I bought the book Photo:Box about a month ago as it looked like an interesting reference to a lot of well known and successful photographers. The book showcases 210 different photographers from around the world in different areas of interest from reportage to portraits to travel and fashion. Each photographer has one image featured of theirs with a brief explanation of the story or significance of the image as well as a very short one paragraph bio of the artist.
Of course with names like Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Helmut Newton it is full of talent and well known icons of photography. But it is also full of artists I had never heard of before, but after seeing them in the book decided to hit the internet to find more of their work. I discovered photographers I maybe should have known about but didn't such as Paolo Roversi, Erik Refner and Max & Douglas, all of whom I really enjoyed discovering.
After I bought the book I tried just sitting down and reading it front to back, but I found it tedious and realized I wasn't going to remember any of the biographical information anyway. The book is best suited as a desktop reference for photographers and a source of inspiration. For that purpose it is a fantastic purchase. As I flipped again through the book before I wrote this I was also struck by the showcase of photos and how they illustrate the importance of photography so well. If you ever find yourself doubting the impact of a single moment captured in a photograph this book and its photos should change your mind. Our memories are tied to moments, photographs in our mind. I'm convinced that we don't remember things in a stream like video but in separate frames or instants. The striking images contained in this volume are full of memories and emotion.
Interestingly as I was flipping through it my wife commented on a photo by saying "what is so special about that, it's not a very good photo." I was looking at an image by a very well known and famous artist, one that I quite liked, but her comment reminded me that our art is subjective. A photographer can make an image that earns them recognition and fame but will still not be enjoyed by everyone. And that is how it should be. When our images are generally liked by a huge audience I suspect we are just pandering to the masses. It is when we take risks and please our own sense of great photography that we will succeed at our highest level. So the next time you create an image you love, and a spouse, customer or art critic hates it, don't despair it may be your best work yet!
The book can be found in a smaller paperback version as well for less money. You only lose the larger photos and have to look at smaller print if you chose the paperback.
Before I go, we are starting a podcast (Adam my business partner and I) that will be linked to this blog. Watch for it in the next couple of weeks. I'm pretty excited about it as we plan on having it appeal to a much broader audience of photographers that the usual podcast out there meaning it won't be all about strictly Canon or Nikon equipment and it will address photography work as a profession, and also as a hobby. We plan on having guests as well, so if you are interested please contact me.