Reid Callanan, the director of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, has a perceptive eye for categorizing the types of professionals in our business: there are professionals who teach, and those who don’t. I have known for years I was firmly at home in the former group. So was Ansel Adams, as is Sam Abell.
Both of those men have influenced my photographic development (yes, that pun was intended) beyond any measurement, and I try to pass along the lessons they were so kind to impart. Lesson number one: you need to research and read. If you want to get better, you must be both a technical addict and voracious learner; thus, here is an evolving alphabetical list of books I recommend as crucial to growing as a photographer. Check back; I’m adding books titles as I have time (my library includes a whole universe of titles I’ve found useful).
The Life of a Photograph. Sam Abell, National Geographic, 2008. A master work regarding photographic process from the master of such art. No equal.
The Camera. Ansel Adams, Little Brown and Company, 1981. A must-read for any serious photographer.
The Negative. Ansel Adams, Little Brown and Company, 1981. A must-read for any serious photographer.
The Print. Ansel Adams, Little Brown and Company, 1981. A must-read for any serious photographer.
Essentials of Visual Communication. Bo Bergstrom, Laurence King, 2008. Hands down, the best book I have ever found regarding greater depth of thinking and understanding in image making. A fantastic addition to any library.
Mastering Landscape Photography: The Luminous Landscape Essays. Alain Briot, Focal Press, 2006. Nice text regarding landscape composition and visualization.
Light: Science & Magic. Fil Hunter, Focal Press, 2011 (again, I’ve used several of the earlier editions, and feel this book is a must-have for understanding the behavior of light, lighting and surfaces).
Photojournalism. Ken Kobre, Focal Press, 2007. I require this book for my photojournalism class as a key to understanding the profession and visual storytelling.
Photography. Barbara London, Prentice Hall, 2011 (this is the latest edition, No. 10–I have had several of the earlier editions over the years). A key to understanding your camera.