Photographs not taken: A collection of photographers' essays
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Photographs not taken: A collection of photographers' essays

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  70 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Photographs Not Taken is a collection of photographers’ essays about failed attempts to make a picture. Editor Will Steacy asked each photographer to abandon the conventional tools needed to make a photograph-camera, lens, film-and instead make a photograph using words, to capture the image (and its attendant memories) that never made it through the lens. In each essay, th...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published 2012 by Daylight
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Jackie Donnelly (Baisa)
This book was just okay. The concept was wonderful--a collection of photographers who did NOT take certain shots, and the back story behind why they didn't get the shot--but I feel it could have been executed better.

To start, I didn't know any of the photographers in the entire book (and, as a photographer myself, it seems I would have surely stumbled upon ONE or TWO of them at some point?) but perhaps it is reader error on my part.

Secondly, either writer had such a different style (and many a...more
Anne
Despite many thrilling stories and a few real stand-outs, this collection of essays left me flat. It seems hastily published--a few otherwise lovely pieces are marred by errors the copy editor didn't catch. Others are too short or too technical for the average reader to understand. I have decided to set this aside after getting 3/4 of the way through.

Of all the essays, Timothy Archibald's matter-of-fact childhood memory touched me the most . It manages to inspire without pandering, to speak to b...more
Mike
This was an interesting read on different photographers and the different reasons they didn't take a photograph but the image has stuck in their mind. And, while some photographers suffer from the need to see practically everything photographed, Aaron Schuman in the book explains very clearly how sometimes the most important moments do not end up as a photograph: "... sometimes we find ourselves faced ... a moment that is 'too' something - too dangerous, too intimate, too immediate, too complex,...more
Clark
It seems appropriate to mention that there is some Marcel Duchamp quote about how he wants photography to totally fuck over painting so that nobody cares anymore, then for something else to come along and do the same thing to photography, etc, etc. Was that important? Idk. Well anyhow, obviously there are both some serious winners and some serious losers in this collection. It's still tight though. Good range from totally violent & rape-y sad as fuck shit to straight up magic moments (like t...more
Zach Gray
Not sure how enjoyable this would be to anyone who isn't a photographer, but for me it was nice to be able to relate to this group if remarkable photographers.

No surprise that some couldn't write worth a darn, but most were skilled enough to convey remarkable moments. Laurel Nakadate's beautiful prose really stuck out.

My favorite stories were the simple ones with delicate scenes from everyday life, where a moment floats by with no regard for its viewer. Chris Jordan's memory of his camera bein...more
Thomas Boyer
A fun quick read that gets a photographer thinking about what there submission would be.
Nicole
This book wasn't what I wanted it to be, but it was still decent. Like all books of this nature, it was hit or miss, some of the essays were immensely beautiful and moving, others left me thinking that the author was probably a better photographer than writer. David Maisel's and Laurel Nakadate's were the stand outs for me, portraying more everyday moments, rather than some of the other photographers, who tried to write about these moments of great tragedy or drama and were unable to conjure the...more
Ed Brown
This is a wonderful book for someone trying to approach photography seriously. in many short essays photographers write about pictures they wanted to take but didn't. Sometimes the subject was to sensitive, or the photographer's feelings too raw. Sometimes they simply didn't have a camera. In every case they share their thoughts and feelings about a situation. How do photographers think? This book provides one very interesting glimpse into the minds of a great selection of photographers. no pict...more
Jason McClain
So far this is proving to be an interesting collection of essays about photographs that photographers did not take. Some of the essays could have done with a bit of editing work them selves so they carried a better emotional weight, but so far I am finding this very inspirational as it pertains to the work of other photographers.

Good read, into the minds of photograpehrs and what caused them to not take a shot. Some part could have down with some editing, but its is listed as a collection of ess...more
Timothy Neesam
Unique collection of essays asking photographers, who document moments in time, to explain a moment in their life wherein they did not capture the event by taking a picture. Sometimes funny, sometimes heart-rending, I think the book is very much about recognizing the significance of individual experiences and being present in the moment. Works well reading it in bits and pieces. Highly recommended.
Meaghen
Four stars more for the concept than the content - some of the essays are stunning though others not so much, but it's a brilliant idea and gives quite a broad perspective on photography as a practice. Would be curious to see if the content would change much if it were less NYC-photo specific.
Toño Cartín
I really has to be a 1 star book. I gave the second one because there are 2or 3 essays that stand out. The rest of the book is not that good. I read it because i was expecting some technical insight on how not to miss a photo. I also was expecting good story telling. It lacks both
Mairi
This wasn't entirely what I'd hoped for. Some of the essays were spot on what I expected. Others were less so. There were some lists. There were some poignant, deeply affecting stories. There were some duds. Together they formed an interesting collection that I'm glad I gave the time to.
Brian
a bit disappointed. such a great idea for a book, but i would more recommend this for beginning photographers.
kathy
Some essays were great, some were so-so, but overall, this was a book that told more stories than some photographs.
Rhiannon
Meh. In summary, I think the photographers should stick to taking photographs. Not many of the stories pulled me in.
Sharon
Wonderful collection of essays. Anyone with an interest in photography would appreciate this book.
Jekaterina
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Apr 22, 2014
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