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Light, Gesture, and Color (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Photographer Jay Maisel’s career spans 61 years. His name has become synonymous with vibrant color photography that uses light and gesture to create countless unforgettable images for advertising, editorial, and corporate communications. In addition, his pictures appear in books and private, corporate, and museum collections. Some of his commercial accomplishments include five Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers, the first two covers of New York magazine, and the cover of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Included among his many awards for excellence are the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, American Society of Media Photographers’ Photographer of the Year Award, and the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award.
Since he stopped taking on commercial work in the late 1990s, Jay has continued to focus on his personal work. A graduate of Cooper Union and Yale University, he continues his education by teaching younger photographers at workshops, seminars, and lectures around the world, and has developed a reputation as a giving and inspiring teacher.
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Top Customer Reviews
In his workshops, he's always done a lecture called "Light, Gesture, Color". In the workshops I did, at the end of the hour when the lights were turned on, the room was still and silent for a very long time. The Brits have a great word for how we felt - "gobsmacked." He was just showing photos of his, and casually talking, as each image came up, he'd say some short phrase or sentence, in the imperative, before casually talking about the image. Seemed conversational, but it wasn't - it was a very carefully structured set of lessons in understanding how light, gesture, and color work, how they make great or ho-hum photos, and how to see and understand what's going on. The density of information is what caused the long silence at the end, and the same is true here.
If you just casually flip through the pictures and read the few sentences with each, you'll think, "huh?" because he's talking about what he was thinking, why he shot when he did and from where he did, what he should have done instead, what he saw and how he used what was there. What does that have to do with great photographs? I've been out walking with him and other photographers, and when later on we shared what we shot, when Jay showed his images everyone was "I didn't see that!" We were standing where he was, looking at the same things - he got photographs that were pretty humbling to the photographers who were right there but missed the light, color, and gesture that he saw.
A lot of the advice sounds crazy simple, maybe even like he's pulling your leg. "Walk slower." "Go out empty." "Be open." "Keep moving." "Shoot it forever." I can tell you it's NOT simple, but that making those changes to your mental processes DOES make a huge difference. I've seen him do a portfolio review and tell a photographer they're not walking slow enough, and he points out (in the frame and things NOT in the frame, how does he do that?) what that photographer missed, because they weren't walking slow enough to see it. I've seen how much better that photographer's work became from just walking more slowly. And from each one of the little seemingly inconsequential pieces of advice. That photographer was me.
(Those little seemingly inconsequential pieces of advice are the titles at the top of each page. The rest of the text for each image explains the why.)
So if you'd like to learn from a photographer with multiple lifetime achievement awards, 5 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition covers, whose commercial customers stayed with him for decades, many album covers (including Kind of Blue) and iconic images of New York City, this book's a good buy. You won't learn technical stuff about cameras and lights and post-processing. (Only four images in the entire book had ANY post processing, and he considers those to be failures. Only a similar number of images in the book have been cropped. "Get it right when you shoot it.") You will learn about seeing, how to go out open, work what you're given, get it right when you shoot it, and keep shooting it forever.
I suggest reading it a few pages/pictures/lessons at a time, thinking about what you do, and what you'd change based on the lessons. Then go out empty and shoot, but have that little voice in the back of your mind keep reminding you about the lessons. When you see your photos start to change, read a few more lessons, rinse, repeat.
You will enjoy the photographs but do not expect brief philosophy of light, gesture, color in his writing. Narrating experiences need not be sloppy to sound authentic.
Incidentally, I saved a little money on my book purchase by buying the Kindle version (not the paperback) and having it downloaded to the Kindle app on my iPad. Super viewing!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not very descriptive on composition... But it's rare any of these books are.Read more
A lire impérativement !Read more