Thursday, December 8, 2011

On My Bookshelf ~ Exploration Thursday!

It's occurred to me that I've not had time to discuss the type of material I keep handy when I want to be inspired, challenged, or taught. Nor who's teaching or writing styles have been (in my opinion) the most instructive and motivational without being a difficult read. These five books featured on the post today will forever be on my bookshelf at home and I'm about to break down why.

My first pick is pictured above (from so the action statement above each book will not work, just letting you know now...) and it is hands down my favorite David DuChemin book ever. So far. His new one is on order and after I read it this one may have to make room for "Photographically Speaking"... anyways... as I was saying, "Within The Frame" is invaluable to any photographer, David has an easy going yet no-holds barred kind of writing style, the images fully explain each concept he introduces to what makes an engaging photograph and you are left feeling like you finally understand why you love to approach photography the way you do.

This is my latest acquisition and you'll appreciate Manning's breakdown of how to discover who you are as a photographer and then how that applies to the various avenues available for boosting your career as a photographer. Simple easy tips on how you can start making money now, and then the bigger picture for later on. Another uncomplicated read, Erin lays everything out for your consideration and even has spot light sections on various pros who answer questions on what their own hardest obstacles were and what they're still learning today about their business and their photography. I'll be hanging on to this book!

There is a lot of great Canadian content featured in this post, but none more magical than any book by the great Freeman Patterson... including this new and improved revision of "Photography and the Art of Seeing". Freeman's books contain enchanting images, and he gives you an intimate look into his inspiring photographic thought process. His goal? To motivate you to look closely and think completely about all the fantastic subject matter you have around you even now. Patterson really does challenge the lofty photographer to stop skimming the surface and start doing the work it takes to recognize great photo ops even in your backyard if need be. I really love this book.

When I first saw this book on the shelf of the local bookshop, it was the beautiful colors that drew me, and then the title. Then when I realized it was Michael Freemen, I HAD to have it. If anyone can breakdown the inner workings of how the eye sees imagery, and how composition can be your strongest tool, it's Michael. He stresses being the "informed" photographer, assessing everything from the subject's story, to the light, to the location, to how it all feels together. Much like DuChemin's book, if you can't put your finger on why you put your finger on the shutter for a certain shot, then it's time to stop flying by the seat of your pants when you can, and start really seeing what makes a great photo to you personally. The minute that happens, your viewers will notice and feel compelled by your images also. Whew. Good stuff folks. Read it!

And finally (excuse the giant space around it) the book I keep handy for pure inspiration. "Manufactured Landscapes" by Edward Burtynsky is a visual adventure into the manufactured footprint we're leaving on our planet. If you've ever had the pleasure of viewing one of these magnificent photographs in one of our national galleries, you know that these images are the epitome of excellent photographic skills and a passion for our planet put together.  He explains at one point about the use of the "essential element"... something that brings you right into the photo, that can only be captured from a certain point, at a certain time, from a certain location, in certain light, etc... in other words, be deliberate.
You cannot help but walk away from this monster of a book feeling like you need to make a change somehow. And landscapes will never be the same again my friend.

Each of these books will change how you feel about photography. No doubt about it. And there are so many others. Inhale each and every one and you'll reignite you love for the photograph and the camera!

Thanks for the ramble, and have a good one! 


  1. I think you'll love Photographically Speaking. I'm working through it now, it is excelletn.

  2. Nice post Christine. I love anything by David, such a great writer, and photographer. I also love the one by Michael. The colors on the front cover were the first thing that attracted me to it too, then it was a must have!

  3. Glad you liked this post guys!

    @Jeff... I can't wait to read the next one! Did you get his free Ebook last week?

    @Rachel... they're both fabulous authors aren't they? Wonder what Michael's next one will be and when?