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Book Review: The Photographer’s Legal Guide by Carolyn E. Wright

Photographer's Legal Guide - CoverTo be honest, reading any kind of book about the legal aspects of photography—from taxes, to corporate structures, to copyright laws, to government regulations—not only makes me want to never shoot another image, it also brings out a seething, anarchic, vigilante side of me.  I suddenly feel like hurling bombs at government buildings and torturing IRS agents with a cattle prod.  This is probably wrong, but I suspect I’m not alone in this reaction.

After all, most of us take up photography because we are artists at heart.  If we were interested in tax laws or the differences between S-Corporations and C-Corporations we would have gone to business school or law school.  You might even say that we incline toward photography precisely to the degree that we hate that kind of stuff.

So I suppose we ought to be grateful that there are people like Carolyn Wright, who is both a practicing attorney and a professional photographer, and who has written a guide to help the rest of us navigate the legal swamps that surround the business of photography. (more…)

Book Review: The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman

The Photographer's Eye by Michael FreemanMichael Freeman has created a gorgeous, well-illustrated book that takes one of the most subtle and abstract elements of photography—composition—and makes it concrete and understandable.

This may be the most concisely written photography book I’ve ever seen.  Freeman is the anti-Kelby.  Every word is carefully chosen, every sentence terse and tight.   Freeman writes with the precision of a philosopher or a surgeon, as if lives depended on accurate understanding.

That doesn’t mean Freeman’s analysis is always simple.  Composition is a complex topic, and Freeman doesn’t hesitate to delve into formal theories of perception, such as “The Gestalt Law of Perceptual Organization” — topics that, in the hands of a lesser writer, would fill mind-numbing chapters with bloated verbiage. Freeman covers it succinctly in one bullet-point sidebar. Done. Next.

The illustrative photos are mostly drawn from Freeman’s Asian travels, and the subject matter can sometimes become a bit monotonous if you’re not a big fan of travel photography.  I would have liked to see him mix it up a bit more and include some other styles, but you can hardly fault a photographer for sticking to his own area of interest.

Accompanying many of the photos are sketches illustrating the vectors of movement, or the balance of forces, within an image.  I found these diagrams immensely useful, and after looking at a book’s worth of them, I find my eye now spontaneously recognizing these vectors in other photos, and even in my own viewfinder.  This is what education is all about—Freeman has imparted his wisdom at a visceral level that is apparently now ingrained in my view of the world. What more could one ask from a book?

Buy it from Amazon

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