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The Photographer's Eye Paperback – March 1, 2007
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About the Author
John Szarkowski is Director Emeritus of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art. He was Director of the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art for twenty-nine years, from 1962 to 1991. His thinking about photography, US News & World Report said in 1990, 'whether Americans know it or not, has become our thinking about photography.' In addition to The Photographer's Eye, Szarkowski is the author of numerous books about the medium, including Looking at Photographs (1974), still required reading for photography students.
Top customer reviews
These two books complement each other - makes sense, IIRC Szarkowski was some kind of mentor to Shore. Also they complement the approximately 100% of how-to books on photography that never mention how to do photography. Most photography books exclusively cover technical stuff that in 2016 anyone can easily master in an afternoon.
Of course there is a surfeit of writing about *about* photography, but IMHO those are for the second semester of the course of study I'm proposing. Maybe Sontag and Barthes would be the texts for that class. I think it's good for a photographer to limit that kind of reading, anyway - too much photography nowadays has photography as its subject.
When I became deeply interested in photography as a hobby, I tore through lots of books and videos, and I always had a sense like, "Yeah, but that doesn't explain what ____ is doing," (whoever was my favorite photographer that week). I don't know where I got that sense, but I also sense that many photographers are missing that sense. This book would instill that sense in anyone, I think.
I found Shore's book early on - I wish I had found *The Photographer's Eye* at the same time. I think I would have developed much faster into a photographer with direction and purpose.
"The Photographer's Eye" is the perfect title for this book- It doesn't overwhelm you with essays explaining how to see, how to think and what each image "means". Instead, it presents 5 expertly curated collections of photographs (The Thing Itself, The Detail, The Frame, Time, and Vantage Point) and it gives the viewer just a tiny bit of written information to consider regarding that collection. The viewer is then forced to visually consider and decipher each image (as well as the collection as a whole) and make those wonderful little discoveries on their own. In effect, to see and understand using the photographer's eye rather than the writer's word. Man, Szarkowski was a genius.
I can't recommend it highly enough. Beautiful images, beautiful sequence, beautifully curated.
This is a book that I've already read through 3 times shortly after I bought it, and I'm sure that I will return to it over and over for inspiration.
I've been a photographer since the late 70's but this book brought me new insight.
Firstly, John Szarkowski draws a parallel between the art that forged photography - painting - and photography in itself. A comparison between the inclusion of a painting canvas and the exclusion of a camera viewfinder.
He does not dismiss the photograph as something lost in the space and time, but as something in motion, even if only for 1/30 of a second. A Cartier Bresson's "decisive moment", not in the sense that is commonly accepted by most(a dramatic climax), but a visual one.
The author emphasizes that this is a new art and needs to be still discovered in many senses. The photographers need to discover new meanings and ways to express themselves in new images.
John Szarkoswi was the curator of photography of the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York for many years. In the exhibits he put into action his thoughts, inclusively promoting color photography.
As a photographer, I have learned a lot in those few pages.
One of the conclusions that I draw is that the film and digital controversy is innocuous. Whatever image you capture through the viewfiender is photography.