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The Nature of Photographs

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  656 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
An essential primer on how to look at and understand photographs, by one of the world's most influential photographers, Stephen Shore. He explores ways of understanding photographs from all periods and all types, from iconic images to found photographs, from negatives to digital files.
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Phaidon Press (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 26, 2008 Mick rated it it was ok
eh. it's a coffee table book with coverlet that makes you think it's a textbook. did i learn anything? nah. are the photos chosen for the book worthy of a coffee table? eh. were they displayed well? nah. but i still read the thing and the author is an interesting enough guy. actually, i'm taking a star away and i cant recommend the book.
Ernest Junius
May 15, 2011 Ernest Junius rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: photographers, photojournalists
Despite of its design, I think this is hardly counts as a coffee table book. This is the kind of book that requires a serious photographer behind it.

The book has oldskool appearance, with a cover image from Ken Josephson, containing mostly old-dated, obscure great black and white photographs (there are some colours too) with little texts that you could actually finish reading overnight. However, to fully understand the principle that Shore explained in the book, one needs to actually read slowly
Mike Kleine
Mar 25, 2016 Mike Kleine rated it it was amazing
Brief. Succinct. No hand-holding. Most likely will elicit critical-thinking. A few pages of what felt like really dense-speak. Not overly hoyty-toyty. A very serious discussion about photography as an art form for whomever is interested in having a very serious discussion about photography as an art form. Definitely something to come back to. Like later in life. Again. And again. And again. And again.
Nov 03, 2011 Cody rated it liked it
The Nature of Photographs is a very useful primer that employs a fantastic range of photos as well as a lifetime of experiences to instruct us on how to look more closely and meaningfully at photographs. It is also a meditation on the wonderful “feedback loop” between inspiration, perception, and experience that spurs on our desire and need to create.
Jeremy Brooks
Jan 20, 2016 Jeremy Brooks rated it really liked it
This is not a technical manual. This book will not teach you how to make photos. This book will show you ways to think about images, and ways to think about what you are seeing through your viewfinder before pressing the button.

Worth going back to as you evolve as a photographer.
John Orman
Nov 20, 2013 John Orman rated it really liked it
Shore includes about 50 photos by well-known photographers, such as Diane Arbus, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston. He uses them to instruct the reader in looking at and understanding photography.

Shore is described as "the first living photographer to have a one man show at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Shore gives some very complex ways of looking at a photograph, and those will help photographers hoping to take better photos.
Claris Sarkissian
Feb 22, 2016 Claris Sarkissian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
استیون شور (عکاس آمریکایی و بنیانگذار برنامه عکاسی دانشکده بارد نیویورک) در این کتاب به طور بسیار مختصر و مفید در مورد ماهیت عکس ها توضیح داده است. توضیحات ( در حد چند خط) همراه با عکس می باشد و حاوی موارد مهمی است که در زمان عکاسی باید به آنها توجه داشت تا عکس تاثیرگذاری خلق شود. خواندن این کتاب برای دانشجویان و علاقمندان عکاسی بسیار مفید خواهد بود
Carlos Bartol
May 03, 2017 Carlos Bartol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The aim of this book then is not to explore photographic content, but to describe physical and formal attributes of a photographic print that form the tools a photographer uses to define and interpret that content."
Chus Martín
May 15, 2017 Chus Martín rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sencillo, directo... nada que posiblemente no sepas, pero muy ameno y ordenado. Yo lo revisitaré seguro.
Sep 17, 2016 Pam rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite photography classes and I just love concept ohotography
Jan 20, 2013 Barce rated it liked it
The author is a professional photographer. He focuses on the nature of print photographs during a time, the late 1990s, that digital photos began their ascent to dominance and ubiquity. As such the strikes me both as an anachronism but also as an interesting mechanism by which digital photographs can be interpreted. His work made me see the cell phone as a frame for a digital photo.

