Book review #4

I read some great reviews about The Photographer’s Eye by Michael Freeman so I added it to my ‘must read’ list of books.

When I started reading the book it quickly felt like an instruction manual jumping pages to refer to this or that page and I very nearly wrote the book off as one of those that target an audience just to make money rather than being of any value in developing the reader.

If it wasn’t for my short (20 minute) tube journey for my early shifts that start at 06:15, I probably would not have gotten around to reading the book. But the first train in the morning is too early to plug in my headphones and ignore the world around me.

So, my early commute made the though of reading an ‘instruction manual’ a little more tolerable. Thankfully the page jumping references didn’t happen too often.

The book takes a handful of images and breaks them down, analyzing the framing, composition, lines, curves and movement. The story the photographer wants to tell along with the reasons why certain images have particular patterns & rhythms that appeal to us as viewers.

The analysis of the images feels academic and would probably be a good book for referencing on a photographic essay looking at composition.

I’m not sure that one could use all the compositional thought process’ described while at a location. In fact I’m certain that if you tried you’d never manage to take a photo.

From reading this book I have taken away the importance of moving around, Michael Freeman reiterates a key concept of street photography & photojournalism in that observing and anticipating events unfolding affords the photography the opportunity to compose a shot but also highlights the need to sometimes just take a shot rather than risk missing the moment altogether.

Would I recommend this book? Truth be told, I’m not sure.

I guess I should have taken some notes as I was reading and that may have helped me really evaluate whether or not this book has been useful for me.

I don’t think there have been any lightbulb moments but it may help me a little when deciding which images I show.

I would be disappointed if I had spent my money on this book but it was a really good choice for a stocking filler at christmas. Sometimes I deliberately leave books on the train for others to read. However, this one leaves me with mixed opinions and it will go on the book shelf at home for future reference.

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Taken on an iPhone

I was about to suggest if I read anymore books in the series by Freeman, they might best be borrowed from the library.

However, look what I got for my birthday…….

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Taken on an I-phone

Lets hope the whisky & Capturing Light are more interesting.

3 comments

  1. It would be interesting to hear what you make of the second book. I’ve often seen Michael Freeman’s titles in the bookstore but have never bought one. Think I’ll wait for a bit for your second book review! Enjoy the whisky…

  2. I have read a few very glowing reviews of Freeman’s ‘Eye’ book, so it was nice to see your more thoughtful and reserved review Jimmy. I would spend the money on more kit, and use your own ideas mate.
    Best wishes as always, Pete.

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