The Essence of Photography
Seeing and Creativity
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There is a lot more to photography than simply picking up a camera, pointing it toward something, and tripping the shutter. Achieving a great photograph requires thought and preparation, an understanding of the photographic process, and a firm grasp of how light and composition affect a photo. There must be personal involvement and personal expression. There must be experimentation, with the recognition that only a small percentage of experiments end successfully.
In this book, best-selling author and world-renowned photographer and teacher Bruce Barnbaum explores these seldom-discussed issues by drawing upon his personal experiences and observations from more than 40 years of photographing and teaching. In addition to photographs, Bruce also uses painting, music, and writing, as well as the sciences and even business, to provide pertinent examples of creative thinking. These examples serve as stepping-stones that will lead you to your own heightened ability to see and be creative.
Creativity is a topic that is almost wholly ignored in formal education because most instructors think that it cannot be taught or learned. To the contrary, Bruce has proven that photographic seeing and creativity can be taught, learned, and improved. This book expands on the ideas that are central to Bruce's method of teaching photography, which he has used in workshops for the past 41 years.
Included in the book are in-depth discussions on the following topics:
- Defining your own unique rhythm and approach as a photographer
- How to translate the scene in front of you to the final photograph
- The differences and similarities between how an amateur and a professional approach photography
- The differences between realism and abstraction, and the possibilities and limitations of each
- Learning to expand your own seeing and creativity through classes, workshops, and associating with other photographers
- Why the rules of composition should be ignored
- How to follow your passion
- When to listen to the critics and when to ignore them
Bruce Barnbaum, of Granite Falls, WA, began photography as a hobbyist in the 1960s, and after four decades, it is still his hobby. Photography has also been his life's work for the past 40 years.
Bruce's educational background includes Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics from UCLA. After working for several years as a mathematical analyst and computer programmer for missile guidance systems, he abruptly left the field and turned to photography.
Bruce is recognized as one of the finest darkroom printers on this planet, both for his exceptional black-and-white work, as well as for his color imagery. He understands light to an extent rarely found and combines this understanding with mastery of composition, applying his knowledge to an extraordinarily wide range of subject matter.
Bruce has authored several books, some of which have become classics. His early publication of The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression (first published in1994 and going out of print in 2002) was updated, revamped, and newly released in late 2010 by Rocky Nook. This new book became an instant bestseller and is sure to remain a classic for years to come.
Bruce has been an active environmental advocate for more than three decades, both independently and through his involvement and leadership with organizations such as the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society, the Mountain Loop Conservancy, Futurewise, and the North Cascades Conservation Council.