By Steve Simon
New Riders Press, $44.99 (264p)
ISBN-10: 0321719891 / ISBN-13: 978-0321719898
Steve Simon's captivating book, The Passionate Photographer aims to help photographers - especially advanced amateurs - address two important dilemmas: 'Why aren't my pictures as good as I want them to be?' and the immediate follow-up, 'What can I do about it?'
As a seasoned photojournalist, Simon has deep knowledge of photographic technique, and as a veteran teacher and podcaster he is adept at explaining its facets. He structures the book as 10 steps toward becoming a more powerful photographer. Looking at the image-making process holistically, he visits each aspect of image-making, from inspiration and planning, to capture, editing, and sharing. For each step, Simon describes his own muses and his hard-won best practices for success. And along the way, he addresses both the art and the craft of creating a gripping photo.
For Simon, effective technique is not just about understanding exposure, or even composition, but rather about telling a clear story with visually striking and emotionally gripping frames. Arguing that effective storytellers stay focused, engaged, and tenacious, he provides a roadmap for finding inspiration and remaining productive. In addition to promoting persistence and clear intent, Simon values being open and attentive to the unfolding world in front of the lens. Some of his advice, from good autofocus tricks to descriptions of how to warm-up prior to an important shoot, is designed to allow the photographer to respond quickly when they see possible photos.
|Simon uses images from his broad and eye-catching body of work to illustrate his instructive anecdotes and accumulated wisdom.|
To illustrate his instructive anecdotes and his accumulated wisdom, Simon pulls on images from his broad and eye-catching body of work, notably his post 9/11 series and his photos from Africa. Unlike many current technique books on the market, Simon includes a generous array of important images taken by other pros, from Bill Owens’s documentary work on American suburbia to Jim Brandenburg’s Zen-like nature photography.
Simon has a good instinct for interesting details, especially ones that will grab the attention of his target audience. His text is full of sharp quotes from luminaries in the field, as well as references to the specific gear they or he used for a shoot. He is also skilled at demystifying the magic behind a striking frame, such as his shot of kids heading across the fields in a downpour (below). He walks the reader through the culling and cropping process, and illuminates the thoughtful and rigorous approach to editing behind the vivid and singular image.
|Simon walks the reader through the culling and cropping process, and illuminates the thoughtful and rigorous approach to editing behind images such as his shot of kids heading across the fields in a downpour.|
For Simon, it is a picture’s 'content that counts the most', and he is most interested in examining story-driven genres of photography, from street to documentary to photojournalism. Given Simon’s background and biases, the book is ill-suited for studio shooters or fine-art photographers more intent on purely formal experimentation. But for readers looking for a tip-driven, well-illustrated book to help them find their voice and improve their ability to capture a telling moment, The Passionate Photographer is well worth a look.
The Passionate Photographer is available on Amazon.com as a paperback and kindle e-book version.
Adam Koplan is head of the Performance Department at the Dreamyard Project which brings arts programs to NYC schools. He is also Artistic Director of The Flying Carpet Theatre Co.
Follow him on Twitter @FlyingCarpetNYC
Dec 2, 2014
Nov 2, 2014
Sep 21, 2014
Sep 8, 2014
|scrum break away by al booth|
from Sport competition
|Chinese Acrobat by lim yau tong|
|Parking Deck by Olaf R|
from Your City - Parking Garage
|Communication Tech by alberto_b|
|With & without by OBellini|
from Empty - Full
When one of his friends got a filter stuck on his $1,700 Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, former MythBuster Adam Savage removed it using an unlikely, terrifying tool: a band saw.
The New Yorker asked Magnum's famed photographers, in town for the agency's 70th anniversary, to go out and capture 'the fleeting beauty of New York City's golden hour.' This is what they shot.
Roger Cicala is a difficult man to impress, but he's been waxing lyrical over at Lensrentals about Sony's new 12-24mm wide zoom.
Glassware is one of the most challenging subjects to photograph, especially against a white background. This tutorial shows you how to do it with hardly any gear.
Handevision is now shipping its all-metal Iberit 90mm F2.4 short telephoto lens for Leica M-mount 35mm and full-frame cameras.
Isocell comprises four sub-brands: Bright, Fast, Slim and Dual which are tailored to specific mobile device market demands.
The new store will be located at the Fotografiska center for contemporary photography in Stockhom, Sweden and carry the full range of Hasselblad products.
A recent vacation gave Richard a chance to think about the needs of travel photography – and how our reviews might recognize the perfect travel camera.
Need more evidence that 2017 is the year analog begins its comeback? Well, welcome another new film stock to the world.
The winners of the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced, and they're striking.
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.