The author does a good job of breaking down a photograph into its 3 aspects: physical, deductive and mental. It's a
May 24, 2014 Meagan rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this. I wanted to learn from it. But in the end all I walked away with was a new familiarity with a handful of good photographs. No increased understanding of how the photographs were made. No insight into how better to appreciate them. Just a handful of photographs I hadn't seen before and liked, and several paragraphs of text that seemed to be written with obfuscation as their primary purpose. The author would drop an idea and would either a) not explore it any further, ...more
Dec 18, 2011 Benjamin rated it really liked it
At first, the text and the ideas seem very basic, and the photos seem random and sometimes uninteresting. One could easily read this cover-to-cover and not get much out of it. But, if it's taken as it was meant to be, as a prompt for contemplating what a photograph is, it raises some interesting, and not necessarily obvious, ideas. Shore has a way of constructing the idea of composition without ever using that word, and it is far more powerful (and useful) than simply reciting the common "rules" ...more
Kata Conway
Feb 29, 2012 Kata Conway rated it really liked it
This is was my first textbook as part of my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree program with a major in photography at The Art Institutes International Minnesota in Minneapolis. It was one of the most important books I've ever read about photography and should be a fundamental book in the process of trying to have a deeper understanding of what photographs really are, what they mean, and how we interact and use them. It completely changed my perspective on photographs and everything I ever knew about t ...more
Jun 12, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: photography
Seems to be two main camps for writing about photo's. You either reflect on their nature and role in society or you discuss the grammatical rules of photographs, i.e. the decisions the author has made, how they made them, and their effect. This one is in the latter camp-the harder camp for an outsider to wrap their head around but the one that's probably more rewarding in the end.
Mar 29, 2016 Sahar rated it it was amazing
کتاب بسیار مفید و در عین حال مختصر در مورد نگاه عکاسانه است که پیشنهاد می کنم کتاب چشم عکاس جان سارکوفسکی هم خوانده شود زیرا در درک اختصار این کتاب بسیار مفید است.
The Photographer's Eye
by John Szarkowski,
Nov 22, 2011 sleeps9hours rated it liked it
This is a weird book. Shore briefly talks about a few characteristics of photos in the book, but the text is sparse. However, there are some cool photos, an eclectic mix, worth a look for appreciation/inspiration. I wouldn't consider it a coffee table book, it's not that high quality.
Feb 11, 2016 Alison rated it liked it
Good book for adding a language in words to what is presented in various types of images. Some of the content felt obvious to me, but it is important to be able to use words to critique or analyze a photograph. It was nice to look at a few images and think on them more.
Amin Darbandi
Feb 25, 2015 Amin Darbandi rated it really liked it
همونطور که خود نویسنده گفته، این کتاب و تدریس میکرده. و به نظرم برای خواننده ای که که صرفا کتاب و میخونه و توو کلاس ها و بحث ها و بررسی ها نمیتونه شرکت کنه، کتاب مناسبی نیست به خصوص که ترجمه ی کتاب بسیار افتضاح هست
Jul 29, 2012 Bashar rated it it was ok
It's cool, but only for hard-core photographer fans who want to read about Stephen's personal reviews about other photographs and of his own. It's more of a visual book then a text one, meaning not much text is in there. I'd give it a 'meh'.
Cristina Vega
Jan 22, 2016 Cristina Vega rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfecto para quienes quieran aprender a mirar y a entender cómo se toma una foto y como se lee una foto. Advertencia: es para principiantes, pero si ya se sabe al respecto es un libro muy dulce de leer.
Sep 19, 2008 Caroline rated it really liked it
A great book about photographs and learning how to talk about them from a compositional standpoint.
Aug 06, 2010 Lucy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: photography
ArEzO.... Es
Jan 09, 2011 ArEzO.... Es rated it it was amazing
ماهیت عکس ها
کتابی از استیون شور
در مورد سطح فیزیکی و سطح نمایشی و سطح ذهنی و طراحی ذهنی ...
برای من بسیار لذت بخش بود کشف چیزی - غیرآنچه در تصویرهای کتاب می دیدم
Jul 24, 2011 Morgan rated it liked it
Shelves: photography
Nothing very revelatory here, and the text is surprisingly sparse (especially for such a short book). Still, some memorable images, and interesting thought exercises towards the end.
Feb 19, 2013 Shelley rated it liked it
Shelves: text-books
beautiful capture of images
Oct 21, 2013 Claire rated it really liked it
Short on text but full of beautiful photos. Will make you think about how you (and others) view photographs which will in turn make you look at your own work in a different way
Jul 18, 2011 s2artM rated it it was amazing
Simple and elegant treatise on photography's meaning form and function in the 20th century.
Krystal rated it really liked it
Apr 23, 2015
Tooth rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2016
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