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on August 8, 2014
This is not going to be of help for most commercial photographers...I've noticed the lowest reviews are by folks who are looking to improve technical skills. I can imagine this to be a great resource for any photographer feeling stuck creatively (or those who need a good laugh). Some of my friends/photo heroes have been generous and thoughtful enough to share their successful assignments or strategies to get out of a foto-funk. So far in browsing, I already read 3 great entries that I would have NEVER thought of, even after a decade of teaching. Great collection, thanks JF and GH!
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on July 4, 2014
This is an excellent source of thoughtful photographic anecdotes, some stories and a bunch of assignments of many thought-provoking types.

No matter what level of photography you operate at, analog or digital, professional or not, I believe you'll benefit from this excellent sourcebook. You simply pick and choose the ones you want to take a shot at. It's not a novel. You don't need to read it cover to cover one chapter after the previous chapter. I read various assignments at random, thought about them, made a few notes and when I was off shooting on my own, reviewed my notes and thoughts to expand on the assignments and created some interesting results.

Some people here have questioned the fact this work doesn't contain photos. It doesn't need to nor do I suspect it was ever supposed to. Simply stated, it doesn't lead by example but rather stimulates your artistic curiosity, urging you to think about the assignments the contributors offer in short, concise form;. To embellish them or not is up to the reader and then go on to craft your own photographs. You learn by your own examples and critiquing your own work, deciding what YOU like and don't like about a particular photograph of yours.

You can do that individually or perhaps in small groups. Photography afterall, is an intensely personal pursuit. While it's not uncommon for some to try and duplicate someone elses work that you liked, all you learn from that experience is how to duplicate rather than producing original work. And while that's certainly appropriate in learning things like lighting, it doesn't help you grow in terms of conceptualization.

The suggestions used to spark creativity and conceptualization here are diverse and I found also quite interesting. I also enjoyed mulling them over in my off hours. It's a nice portable and fun piece of work, one I highly recommend. I've been in this business for 37 years. If you've gotten into a creative rut it will help liberate you. If you're not, it will still help expand your photographic horizons, maybe see things better and liberate your creativity in ways that you've perhaps never thought of. It also doesn't try and sell you anything. To me, those qualities are priceless and well-worth the $20 bucks. It also gives you the opportunity to support Aperture.
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on June 29, 2014
Scanning this book and using small memo stickers for pages I want to come back to when I get to the last assignment.

They are some wonderful ideas and you can't help but come up with many more as you read them. There is plenty of space to add notes as I have as you go along.

If your willing to put in the time the ideas within will keep you busy.
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on June 22, 2014
After a quick reading to get a feel for all the tips, projects, and insights. I am making that list of ones that I will tackle in the next week, month, and year. What a gift! Great curation of experienced photographers, and educators in the visual arts. If you can't find something to shoot after having this book in your hands... you might be totally creatively dead!!!
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on June 20, 2014
Even those of us that have been in the business for 50 plus years sometimes need a jump start. Great series of brain storming ideas that may lead you to your next project. It has mine.
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on July 13, 2014
This is the kind of book that will be fun to pull off the shelf and open to a random page every once in a while, especially when your photographic muse is on vacation. If you don't find a particular entry inspiring, just turn the page. Every entry is different; nobody will be inspired by each and every one.

It could have been improved with a few more photos but, then again, it wasn't sold as a book of images.
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on May 31, 2015
An incredibly valuable compilation of the most original and outstanding self-assignments for photographers. Nothing like it exists on the internet. Every page of the 300+ assignments by leading photographers can lead to successful, original, exciting photographs, even when one expects to only take a few snaps. A superb resource for photographers, whether professional or amateur.
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on November 17, 2015
What a fascinating book. This is not really designed to be worked through cover to cover, but more looked at when you're in a slump. Some of the assignments are really more words of wisdom than assignments. However, this book is full of great challenges to really help your creative juices flow. I'm in a small group of photographer who challenge each other and when we need new ideas, we pull from this book. One challenge, for example, is to shoot a sheet of white paper on a white background only in 36 unique ways. Sounds horrible right? but we were thrilled with our results and really got into it. My favorite so far has been to shoot an excerpt from a book, shoot the book as a prop or metaphor, and do something to the book and shoot it. I certainly haven't made it through yet, but I'm pleased with the purchase.
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on August 14, 2014
This is an awesome book for all photographers from newbies to people who have been making photos for a long time and are looking for something fun, reinvigorating, or just interesting! It's not your traditional "how to" kind of book, it's experimental and thoughtful with little tidbits of insight from so many great photographers and teachers. A treasure!
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on February 7, 2015
So yes it's a little bit condescending but aren't most photographers? People may find this book not helpful. But I think for a little inspriration and some unconventional ideas this book is great and helpful. This book reminds me a little bit of art school. Warning it's not your typical photography book. If your looking for typical then this is not your book (although some may need a book like this). I gave this book 4 stars because I love that this book is non traditional and kooky at times. We need kooky in our creative lives, no? I do know some of the photographers but not all. I do wish I saw some ideas for example from Diane Arbus herself (sorry Amy). In Diane Arbus's bio there is an assignment for her students. It's a wonderful assignment. I only wish this book was a little more like that. But I think it's good for what it is. There are no photographs and I agree with that decision. I will assume the creator of the book didn't want the reader to get too influenced by the photographers. This allows the reader to come up with their own interpretation of the assignments. Ok so it means we have to read without pictures, oh well. Some of you may get annoyed at the tone and the unconventional ideas / assignments. Dearest "pro" photographer humble yourself the fact is you don't know it all. Lov your fellow photographer. :/
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