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Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography (Updated Edition) Paperback – October 1, 2003
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About the Author
Bryan Peterson is an internationally known instructor of photography, a widely exhibited photographer, and a best-selling author. He divides his time between Seattle, WA, and Lyons, France.
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Like all his other works, if you need a simple explanation of complex theory this is they only way to go.
This should be on everyone's bookshelf I feel no matter how long you have been 'shooting'.
I have been in photography since the very early 1970's and still never get tired of reading and learning new concepts and knowing 'why' and not just 'how'.
This book starts off with a basic discussion of the characteristics of various lenses. There's a short description of how each lens type behaves followed by a few examples photographs used for illustration. The style/method of presentation in this topic is repeated throughout this book. The main text is clear and informative (focusing on just the basics) and there is a small selection of example photographs for each topic. Each photograph has a short sidebar accompanying it. These sidebars have a bit of a tendency to contain more text about the thing being photograph, rather than focusing on the relevance of that photograph to the subject. This may be a bit distracting, but not entirely unwelcome.
The next three chapters deal with 'core' compositional topics. You'll learn about elements of visual design (lines, shapes, etc), followed by basic ideas like the "rule of thirds" and "frame within a frame". A short discussion about the different characteristics about light closes out this section. Although there was not a lot of depth in these topics, there was enough material to be engaging for the beginning photographer.
To wrap up the book, there's a short chapter about digital photography, although the material is dated and particularly shallow. A chapter on 'career considerations' is last, and I found it surprising to see this chapter in a book clearly meant for beginners. Like the previous chapter, there's not a lot that would be useful here for either beginners or seasoned photographers.
Overall, this book is a good choice for someone who has just learned the basic technical aspects of photography, and is searching for ways to augment that information to take better photographs. While you won't find a lot of depth in each topic, the level of detail is appropriate for the audience, and the material presented serves as a good foundation for further study. Recommended.