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Customer Review

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful mix of good writing and GREAT pictures - just what I needed, September 7, 2008
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
I had been looking for a book on design for ages, since they tend to be expensive, I looked in second-hand book stores first, but it seems that all I found there was way too boring and tedious for me: starting with basic shapes only to build up to how to incorporate them into photography half way through the book at best. That could very well be the way to go for serious design/photography students, but I do not have time or interest in something that detailed and technical. I wanted a nice overview of the techniques that are available to a photographer, and not just a "follow the rule of thirds" kind of advice that you get from most online photography tips, but a more profound discussion on why the rule of thirds is even important, how it tends to affect the viewer, and when is it appropriate to break it.
And this book provides exactly that - a brief but concise overview of the most prominent design theories, based on the research on the way we see/interpret things. I am definitely not a design expert after having read this book, but I know as much about it as I need/can afford to learn at this point, being an amateur with no ambition to go pro in the observable future.
The illustrations in the book ARE extremely well-chosen and beautifully reproduced, which is not always the case in photography books, alas. They are a treat to look at.

To address some of the critiques voices here in the respect to this book:
1) No, it does not cover ISO, shutter speed and aperture, and you are better off buying the book by Peterson if that is what you need. I read Peterson first, about a year ago, and it felt right to read this book second, they are not in any way complementary, their focus is totally different, but combined, they provide you with a deeper understanding of what you do when you look through the viewfinder.
2) I find the book very well written. It's concise, clear and well-illustrated and I even found it a pleasurable read. I would definitely not say it is hard to read, it is not the most fun and light-hearted thing you'll ever read, but it's not fiction, it is technical writing, so it will hardly come as a surprise to you. It is definitely among the least convoluted technical books I've ever read.
3) As to "it adds nothing new to the matter"... Well, first of all, it IS a book that basically summarizes the last 100 years of research in the design and its perception, so it does not claim that it is ground-breaking and new!
Second of all, this is a valid criticism only for those who already have dozens of photography books and are looking for more (but then again, if that is the case, why are you even looking into Freeman? he is clearly not geared towards a seasoned pro). If this is your first book on design, as it was for me, pretty much EVERYTHING in this book is going to be new for you to a degree (yeah, I've heard of the rule of thirds before, but never read a detailed overview of how it came about and why).
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