Friday, August 10, 2012

The Education Of A Photographer

"The Education of A Photographer" is a great read for any photographer, whether pro or amateur.  The book is a collection of articles by some (and on some) of greatest practitioners of the Art:  like Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Harry Callahan, Lee Friedlander, Irving Penn, Aaron Siskind, Garry Winogrand and many others.

Compiled by Charles Traub (photographer and Chair, School of Visual Arts' MFA Photography Dept.), Adam Bell (photographer) and Steven Heller (art director and Co-chair, School of Visual Arts' MFA Designer Prog.), the book offers an eclectic collection of articles on the Art and practice of Photography -- highlighting perspectives from all the photographic disciplines as well as from the related fields of design, graphics, typography, illustration and commercial media.

Here is an excerpt from the article by Henri Cartier-Bresson:

"For each of us space begins and slants off from our own eye, and from there enlarges itself progressively toward infinity.  Space, in the present, strikes us with greater or lesser intensity and then leaves us, visually, to be closed in our memory and to modify itself there.  Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant.  We photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again.  We cannot develop and print memory.  The writer has time to reflect.  He can accept and reject, accept again; before committing his thoughts to paper he is able to tie the several relevant elements together.  There is also a period when his brain "forgets," and his subconscious works on classifying his thoughts.  But for photographers, what has gone is gone forever.  From that fact stem the anxieties and strength of our profession.  We cannot do our story over again once we've got back to the hotel.  Our task is to perceive reality, almost simultaneously recording it in the sketchbook which is our camera."

--Book graphic and quote from "The Education of a Photographer," Allworth Press, 2006.

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