Slow Photography

Douglas Gayeton’s Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town (Welcome Books) is pornography for the Heat-reading set. It is the Slow Food movement brought to art (it even has its own dinner tour). It is a series of portraits of a rural town in Italy where Gayeton lived, worked, cooked, fell in love, and took pictures—tons of pictures, many of which were then stitched together and inscribed with captions, names, anecdotes, and recipes to tell his story of assimilation. It is also, to be frank, a heavy-ass tome—Peter Mayle would probably throw it against a wall out of envy, if he could pick it up. —Slow Photography – The Morning News.

Check out the slideshow in the interview. Each of Gayeton’s photos is made of dozens, hundreds, of individual photographs combined together in a technique not unlike that used by David Hockney. Each image is a collaboration with the subjects who worked with him for weeks on the writing that overlaps it.

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Review: David Pogue’s Digitial Photography: The Missing Manual

Digital Photography: The Missing ManualDigital Photography: The Missing Manual from O’Reilly sets out to answer all of the questions beginning photographers face before and after they open their new cameras and file away the unopened and often unfriendly manual that came with it.

I’m giving away my review copy. Read on to find out how to enter the drawing.

For the digital novice, this book opens with two chapters on choosing a new camera in the first place. These chapters are great if you don’t know what to look for in a digital camera or you find yourself exasperated from teaching a friend or relative about megapixels and digital sensors. The advice can help you determine what you need, what’s important, and what can be ignored.

The following five chapters deal with actually using the camera itself. Chapter 4 covers decisions that are often made on a shot-by-shot basis, chapter 5 is devoted to avoiding blur. Chapter 6 contains nothing but “recipes” for certain types of shots: panoramas, frozen action, classic sunsets, outdoor portraits, etc.

Chapter 7 has a little advice specifically for SLR owners.

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I Only Want One Job…

I’m sure this is a sentiment many people can sympathise with at the moment. I came across this photo in Improperganda: Art of the Publicity Stunt which I’ve been enjoying flicking through very sporadically over the last few weeks. If you get the chance it’s worth a look through, the book is an investigation into some of the greatest PR stunts and scams of all time, with some great photographs. I’m not sure it’s actually worth buying but definitely worth a loan from the library.


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Review: Odysseys and Photographs

Odysseys and Photographs

I finally had a chance to sit down with this book over two nights and read it through. And I’m bummed out that I didn’t do it sooner. Odysseys and Photographs: Four National Geographic Field Men is fantastic.

Read the rest of the review and find out how you can get a free copy of this book.

These amazing biographies, written by editors, friends, and spouses, bring us a personal and stirring account of four National Geographic photographers. Each story reveals the adventurous spirit and innovation these gifted photographers brought to their craft. From Maynard Williams’ epic 10 month overland crossing of the Asian continent in 1931, to Luis Marden’s pioneering work with underwater photography and his discovery of the Bounty in 1957, to Volkmar Wentzel’s adventure prompted by his editor to “Do India,” to Thomas Abercrombie’s coverage of the Middle East in the 60s and 70s—these men all seemed to be the right man at the right place at the right time in history.

Each essay, lovingly written, reveals details about these men and their assignments that were only known to friends and colleagues,

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The Genius of Photography

genius-bookPhotodoto thinks photography is genius and BBC Four agree with us! In late 2007 they aired a 6-part documentary entitled The Genius of Photography which spanned 170 years of photography’s history. What 2007? That’s old news I hear you cry! But for Christmas I received the accompanying book and it’s got me all excited about the series again. Plus one of my aims for 2009 (I don’t like the term “New Year’s resolutions” – too much pressure!) is to learn more about the history of the art I have such a passion for.

The Genious of Photography Book is a good place to start, it’s well written and contains suitably awesome photographs. If you’re in the UK it’s definitely worth the £19, for everyone else check out the website where you can see some of the famous photos used in the series (and read about the photographers) here. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even follow the instructions in this clip from the show and make a camera obscura.

(The book is available on in the USA but is an import and currently only available used.

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Photography Books For Christmas or For You

If you still  haven’t knocked out all the Christmas shopping, or if you’re looking for a treat for yourself to celebrate getting all those presents bought and wrapped, Times Online has an article suggesting nine books that would make great gifts for anyone who appreciates photography. From portraits in 1920’s Paris to “a wry look at the fantasies of war in the United States since 9/11”, there’s a good variety in the suggestions.

The article contains links to a UK based website where all the books are available at discounted price (some more so than others) but for US readers below are the links to the books on

Berenice Abbot by Hank O’Neal & Berenice Abbot

Manuel Alvarez Bravo by Jean-Claude Lemagny, Colette Alvarez Urbatjel, & John Banville

Vanishing Landscapes by  John J Berger, Robert Adams,  Edward Burtynsky, Thomas Struth, & Jem Southam

Homeland by Nina Berman

Kaveh Golestan: Recording the Truth in Iran 1950 – 2003 by Masoud Behnoud, Hengameh Golestan

Recollections by Philip Jones Griffiths (this link is to Amazon UK,

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Review: Practical HDRI

Practical HDRI by Jack Howard (Rocky Nook)Practical HDRI by Jack Howard (Rocky Nook publishing) is a no-nonsense guide to high dynamic range imaging (HDRI).

Read the rest of the review and find out how you can get a free copy of this book.

You’ve seen the photos. But hopefully you haven’t let the abundance of bad examples turn you off to HDRI in general—it is a powerful technique that can help you create stunning images that can’t be captured any other way.

I like this book because the author, in a scant 168 pages, has condensed a ton of practical advice and tips into a useful and unintimidating reference. Howard writes, “It is my goal to get you ramped up in HDRI as quickly and as painlessly as possible. This book focuses on pragmatic workflows, a healthy dose of tips and tricks, and real-world advice.”

The introduction lays a solid foundation for understanding HDRI and 8 bit vs 32 bit color spaces. It’s good information and I recommend reading it if you are serious about improving your craft… but if color space geekery makes your head swim,

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