Book Review

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Complete Photographer: A Masterclass in Every Style & Subject Tom Ang (DK, 2010)

"Join Tom Ang and 20 top international photographers for a series of inspiring tutorials on the 10 most popular areas of photography. Master every discipline, explore different approaches, hone your skills and develop your own personal style: new insights, key skills, creative thinking and inspiration"

I borrowed this newly published book from my local library recently. The focus on contemporary photographers makes it quite different to a lot of other photography 'technique' books out there, so it's definitely worth a look.

Structure
The Complete Photographer is divided into 10 sections:
Sport, Travel, Fashion & Nude, Events & Milestones, Architecture, Documentary, Portrait, Landscapes, Fine Art, Wildlife & Nature.

Lead-in
Each section starts with a short introduction and chronological history of photography in the subject area, including current trends, important moments and key players.

Technical Know-how
There then follows a tutorial focusing on technique and analysis of an image broken down into sections.

Next is an assignment for the reader based on the chapter's topic and the discussed techniques. Information is given on the Brief, Tips and Things to Think About. However, in my view this part is rather broad in scope and doesn't provide as much inspiration as it might. The 'Must-see Master' box in this part of each chapter is interesting - giving the reader some brief information on a key photographer (often from the past) who is well known in the particular subject area.

The Professionals
We then come to a very interesting part: an interview with a photographer who specialises in the particular subject area. A fixed set of questions is used in each interview: I enjoyed comparing the different responses.

Next is a 'behind the scenes' section, which follows the photographer on a shoot from beginnings to final image. The section ends with a double page mini portfolio of the photographer's other work. Two photographers are profiled in each chapter.

Moving on
Every section ends with a Top Tips page which gives helpful advice, accompanied by relevant shots, for photographing the topic covered in the chapter.

Conclusion
I found the book refreshing and challenging. Each chapter is packed full of information and ideas can be gleaned from every page. I particularly enjoyed the annotated 'behind the scenes' pages and the interviews with photographers which are peppered with useful hints and tips on taking better shots. The Complete Photographer moves away from the the usual 'how to' style of many other books, taking a practical yet creative angle and in my view effectively bridging the gap between amateur and professional.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot for reviewing this book. It's definitely worth checking out. I have Tom Ang's "How to Photograph Absolutely Everything" and although I have to admit I haven't read the book in its entirety, I did find his recipes very interesting. Worth a read, if you haven't done so already.

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