Reading is a huge part of my life, and has been for as long as I can remember. Every year I try to read as many books as possible on many diverse subjects, from photography, painting, and art in general, to history, health, marketing and business.
This past year I set a goal to read one book a week, and though I fell short, I managed to actually ready 35 books, plus countless magazine articles, essays, blog posts, etc. There is no question that the Amazon Kindle and later the iPad played a big part in my ability to get this much reading done. I don’t leave my home without the iPad (I gave the Kindle to my wife) knowing that at any idle moment, I can select from any number of books to read regardless of where I am.
I still purchase and enjoy traditional books, such as coffee table photo books (my favorite actually), and books I want to be able to reference and browse easily such as reference and technical books, the one downfall to digital books in my opinion. But ebooks are the future and with dedicated devices for reading them becoming more affordable, there’s no better time to take advantage of the conveniences they offer.
While many of the photography books I read were technical, my favorites were the ones I drew inspiration from and made me want to get my camera out and make images!
Here are my favorites!
1) Creative Landscape Photography (Guy Tal) – this ebook is a complete photography workshop in landscape photography, covering all aspects of the art and craft from creativity, composition, processing and presentation. Guy is a great photographer as well as a talented writer, and this combination really helps to make the concepts explained understandable both conceptually and visually. It is beautifully laid out with Guy’s images and clear, passionate writing based on real world experience, the best kind in my opinion. In addition to this book, I highly recommend Guy’s blog where he writes about many of the ideas discussed in the book.
2) William Neil’s Yosemite (Volume I) – absolutely incredible imagery from Yosemite National Park from a true master of nature photography. I have been an admirer of William’s work for quite some time, and this book really inspires with so many unique and visually powerful images that any photographer can learn much from. Living and working in Yosemite since 1977, he has managed to create a unique and unmistakable style that I turn to for ideas and creative inspiration over and over again.
3) Visual Poetry (Chris Orwig) – another great instructional book that covers a lot of ground, yet never strays from the fundamentals – principles that separate a good image from a great one. Information on everything from camera gear to shooting different styles, yet Chris never deviates far from the core message about originality, vision, and hard work as the keys to great photography – very inspirational for those times when I need a spark of new ideas.
4) Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky (Art Wolfe) – This is not a new book, but I finally purchased my own hard cover copy this year, and it is always on my living room table. Art’s photography has had a HUGE influence on me over the years, and this book is a true testament to his status as one of the greatest landscape photographers of our time.
5) From Stills To Motion (Richard Harrington & others) – If you have a DSLR that shoots video, and want to explore new creative avenues with moving images, this book is for you. This was my go to reference book when I started using DSLR’s for my own video projects, and it continues to be a great source of information for future projects I am working on.
6) The War of Art (Steven Pressfield) – not technically a photo book, but a must read for anyone who wants to understand the creative life, and what it takes to succeed. In this modern world of constant distractions and competition for your time, Steven lays out philosophical as well as practical approaches to combating resistance and getting creative work done that is so important to growing as an artist. I really enjoyed this book, and will be re-reading it again very soon – it is refreshing, edgy, and full of motivation and practical exercises – highly recommended.
Do you have any book recommendations you’d like to share? I’d love to know what you read this year that was inspirational!