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Old Dec 21, 2011, 8:07 PM   #1
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Default The best book on composition?

What's the best book on photographic composition? Preferrably one without the obligatory review of what shutter speed is...
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Old Dec 25, 2011, 1:15 AM   #2
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I know what helped me the most, no idea if it's the best. Picked it up in an art supply store 35 years ago. Not a word about shutter speed and f-stop because it was written for any sort of visual artist.

Don't have a specific book to recommend. Maybe you're interested in why the book helped me so much. What set it apart were it's assumption about the readers and the sort of images it used.

The unstated assumption was the readers had played with art and were now in an art store wanting to know more. They'd either understand the concepts visually or put down the book. Thus the words were few in number and supported the images. In other words the book presented elements of composition but didn't explain them in detail, didn't explain why they worked or how to recognize them, why or when you should use them. You either got it visually or didn't. I liked that because using words to describe images is as ineffective to me as using words to describe music.

Each element was demonstrated with two images. One was a line drawing, black on white, utter simplicity. The only lines in the image were there to illustrate the element of composition. For example to show convergence the drawing had three lines, a horizon and two lines showing how parallel lines appear to converge.

The second image was a photo, always a simple one, showing a well done application of the element.

Because of the author's assumption about the audience he didn't bother with the usual end of chapter filler found in most introduction to composition books: now go try some on your own.

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Old Dec 25, 2011, 5:53 PM   #3
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My favorite is Michael Freeman's The Photographer's Eye, http://www.amazon.com/Photographers-...4857117&sr=1-2 FWIW
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Old Dec 27, 2011, 5:46 PM   #4
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Thanks! I'll take a look for a general art book as well as Freeman's book.
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