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Long on Photos, Short on Technique
on August 28, 2010
The author has a great idea for a book. His execution is bad. The idea: Ask a number of photographers to write a chapter on something unusual that they are doing with a camera or accessories. There are chapters on stop motion, aerial photography, printing on unusual surfaces, night photography, stereoscopic photography, coating lenses with gel like material, building extension poles, etc. The photos are enticing, but the explanation on how to accomplish the results is incomplete and generally poor. Take the stop action photography. The chapter shows four or five pieces of equipment that center on a photoelectric cell. All look relatively inexpensive. The problem: The core piece of equipment (which is named in the book) is manufactured by company in a Germany and their web site is in German--no apparent English version of the site. I have found no U.S. suppliers or alternative equipment producers. Even if I did, the author provides no description of how to configure the components. The photo that shows the set up is so small, it is impossible to identify several of the components in the photo and how they are connected. In one chapter (on a form of macro photography), the author tells us his inspiration, but offers nothing on technique. Many of the photos throughout the book are not even accompanied by aperture, iso, shutter speed, or other relevant and basic settings--some are.
Bottom line: I can understand why a photographer who is selling his photos as art would not want to disclose how he or she achieved the captivating result, but people writing or contributing to a book on technique shouldn't bother participating if they are unwilling provide a specific, step-by-step discussion of the techniques and equipment involved. This is like selling a cookbook with enticing photos of the finished dish, but no recipes or ingredients.