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Photo-Editing and Presentation: A Guide to Image Editing and Presentation for Photographers and Visual Artists (Photo-Developing) Paperback – March 1, 2009
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From the Inside Flap
This book introduces photographers, print-makers and other graphic artists to the creative possibilities of image editing and presentation. The focus is on how meaning can be created and shaped if the emphasis is placed on the totality of the visual experience rather than by looking at each image in isolation. In the first instance there is a discussion of a variety of ways images can be grouped together. This act has implications for how the work should subsequently be presented. To this end there is a discussion of various presentation techniques, and how each different forum can further amplify the desired effect. Finally there is a hands-on look at a variety of presentation techniques such as artist book publishing, exhibition design and portfolio construction that will help the reader to present his or her work in a professional manner. By employing the principles outlined in this book readers can expect that the content of their work will be more coherent and accessible, not only to an audience, but also more importantly, to themselves.
About the Author
Douglas Holleley PhD is an experienced and devoted teacher. He has conducted classes and workshops throughout the United States, Australia and the UK. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed, Digital Book Design and Publishing. His books and artworks are in many public collections including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
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This slender volume promised to do that. There are chapters on basic editing strategy, which includes a discussion of sequencing; macro-editing strategies, which considers larger agglomerations of photographs; presentation, which compares books, portfolios, exhibitions and time and/or screen based systems; and technique which discusses practical issues like making a book cover and matting a photograph.
In every case, except the chapter on technique, I felt the author was on the edge of providing extremely valuable advice, but failed to develop the ideas to a useful point. For example in his sequencing discussion, Hollely states that sequencing can be organized by internal logic such as by category or genre, or recurring visual motifs, or color, but he only provides a few examples, and I could not understand the logic of most of the few. He discussed using the linguistic concept of figures-of-speech, like metaphor or synecdoche, but didn't show how this would work out with images. (To be fair, he did refer to Stieglitz's images of parts of Georgia O'Keefe's body to suggest attributes of her personae as a whole, but it would have been useful to have been shown other examples.)
On the other hand, the chapter on techniques offered practical advice, but not as good as, say, "Mat, Mount and Frame It Yourself (Crafts Highlights)".
For an author who suggests that an image should be presented in a way to most effectively convey an idea to the viewer, I was struck by the number of images that scarcely seemed relevant to the discussion. For example, I did not understand purpose of a drawing of a hand polishing a Daguerre-type plate.
Still this book comes further than any other I've encountered in discussing layout and sequencing of photographs to enhance the presentation of photographic ideas. For folks who insist upon having a book to explain a photographic subject, this is probably as good as it gets. But frankly, the how-to videos on a site like Blurb do a far better job of presenting this subject.
I recently created a website as a means of displaying my images to anyone interested, and am currently planning my second small solo exhibition. As a result of these two activities I had become painfully aware that thinking about each image in isolation was not going to work but I was struggling to find a foothold to think about them in any other way. This book has provided me with that foothold.
This book is unique, and well worth getting if your situation is similar to mine or if you want to have a systematic framework for understanding the ways in which images might communicate meaning by contextualizing them in different ways. The book is also unique because it introduces some tantalizing pieces of otherwise daunting theory in a very subtle and useful way. There is also a section in the book in which the author describes practical techniques for presenting images in books, folios, mattes, or as objects in their own right. But for me the real value in the book is the chapter on "Macro editing systems" in which the issue of grouping images together is considered in both practical and theoretical terms.
It's unusual to find a book like this and I recommend it heartily -- it does what it promises in a direct and accessible way, and has given me a great deal to help me with my own photo selection and presentation activities.
Go ahead ... buy it now.