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I really enjoy "the Bastards Book of Photography". There are a few reasons:

1) The sequence feels right. Everyone can start with photography, you don't need the fancy equipment, and you can start with what you have.

2) The text starts people on the road to manual settings, i.e. learning the camera. The mechanics are not what photography as art is all about, that's composition and creativity. But, without practice and understanding the mechanics until they are second nature it's very hard to realize your composition and vision efficiently.

3) This is a starting point with some help to novices. If this helps someone take a slightly better vacation or family photograph, great. The text straight off the about page sums it up.

There are concerns:

1) "Wow" is what teaches?

There seem to be two major paths to learning from experts:

If they are dead there are books. Review: The Camera, The Negative, and The Print by Ansel Adams. Highly technical from a master who had a nervous breakdown after putting everything into his art to for a showing. Still not a great starting point for the novice. They are fantastic books for someone who's more advanced and ready to get into the minutia. This is contrary to the message that people should just go look at compositions and dive in.

Expert workshops: If wow is what teaches, than there are many expert photographers who conduct workshops. For the majority of novice to curious photographers my advice has always been to save the money and go out with a photo club or some photo friends. None of the people in these clubs are probably "wow" experts, but it's a bit like learning a sport by matching up with someone of equal skill rather than paying to be taught by a pro before you know what you are getting into.

2) Technical Details: These are common practice. The body of the site directs people to learn their own settings and exposure. I'd read more into the text and intent than the photo details.

3) Photography is art? Not to the majority of people who just want to take photos on vacation or of the family. The most common questions I get are: What camera to buy (well addressed here), what do those settings on my camera dial mean (addressed fairly well here), and how do I take better pictures (good starting points to think about composition).

4) Go look at good photos. Agree. Fair? No. The big investment for most people is time. From point #1, there are a lot of good books at the library... if you are of the willing.

As for disclaimer about skill, &c: People have paid for my photos as well. I have an art degree. Look, I'm not great but I'm handy with a camera. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kanemoto/sets/72157621724362081...




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