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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  153 Ratings  ·  23 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
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: photography
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
Brian Page
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
PHOTOGRAPHS NOT TAKEN is a collection of 62 essays by noted photographers about images they did not or could not make. The first story, by Dave Anderson is a tear-jerker. Others are too. The writers include many notables such as Nina Berman, Emmet Gowin, Tim Hetherington, Ed Kashi, Mary Ellen Mark, Hiroshi Watanabe, and Alex Webb. Big names. This is heavy stuff. Reading about images not made may seem a little mundane, but this collection actually gives the reader a lot of insight into how these ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Ben Yap
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: photography, essays, art
"Other times I am relieved that I didn't and that I don't have the burden of an image of that weight" - Hank Willis Thomas
Becky Taylor
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful collection of very different stories. There are a huge number of reasons why someone could or would never photograph an image that ended up staying in their mind forever. I was amazed by the range of reasons, from practical physical limitations to ethical questions about why you would photograph someone in pain. I would like to look up sample work by each of the photographers who contributed.

I highly recommend this book, if you can find it.
Zach Gray
May 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Melis Bagatir
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
The book is all about "a collection of essays by photographers about moments that never became a picture".

I am confused about this book. Although there are many great stories that makes you want to read on some more, where some of them make you wonder why the hell you are still reading this book.

In my opinion the reason behind it that its a "collection of essays" from different photographers, and it seems that this book was not properly edited. The essays of the photographers were put in direc
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Timothy Neesam
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a fun book to read. Something good to read on the subway or if you have a busy schedule since most of the essays (I wouldn't even call them that, they're so short) are no more than a page. It's really easy to pick up and put down. The essays were kind of hit or miss, there were some very emotional and interesting ones, but there were also some that were boring and badly written. Either way I enjoyed it.
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I laughed, I cried, I cringed. Since this book has many contributors, the writing styles and quality vary greatly. However, each gives you something to think about. I enjoyed contemplating moments of missed photographs and ones that simply couldn't be taken. As a photographer myself, I found it comforting and interesting to hear these stories. I can relate.
Toño Cartín
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
May 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Meh. In summary, I think the photographers should stick to taking photographs. Not many of the stories pulled me in.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some essays were great, some were so-so, but overall, this was a book that told more stories than some photographs.
Thomas Boyer
Feb 26, 2014 rated it liked it
A fun quick read that gets a photographer thinking about what there submission would be.
Nov 02, 2012 rated it liked it
a bit disappointed. such a great idea for a book, but i would more recommend this for beginning photographers.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: photography
Wonderful collection of essays. Anyone with an interest in photography would appreciate this book.
rated it it was ok
Aug 22, 2015
Alice Tee
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Jul 04, 2012
Elliot Stoller
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May 13, 2017
Sindre Rosness
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Jun 28, 2013
Hannah Karsen
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Jan 01, 2016
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Jun 15, 2012
Edson Françozo
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Jan 11, 2015
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“As Marcel Proust understood, memory is not exclusively or even predominantly visual. It is synesthetic, a combination and even a confusion of the senses that no simple image can reach or encapsulate. A photograph can act as a spur to memory, it can yield treasures, like looking under your bed and finding the baseball card you were certain you lost. But an image stands mute before the inexpressible delicacy, horror, humor, and associative complexity of our experience.” 1 likes
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