January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann

Photographic Books

Recommended Books(Book links below are available fromAMAZON.COMor the Canadian siteCHAPTERS.COM, a convenience if you don’t have a local bookseller interested in or able to order these titles for you.)

On Photography, by essayistSusan Sontagis arguably the finest contemporary book on the place of photography in the modern world. If you want to understand more about your art and how it fits within both the historical context and the modern art scene this is a must-read book.

Two fascinating and highly worthwhile books on the the Desert Southwest are;

Desert SolitaireA Season in the Wilderness, by Edward Abbey. ISBN 0-345-32649-0.
Written with passion and clarity of vision, this book chronicles a season spent in Arches NP, Utah, and the canyon region by a Park Ranger.  Now, almost a cult book, it describes the beauty and harshness of the Desert Southwest as it was in the ’60s.  Anyone who loves this part of the country owes it to themselves to read this, not once, but once a year.

Cadillac DesertThe American West and its Disappearing Water, by Marc Reisner. ISBN 0-14-01-7824-4. No one visiting the American Southwest can properly understand it without understanding the role that water has played in the geology, history and politics of the region.  This is the definitive book.  A PBS series based on the book is also available on video.

There are literally thousands of books on photography and dozens of new ones are published every month. I probably have more than 100 in my own library. Below are titles which I regard as being particularly relevant for anyone interested in landscape photography.

Better Picture Guide to Landscape Photographyby Michael Busselle. ISBN 288046370X. 

I recommend this book very highly to anyone interested in the art and technique of landscape photography. Well designed (in the modern idiom) generally excellent photography and clear and informative writing. I wish I’d done it first 🙂

A Guide to Photographing the Canadian Landscape, by Daryl Benson and Dale Wilson. ISBN 0-9684576-0-6.

This book is long overdue. While there are many good books on American locations for landscape photography, few have existed until now for Canada. The book covers much of the country on a region-by-region basis and contains worthwhile travel information as well. The photography is first-class. Its inspired me to plan my next photographic trip somewhere in my own country.

Daybreak 2000is a superb book of landscape photography taken by some of the top names in the field on January 1, 2000. Beautiful reproductions, and unusual for a mass-market book, it has commentary on the technique and equipment used. A must for every landscape photographer’s library.

What They Saw

I always wanted to be aNational Geographicphotographer. Failing that I would have welcomed a job atLife. Though I spent some 10 years working as a photojournalist in Canada during the ’60s and ’70s  I never made it to either magazine. Darn.

This wonderful book byJohn Loengardhas interviews with almost all of the living photographers who worked for Life Magazine during its heyday. The anecdotes and insights make for a highly enjoyable read.

Magnificent Moments‚ The World’s Greatest Wildlife Photographs

This book is a must for wildlife as well as landscape photography enthusiasts. Beautifully reproduced and elegantly laid out this is a visual feast for anyone who loves this aspect of photography. The text that accompanies each photograph is by the photographer and provides insights into the animals, their environment and the making of each image.

Photography from 1839 to Today : George Eastman House

There’s a saying that, "If you don’t know where you’ve been, you can’t know where you’re going". Well, maybe there isn’t. I might have made it up. Regardless, there are a great many books on photographic history (some would say, too many), but this one does an excellent job of selection and the text is first rate without being pedantic. If you’re not familiar with the greats of the last 150 years of photography then this is one book that’s a must.

Primal Forces

David Meunchand his sonMarcare prolific photographers of the Western American landscape. This book is their latest and features some very fine images. But, the layout and design of the book is a disaster. Many images are full-bleed and often facing another full-bleed on the opposite page. Some pages have black backgrounds while others are white and some have designs. Great photography but what a design mess.

The Lexus and the Olive Tree : Understanding Globalization

Thomas Friedmanisn’t a photographer and this book has nothing to do with photography. But, it is likely one of the most important books of 2000. Friedman is the Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign affairs correspondent forThe New York Times. Here he explains how globalization is transforming our society at an astonishing rate (for better or worse) and why we need to understand the process.

Bringing the topic closer to home, owners of retail camera stores and domestic equipment distributors (likeMamiya America, as one glaring example) ignore this topic at their peril. One can buy the exact same equipment for thousands less by pointing and clicking on the sites of web-based resellers around the world, and have Fedex deliver the product to your door 2 days later. The web changes everything. The world is now our store. This book looks at issues like these as well as the broader implications of globalization. If you read one non-fiction, non-photographic book this year, this is the one.

Adobe Photoshop Master Class: John Paul Caponigro

This is a masterful book and a must-read for anyone usingPhotoshopto create their art. Jean Paul is a fellow contributor toPhoto Techniquesand I look forward to seeing his articles in the magazine almost as much as my own 🙂

While it is aHow-Tobook in its intent,in doesn’t contain step-by-step instructions. Rather it reads as a narrative and will likely be a book that you read on the couch rather than while sitting at the computer. Note that this is not a book for the Photoshop newcomer. Rather it serves as an inspiration for the person who has some familiarity with this vital tool of the photographer’s art but who now wishes to move to the next plateau.

I have to say that while Caponigro’s created abstracts are not my cup of tea, I have tremendous respect for his knowledge ofPhotoshop. So too mustAdobecorporation since they are the publisher.

The Art of Bird Photography

Art Morrisis one of North America’s preeminent bird photographers. Anyone interested in the the art and technique of photographing birds will find this book crammed with great technical advise and filed techniques.

Art is aCanonshooter and so much of his technical commentary relates to Canon gear. Also, though the copyright date is fairly recent (1998) there is no mention of digital techniques, and the latest films and lenses are not covered. Regardless, there is so much good advise in the book that it’s a must for every bird photographer’s bookshelf.

The Western Horizon

Macduff Evertonis one of America’s foremost travel photographers. This coffee-table sized book features exquisite wide-format panoramic images of the American west, taken with aNoblex 150swing lens camera. Since I recently acquired one of these unique cameras for my landscape work I was more than a little interested in this volume.

If you love the Western American landscapeandpanoramic photography this book is not to be missed.

Post Exposure

Ctein’sbook,Post Exposureis likely the last truly great darkroom book ever to be written. For better or worse we’re in the waning years of the chemical darkroom.Focal Pressis to congratulated for publishing it at this time of diminishing interest in traditional techniques.

It contains a wealth of detail on films, papers, enlarging, equipment and testing. It is not a beginners book but at the same time it is a book that can be read and appreciated by someone who has never even been in a darkroom. If you love photography and want to learn as much as possible about the craft side of this art,Post Exposuremust be on your bookshelf. Newcomers to digital image processing will find the book invaluable as well because it illuminates the underpinnings of traditional methods and techniques.

Cteinis a fellowContributing EditortoPhoto Techniquesmagazine. He has likely forgotten more about darkroom technique than I ever knew. Be sure to get theSecond Editionthough. (The cover photo above is from the 1st Edition).

Seeing LandscapesThe Creative Process Behind Great Photographs

Charlie Waite‘s book caught my eye because of its wonderful landscape photography. I also identified strongly with his approach to this art. His descriptions of why he sees the way he does will be of value to anyone pursuing landscape work.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see that there was not a single photograph from the USA. Images were taken primarily in the UK, Europe and Japan. Wow.

Michael Reichmann

Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape. Michael passed away in May 2016. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Each month more than one million people from every country on the globe visit LuLa.

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