Thursday, 14 September 2017

My Favourite Photography Books, and the Joy of Capturing Memories

It's no secret that I love taking photos. Up until a couple of years ago, I would photograph practically everything... and online it would go, regardless of whether it was good, bad, or part of a series of identical photos for no apparent reason. They'd all be uploaded. These days, I'm more selective with what makes the cut, and I no longer photograph everything. That doesn't mean I'm no longer into photography, but rather the opposite: I've actually fallen in love with it even more.

I like to be behind the camera and in front of it, and I love the process of setting up a flat-lay or composing a shot, editing photos so they look their very best, and looking at these captured memories years later. Even the anticipation that comes with developing a photo if I'm using my old Polaroid Supercolor, aka the best charity shop find ever. Taking photos is a bit like blogging, I suppose, isn't it? It's all a form of documenting something. I don't think I'm amazing at it - far from it, and I would love the opportunity to improve, somehow - but I'd like to showcase some of my favourite photos here on the blog at some point. I'll have to ask my friends, first, as they're in some of the photos. We'll see!

I love looking at other people's photos, too - even more if they're in a book. Who wouldn't want their main hobbies combined into one? My favourites are photographers that tell a story, for example Brandon Stanton, the creator of the Humans of New York series, and Cathy Teesdale, creator of Humans of London. Ordinary people become momentary models, and we hear the stories of people we'd probably never meet. I also love Alexandra Cameron, one of the most popular and sought-after photographers in the blogosphere. She doesn't have a book out, but I reckon there's definitely demand!

Every single one of my photography books, you might have noticed, revolves around a place. Because that's another thing: I love travel. And if you can't actually go to a place (ahem, New York) then looking at photos is the next best thing.

Though I haven't used them for this purpose, photos of people like the ones you see in any Humans of... books would make great writing prompts. I was recently sent New York in Colour (are you seeing a theme here?) which is a collection of photographs by Nichole Robertson. It's said to capture the city as never before, and I can definitely see that. Organised by colour, it gives a glimpse of the tiny details you might not notice whilst being a visitor in a huge and overwhelming city. After all, in a place where noisy, bustling crowds and glaring billboards dominate, who's going to notice the beauty of a stack of golden pretzels, the primary colours of the seats on the subway, or bright yellow bananas sold on the side of the street? Robertson also created Paris in Colour which I need to get my hands on, although I'm starting to run out of space for books... she says, as if space for books didn't become limited the moment she learned to read...

I rarely use my camera on a manual setting, and if you wanted to know what aperture was, you wouldn't ask me because I don't have a clue. Nonetheless, I love all aspects of photography, from the joy of finding what I know will be a good shot to flicking through the work of others, and I'd definitely like to broaden my collection of books on photography. Might need to move somewhere bigger first, though, preferably with its own library. One day.

Do you have any photography book recommendations?

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