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Saturday, 25 August 2007


I really like Michael Freeman's books -- the one on color is particularly good, despite some rushed editing and layout, which seems to be an issue with all of the books from that publisher (Lark -- same as the B&W book).

I noticed at the bookstore the other day that he has a new book, "The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos". It looked interesting in the limited time I had -- has anyone read the whole thing? I'd love to hear your detailed thoughts.

Maybe Andrew Gibson got a different edition of the Freeman's B&W book than I did. As my review on Amazon states, and as Matthew noted above, the lack of editing really hurts the book's value as a clear teaching tool. I think that there are better choices out there.

Mike, about halfway through "Mastering Digital Black and White" by Amadou Diallo. Terrific book, full of usefull info. Has probably improved my bw output by 5-10% and made my workflow smoother. Thanks for the recommendation.
John Brewton

I must also say how disappointed I have been in several of Michael Freeman's books. They at first look great, but soon I realized that each two page spread often would cover a topic only superficially and the book is FILLED with editorial mistakes, swapped images and layout design elements that obscure critical images and screen shots. Often technical points in images are left unexplained. I have read three of his books now and have had the same reaction each time. One wonders if the author ever looks at his proofs or if they are provided to him.

There certainly are good points to glean from these books, but the experience is hit and miss. I am so glad that I got these out of our library and did not purchase them. That way I took away some pointers and distinctions without being upset at having spent hard earned cash on very imperfect products.

I have the book of Robert Doisneau photographs reviewed above, and I agree that it is quite good. Even better, it only costs $10 from Amazon. I love photography books, but I love them even more when they are reasonably priced. Taschen (the publisher) seems to be doing an excellent job on this front. They seem to have a steady lineup of very interesting photography books at reasonable prices.

Highly recommended.


I agree that the Taschen books are very nice in relation to their modest price. If you like the one on Doisneau, you will probably also like the ones on Ronis and Brassaï. Different in style, but allso very recommendable is the great retrospective on Jean Loup Sieff. But be aware, that Taschen often publish the same book in different sizes. Do yourself a favour, and go for the largest size if possible.

The Doisneau book is a fine introduction to his work. Another book is "Doisneau Paris" by Brigitte Ollier and published by Gingko Press (the same publisher who did a fine volume of Atget's Paris). There is another book by the same title listed on Amazon currently but it does not appear to be the same book. The Ginko Press volume is about 5x8 inches in format and huge--665+ pages, most of which are full page reproductions of Doisneau photos.

Unfortunately, when I searched for the book on Amazon under "Robert Doisneau" it does not come up as available. A further search under "Brigitte Ollier" does bring it up as being currently available. Strange. But it's worth trying to locate if you, like me, appreciate Doisneau's work.

Quite a few years ago when I shifted from Canada to Asia then to Australia it became quite noticeable that often the book titles published in English varied a great deal from continent to continent. Then about a year ago I learned from a radio documentary that at some point long in the past the Brits and the Americans literally divided the world market for English titles up between them hence the variation in published quality of Michael Freemans books. Originally a British publication the American version is re worked for US consumers. In other instances I recall that in Canada and Singapore it was sometimes the case that both editions were available occasionally on the same shelf!
I have a couple of Michael Freemans titles both published by Ilex and even in soft cover the editing and production quality are fine. In Black and white his chapters on the application of the zone system as applied with Photoshop and refining the tonal range are an interesting read. He has covered most of the areas of for any photographer interested in working in black and white digitally Selectively his other titles are worthy of consideration. The work he presents on his website http://michaelfreemanphoto.com is all beautifully executed and thoroughly captioned .

Michael Ward

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