years, and I have certainly gone through these periods and wish that I had seen this book before now. Nevertheless, even now I have found this commentary on photography of significant value.
Steve takes a long view of the art of photography. He adequately reviews the history of where photography has been, where it is now, and peers into the future.
If you have felt overwhelmed by the flood of technology on the market, you will find relief here, as Steve points out the pitfalls of the photographic publications' bias towards the market's "latest and greatest." He supports your suspicion that you don't have to invest excessively while pointing you in the right direction regarding your interests and what the market offers.
Steve's interest is in promoting you as a reflective and thoughtful student of the photographic arts. We are all students here and in the introduction to his chapter on Composition and Aesthetics he says, "I believe we learn more from teachers who are not afraid to inject their own thoughts and passions regarding a subject than those who do their best to imitate a textbook on legs." Steve is passionate about this art form and to illustrate his book each chapter includes a gallery of his photos that not only illustrate the points of the chapter but his point of view captured in the title, The Minimalist Photographer.
This book challenges the reader to think about the question of why and to engage with others regarding the art of photography. It is written for a broad spectrum: from beginner to seasoned veteran and offers thoughtful commentary to all. I strongly recommend it to anyone who uses a camera either casually or consciously striving to grow their eye.
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Format: Paperback
I have to admit I made a couple of mistakes when I got my copy of The Minimalist Photographer. Firstly, I wasn't really aware of minimalist images and have to admit that they aren't really my cup of tea; but that turned out to be a very happy mistake. Photography has always been a slightly nerdy pursuit and it's all too easy to get wrapped up in the technology and lose sight of the actual picture making. This seems to have become even more the case with the advent of digital photography where a workflow might be take as many shots as possible, discard 99.9% of them then Photoshop the remaining 0.1% to within an inch of their pixels; more an application of technology than aesthetics. This is not the approach advocated by The Minimalist Photographer. While the focus is very much on the minimal image the approach could easily be described as minimal in all aspects, from the hardware you use all the way to the post processing you engage in.

The book itself is very person centered rather than technology or technique centered and starts with the question of why do you want to take photos and what sort of photographer do you want to be. While this may seem trite it should actually be the basis for all your decisions as a photographer - your approach is going to be radically different if you are interested in say taking snaps for a blog rather than portrait photography. From there you're led into a discussion of the workflow which is requirements rather than technology based; use the workflow that works for you not that advocated by anyone else. I think this is the only photography book I've seen so far that doesn't fall into line with the "thou must use Photoshop" edict and instead recommends the rather lighter weight and simpler (but perfectly adequate for most purposes) Lightroom.
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