First things first: very eagerly awaited in some circles is Alain Briot's newest, Marketing Fine Art Photography. A seasoned author (and an advertiser here) with several popular how-to books under his belt, Alain also very much knows whereof he speaks when it comes to, well, marketing fine art photography—he's one of the few photographers in the country who makes most of his living through the sale of prints (there aren't as many like that as you might guess: in the late '80s, I recall, one expert pegged the number of such photographers at six). According to the publisher: "After a series of trials and errors, Briot devised a marketing system that allowed him to get out of debt, pay for a state-of-the-art studio, and purchase his first home, all from the sale of his photography."
Amazon's first shipment is almost sold out already. You can also buy the book directly from Alain, but he's traveling at the moment so there might be a delay, I don't know.
Happily, my all-time favorite Leica book is freshly back in print yet again, even better than before. Günter Osterloh was for many years Product Manager at E. Leitz Wetzlar and Leica Camera AG, and the Director (from 1993 to 2002) of The Leica Academy. The newest edition of his Leica M: Advanced Photo School is the second Lark (Pixiq) edition (firsts were selling for $70–$125 until a few weeks ago), but there were earlier iterations that I watched go in and out of print over the years—the first one in English, from Hove, came out in the summer of '87. (In general it spends more time out of print than in. I lost my only earlier copy in the '90s when it went the way of most loaned books, refusing to find its way home again.)
I fully expected the new edition to have a section awkwardly tacked on to the end about the digital M's, but happily it doesn't—it's content to remain the best book on film Leicas (and everything related—for instance, 69 pages answering the question "How well do Leica lenses perform?"), rather than try to be something it's not. For those who are into the M9, there's David Taylor's Leica M9 (The Expanded Guide) (also hot off the presses—published a week ago), and 2009's Leica M Digital Photography: M8/8.2/M9 by the friendly Brian Bower, whose earlier Leica books have been enormously popular. (Brian is one of the few photographers I know of who has a real feel for the 21mm focal length and really handles it well. I always enjoy deconstructing his WA pictures in his Leica books to see how he sees.)
Günter Osterloh lives and breathes photography and Leica equally, and his book is the one with the most useful information for practicing photographers, as opposed to pure collectors. I just find this book more companionable than most such. It's good to read along, spending time in the company of such an amiable and erudite tourguide. It's nice to have this again, and a new copy to boot, and for such a reasonable price. It joins my core library of film photography books, and will be equally appealing to those interested in the Leica marque in general.
Plentiful illustrations, too—and a sewn binding, so it won't suffer the fate of my '90s copy, the "perfect" binding* of which shed pages like a Siberian Husky in summer sheds hair!
UPDATE: I'm just not "up" on Leica offerings enough to know exactly where this book "cuts off" in terms of being up-to-date with current Leica products, but do bear in mind this is a second edition of a newer reprint of a 1987 book—it doesn't have some of the latest products, aside from the fact that it doesn't cover digital cameras. It doesn't function as a catalog, in any event.
Books by TOP readers
I can't begin to mention every book that's sent to me, but two recent ones by TOP readers are Remote Exposure: A Guide to Hiking and Climbing Photography by Alexandre Buisse, and Path of Beauty: Photographic Adventures in the Grand Canyon by Chris Brown. I am an armchair reader of mountaineering books such as Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster and Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival (both terrific, by the way), so I paged through Alexandre's book with the same sort of detached fascination with which I read about improbable people clinging to improbable verticalities—but just because it has no potential practical value to me doesn't mean it might not for you! The pictures sure are stunning...doubly so for me, with my fear of all but literary heights. And as for Chris, some of his pleasurable Grand Canyon pictures can be seen here.
Finally, a title that is also possibly apropos to our film/digital discussions of recent days—a small but meaty little volume entitled Photographer's Guide to the Digital Lifecycle. Author Ben Greisler sums up his approach to digital asset management thusly: "After a lifetime of photographic experience collided with my current experience as an IT professional, I saw a need for mixing the two disciplines in a way that took the needs of the creative professional and combined them with solid IT best practices. My goal for this book is to show you how to do this without being overwhelmed by the process." This book is also new to the world, as of last month. Unfortunately I can't tell you how it compares to the better-established alternative, Peter Krough's The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, the second edition of which just turned two, because I don't know that one. But the present title is a thorough but digestible primer on the subject by a guy who knows what he's talking about.
I know I must be forgetting a couple, but those will have to wait for next time, I guess.
Some hopefully helpful links:
*A "perfect" binding—the word perfect should always be placed in sardonic quotation marks—refers to a stack of loose pages with adhesive slathered hopefully along one edge to create the alleged binding. The worse and more porous the paper, and the stiffer, more inflexible, and more unyielding the carapace of glue, the better this "works." It is possibly the least perfect kind of binding there is—hence the name.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.