Others Photography Can Make You a Better Photographer May 26 2008, 0 Comments
Just as writers need to read and study fine literary works, so photographers need to look at and study fine pieces of photography. The digital age has changed the way the masses look at photography. It is now often seen as something created on a computer rather than the capturing of light and a reflection of reality. As a film trained photographer, I do not see this is as a positive. Most professional photographers know that you must understand the principles of light. Training still includes studio work, darkroom work, reading texts, and hours of field work in addition to the latest technology.
Look at and studying some of the masters of photography is sure to add to your ability to take fine photographs. Ansel Adams has a wonderful series of photographic texts in which he outlines various photographic topics. His texts are easy to use and because they were written before digital, you will learn about the true art of photography and capturing light.
I think that one of the most widely embraced and best laid out series of texts comes from Upton and Upton. Their books began decades ago and they have continued to update their information, keeping the best of the old texts while incorporating new technology. I recommend finding a first edition Upton and Upton at a used book store and then buying their latest edition to make comparisons.
Other opportunities can be found in reading magazines such as, PDN (Photo District News), American Photo and Shutterbug. These magazines offer valuable information but they also have a wide variety of images to study. Internalizing how others take photographs can inspire you to try different looks and different styles. Sometimes you may even get ideas about collections of work that you want to create.
Of course studying images would not be complete without looking at National Geographic. Your library will have issues from decades ago as well as recent issues. The images are compelling and have documented the course of recent history.
Do take the time to make your photography better by studying some of the masters and by keeping up with current publications in addition to the latest technology. Technology is a tool, knowledge of light and perspective is your foundation.