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The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  944 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
This is a newly revised edition of the classic book The Art of Photography (first published in 1994), which has often been described as the most readable, understandable, and comprehensive textbook on photography. In his accessible style, Barnbaum presents how-to techniques for both traditional and digital approaches. Yet he goes well beyond the technical as he delves deep ...more
ebook, 364 pages
Published November 28th 2010 by Rocky Nook (first published May 1994)
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Jan 04, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a bit up and down this book. I'd give it 6 stars (if I could) for the first 100 and last 50 pages, and two for everything inbetween. Excellent insightful writing on the "why" of photography in the good bits, especially the parts on capturing your emotional response to a scene rather than a realistic picture of the scene. Now I know why I just can't take decent photos of some things, I'm just not interested in them enough to have any emotional response.

The middle chapters are concerened ent
Justin Price
Dec 17, 2012 Justin Price rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shifts your thinking when it coming to photography. Some aspects of the book are hard to grasp, but worth re-reading. Help me understand technically why I like some photos and not others.
Gowrishankar Subramanian
I thought of writing review for this book when I finish the initial chapters on "art side" of photography. I decided then to wait till my initial gush of excitement cool off.

Now that I have almost finished all the chapters relevant to me, it's only apt to say that this one is a classic! Bruce's advice on "photographic seeing" is the most valuable one any budding amateur can get. Chapters on composition, tones, contrast and color are worth a reread.

Had to skip lot of content on developing and pr
Aug 15, 2011 Deigh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not the type of book that I think one can sit down and read through. It is almost like a text or a reference that you would keep on your shelf and turn to from time to time for technical guidance and perhaps some inspiration. There is a big section on film and darkroom techniques that I skipped over. Worth having for sure.
Michael Scott
Apr 28, 2013 Michael Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favs, teaching, art
I don't really know where to start this review. Bruce Barnbaum's The Art of Photography is a book about art, design, self-expression, and creativity. It's also about photography, from the technical aspects (both film and digital) to a discussion about photography myths. Overall, I learned much and found this book wonderful! Must-read if you are starting to dabble in creative processes and/or are interested in photography. (For the former aspect, I will recommend it to all Ph.D. students under my ...more
Dec 27, 2016 Welfare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you can get past the occasional moralising, it's really quite informative.
Kai Pak
Dec 15, 2012 Kai Pak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those who chide this book for not having the right technical material or being outdated and too focused on B&W photography are missing the point. This book has little to do with technique and everything to do with Barnbaum's artistic philosophy and what makes good photography--not merely what are the steps to capture a competent image.

I'm at the beginning of my journey of becoming a more serious photographer and found the information contained in this book to be truly insightful. I'm at the
Mar 04, 2014 Mattie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really inspiring treatise on photography. While there's plenty of technical info, what really made this book so worth reading for me as an amateur photographer was it's focus (pun intended) on photographic seeing and using photography to capture a mood, an emotion, a sensation. Since I tend to be drawn to abstraction in my photos, Birnbaum's experience and examples provide some really useful information and things to think about (and not think too much about) when I'm out shooting. Although his ...more
Jan 08, 2012 Seema rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first book to read in 2012 and once it got between my hands all I thought of is: Where were I from this book all these years?
Bruce Barnbaum is an amazing photographer who has the ability to create a great visual communication with you through his photography. This book goes in different chapters to help you decide where to start, how and why. I'd recomment it to every photographer whether it has been a month since you got your camera and you want to learn the basics or you're been shooting fo
James Falconi
Nov 20, 2014 James Falconi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the single most important book for someone wanting to become a serious photographer. Also, this book is not about photos, it's about 90% text with a few diagrams and a couple handfuls of the end of the book. It's a workshop/masterclass and a reference that you'll come back to in the future, just to see if you've lost your way or if you need a refresher on a half-remembered pearl of wisdom. Many of the concepts contained within can be universally applied to all the arts. I'll ...more
The images are beautiful. The text is almost useless. Biased towards b&w film photographers, much of the advice is pedantic and too artsy, even for sophisticated digital users. I mean, really. Who uses the Zone System anymore? There is some reference to histograms and other digital tools but the book remains primarily a reference tool for the darkroom artist.

I'm giving it three stars only because film photographers will find this a must have and like I said, the images are beautiful The rest
Mar 29, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not just one of the best photography books I've ever read, one of the best books I've ever read. His opinions on art were enlightening, and the value he urges us to place on original personal expression really resonated with me. On top of that, there are down-and-dirty lessons on the technical side of photography.
Vaughn Bender
Sep 05, 2014 Vaughn Bender rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barnbaum presents how-to techniques for both traditional and digital approaches. His approach is creative and go beyond the technical as he delves deeply into the philosophical, expressive, and creative aspects of photography. This book is for every level of photographer who seeks to make a personal statement through their chosen medium.
Jul 06, 2015 Manish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One very important subject is well described in this book, that is Zone system..
This book is mostly for film camera and development of films..
I don't find it too useful.. i would rather recommend Photographer's Eye in this genre..

For any query mail at / write at
Apr 13, 2014 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found that the creative aspects of the book were really good and inspiring, but the technical aspects of the book seemed a bit too focused on traditional techniques, specifically with film, and even some of the digital content seemed a bit dated despite its relatively recent publishing date.
Zhifei Ge
Oct 23, 2015 Zhifei Ge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, photography
the best photography book I've ever read. It talks about photography from a tool for visual communication, to the technicality of doing good photography, and concludes with philosophical thinking of photography as an art.
Sam Shingleton
Nov 11, 2016 Sam Shingleton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: photography
This is one of the very best photography books that I have read! I 'wish' that the author would separate out the film and digital into two books. Each has their importance, but at times, they seem to interfere as one reads.
Dec 01, 2014 Naelah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
a life-long personal journey with photography, an experience in a variety of fields and interests talking about almost everything you need to know
Jul 21, 2012 Brett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many interesting insights to ponder. There are a lot of ideas on creativity in particular that made the book valuable to me.
Jani Grönman
Sep 17, 2015 Jani Grönman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best book I have read about finding your own photographic interests and how to cultivate them. Also good as a technical theory recap.
I will keep this book as a quick reference. This book has motivated me.. I recommend this to all photographers..
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