Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Art Of Photography: An Approach To Personal Expression By Bruce Barnbaum

The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression

The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression
By Bruce Barnbaum

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(36 customer reviews)

Product Description

This is an updated and newly revised edition of the classic book The Art of Photography (originally published in 1994), which has often been described as the most readable, understandable, and complete textbook on photography. With well over 100 beautiful photographic illustrations in both black-and-white and color, as well as numerous charts, graphs, and tables, this book presents the world of photography to beginner, intermediate, and advanced photographers seeking to make a personal statement through the medium of photography. Without talking down to anyone, or talking over anyone's head, Barnbaum presents "how to" techniques for both traditional and digital approaches. Yet he goes well beyond the technical, as he delves deeply into the philosophical, expressive, and creative aspects of photography so often avoided in other books.

Bruce Barnbaum is recognized as one of the world's finest landscape and architectural photographers, and for decades has been considered one of the best instructors in the field of photography. This latest incarnation of his textbook, which has evolved, grown, and been refined over the past 35 years, will prove to be an ongoing, invaluable photographic reference for years to come. It is truly the resource of choice for the thinking photographer.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #392 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-12-05
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 364 pages
Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bruce Barnbaum, of Granite Falls, WA, entered photography as a hobbyist in the 1960s, and after four decades, it is still his hobby. It has also been his life's work for the past 30 years.

Bruce's educational background includes Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics from UCLA. After working for several years as a mathematical analyst and computer programmer for missile guidance systems, he abruptly left the field and turned to photography.

Bruce has authored several books, some of which have become classics. The Art of Photography was first published in 1994 and remained in print until 2007. Bruce has been self-publishing the book ever since, but with limited distribution (until now).

Bruce is a frequent contributor to several photography magazines. His series "The Master Printing Class" is featured in each issue of Photo Techniques, and his articles are published regularly in LensWork. Through his workshops, articles, lectures, books, and innovative photography, Bruce has become a well-known and highly-respected photographer, educator, and pioneer.

Bruce is recognized as one of the finest darkroom printers on this planet, both for his exceptional black and white work, as well as for his color imagery. He understands light to an extent rarely found, and combines this understanding with a mastery of composition, applying his knowledge to an extraordinarily wide range of subject matter. His work is represented by more than ten galleries throughout the United States and Canada, and is in the collections of museums and private collectors worldwide.

Bruce has been an active environmental advocate for more than three decades, both independently and through his involvement and leadership with organizations such as the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society, the Stillaguamish Citizens' Alliance, 1000 Friends of Washington, and the North Cascades Conservation Council.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

117 of 129 people found the following review helpful.
3An Unneeded Update
By Conrad J. Obregon
Here's a case where Amazon's star rating sytem doesn't work very well. As described below, for a very small number of photographers this book will prove useful. For the vast majority of photographers it will not.

I've long been an admirer of the work of Bruce Barnbaum. An original Barnbaum print hangs on my wall. A copy of his book of photographs, "Visual Symphony" graces my coffee table. Several years ago I purchased a used copy of the original, but then out of print, "The Art of Photography" at an outrageous price. I have to confess that much of the book was unread because it dealt with film photography, and I had long since made the switch to digital.

Now "The Art of Photography" has been reissued in a revised form, supposedly updated for the digital age. The book attempts to cover all of photography from visualization to hanging the print on the wall. There are even chapters that discuss ideas like innovation and old saws like truth in photography. There are references to digital photography, but a great deal of the book is devoted to Barnbaum's take on the zone system for film photography, including processing film to increase (or decrease) the range of light captured on the negative. There is a tip of the hat to digital photography, including the importance of the camera's histogram to capture exposure, and reference to high dynamic range photography to increase the range of light for digital captures but the heart of the book is film. The book is illustrated with Barnbaum's photographs, mostly in black-and-white, and they are drop-dead beautiful. If you like Ansel Adams you will love Bruce Barnbaum's images.

I suppose these images alone may justify the updating. Certainly the content will be interesting to those who still practice black-and-white film photography, although I suspect that these folks, already being specialists, may be familiar with what the author has to say. (I really can't comment on that; it's been years since I worked in a chemical darkroom.) The digital photographer will find that there just isn't enough detail in looking to this book for technique. It's a shame because I would have loved to see an explanation of how to achieve Barnbaum's beautiful effects in Lightroom or Photoshop.

The sections on the artistic aspects of photography are interesting but somewhat elementary. Barnbaum doesn't succeed in telling us what it is in an image that turns it from just an image to art. (Of course, I really don't know any authors who do this, although there are several people, most recently George Barr in "Why Photographs Work: 52 Great Images Who Made Them, What Makes Them Special and Why", who have made valiant efforts to accomplish this impossible task.)

The bottom line is that if you are unfamiliar with Barnbaum's work, this book is worth it for the images. If you are a film photographer, the technical data may prove useful. If you are a digital photographer looking for technical help, look elsewhere.

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful.
5A book that will connect the photographer to his/her photograph
By Z. Cheng
For someone who had no previous formal education in art of any sort including photography, this is the best book I came across. I was looking for a book that is not too advanced to understand about artistic compositions, but not too shallow that it simply tell you to apply "higher contrast is better", "the rule of the third", "the golden ratio" etc. without enough explanation. I actually came across some books like that which left me even more confused about compositions. Most of the time, I just blindly apply whatever I learned of composition.

But this book is totally different. It starts talking about the philosophy of how photography is connected personally to the photographer. Then it gives a detail analysis of all the elements of composition with great examples and with a language that even an amateur can understand. Best of all, the author did a great job at interconnecting all the elements to help the reader understand the importance of applying a combination of elements instead of focusing on just one of two of the elements. It is like putting all the puzzles together to solve a great mistery.

If you want to find a book that will teach you composition and connect yourself to your photography, this is the book.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
5A must read for the serious artist!
By Jeff Ornstein
This book was a joy to read. It has reinforced my own artistic and technical philosophies and workflow. Mr. Barnbaum has a unique ability to take highly technical and scientific principles and explain them in a language that any photographer can understand and apply.

When I first started to read the book I was a little disappointed in his strictly black & white approach but by the time I finished the book I was amazed at his ability to apply these monochromatic theories and principles to color; his ability to explain film photography to digital photography.

I really enjoyed the author's explanations of his rules of composition as the reinforced by own long time views on the subject.

The artistic and compositional discussions will apply to any medium.......photography, painting, graphics or sculpture.

Any photographer that wishes to start a photographic library would do well to make this his first book.

You wont be disappointed.



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