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Friday, 31 August 2007


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Photocopying chapters sounds like a perilous disregard for copyright, surely? Much better to write your own, and then get everyone to buy it :-)

Green's book may be out of print, but there are lots of used copies around. Amazon and ABE Books list quite a few copies.

So Mike, how about publishing the list? Those who are interested can troll the used bookshops for the books that are out of print.

I spent two years authoring a book on photography--a good college level exploration of fine art photography in all aspects. It took two years or marketing effort, and finally a recommendation for publication by the editors at a major press, then the marketing department killed it.

As a member of The Authors Guild the huge change behind the scenes in publishing is the tax laws. It use to be that a publisher could put a book out and recoup their publishing fees in the year the book was published. This allowed books that required a long shelf life to slowly brew until they sold. Historically, this is the case for books on art and books on art technique--they sell well, but just slowly.

But the IRS stepped in and told the publishing companies that they would have to charge off publications expenses as a function of book sales. The consequence is that publishers can only afford to publish "90 day wonders", wherein the bulk of the books are sold in short order. It does not help that major book retailers have followed suit---either the book sells NOW or it's put into discount and no one (except the retailer) makes money.

Most of the university presses have shut down their production of art books under direct orders from the directors. Why? Because it costs a lot of money to print an art book, particularly a fine art book with duo-tone or tri-tone plates. For the cost of one art book, they can produce a whole series of normal books. Most university presses are struggling to keep their doors open.

At a recent photo function, I met with some publishers of photography books. Their interest was clearly in technology, technology and technology. Their publishing companies were geared around selling a lot of books---but all of a software-based nature. Just the mention of the book discussing aspects of art, not technology, had editors excusing themselves and moving rapidly away.

The need for books on photography is as great or greater then ever. Perhaps someday we will find a publisher interested in art as a subject and not just the technology of it all.


"Hopefully, you're risking failure every time you make a frame".

That phrase keeps coming back to my mind.

Mike, (and others)

If you've got the info, and believe the audience is there - then check out self-publishing opportunities like lulu.com. I do not know if they will let you choose papers, be fussy over colors, and things like that - but there are alternatives out there that don't break the bank. You'll sell slowly - but for a long time.

I asked my friend (a self-published author) and he recommended iUniverse (www.iuniverse.com) and Infinity Publishing
(www.infinitypublishing.com). These are Print on Demand companies with reasonable rates.

The alternative is to put the whole thing online, and we pay for access. There are blogs now that charge admission - but your content has to be worth it. Imagine a website with great pix, lots of good content, and good instruction.

Let me know when you need a proofreader. (grin)

As unlikely as it might seem, three weeks ago i found a new copy of Jonathan Green's book in a mainstream bookstore here in Costa Rica and have been working my way through it slowly, relishing each page more than the one before..if i can find it here, it might not be as unavailable elsewhere as might be thought. Look around, folks, it's a worthy read!!!

Recently I bought "Figment from the real world". Its a awesome book!
Winogrand is a great photographer, worth to remember, to look at his pictures, to learn from him.
And althoug he didn't like t be peged as a street photographer, he was a great street photographer.
(hope this was correct english?)

I found "American Photography" in my university library catalog.

Mike, why don't you publish what would be your 'recommended reading' book list? Chances are major universities will have at least some of them, as they often offer photography as part of their fine arts programs.

One option I'd recommend is listening to Jeff Curto's History of Photography lectures.


He releases all of his lecture notes and podcasts of the actual class sessions for free. He's just started another class session so you can learn right along with his current crop of students. I really enjoyed this last year and learned a lot from it.

I feel the biggest mistake in photography is to follow anyones advice.

I recently located as-new copies of both Hurn & Jay's "On Being A Photographer" and Adams's "Beauty In Photography" - both recommended here - for a few pounds on Abebooks UK.

An excellent read. Learned a lot from this one:

Bystander: A History Of Street Photography

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Bulfinch; 1st ed edition (November 16, 1994)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0821217550
ISBN-13: 978-0821217559

>I feel the biggest mistake in photography is to follow anyones advice.




I love the part in the video where Winogrand is shooting on a street and a woman asks, "What's happening?" and he gives this Bukowskian laugh and says, "I'm surviving."

I'm late in responding to this, but I just got my copy of American Photography: A Critical History yesterday. Off the Internet, thru ABE Books, still shrinkwrapped, and less than $20 with shipping.

Please don't let the "out of print" label stop you from listing your recommended "Reading List for Autodidacts." Many of us probably already own some of them, or (with luck) can find them at the library. When push comes to shove, searching for an out of print copy at a reasonable price is a hobby in and of itself. Don't forget local used book stores--they sometimes hide real treasures.

Looking forward to the list.


FYI - I've had great results in the past in finding out of print stuff using


each of those allows you to search the catalogues of second hand book shops cross the world. Very useful indeed... Happy hunting everyone!

ed x

"I feel the biggest mistake in photography is to follow anyones advice."

THANK YOU. My thoughts exactly. Some people have no ambition and expect to be "led" to great pictures. If they really wanted to do it, they would. I never had the benefit of someone to feed me lists of essential reading, I got off my ass and went to the library and took out the ones that had the pictures I liked. Crikey, I didn't even really know any other photographers when I first started, before the days of forums and Flickr.

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