Home > Finished “Why People Photograph”.

Finished “Why People Photograph”.

April 5th, 2009 - written by Brian Utley

So I’m through with Why People Photograph. The books starts with seven quick little essays about subjects ranging from Teaching to Dogs, all of them quite interesting. The essays are the best part of the book, you could say that is where the meat is. The initial essays delivered the most insight into the photographic mind, you could say.

The second part of the book delves into the lives of 9 photographers, each of which is portrayed with a bias that is easy to pick up. The author obviously dislikes Edward Weston, while singing the praises of Lange and Atget. Ansel Adams is what he is (and the founder of Aperture which was news to me), and Paul Strand was here to save us all.

The book finishes up with three essays that were difficult to get through that were titled:

“Working Conditions In The Nineteenth Century West”, “Working Conditions In The Twentieth Century West”, and “Two Landscapes”. These essays dealt primarily with the shrinking west, and overpopulation. I disagreed with most of it. Or rather, I really didn’t care. I don’t particularly do landscapes, I like portraits, so overpopulation is a friend of mine. Not to push aside the implications of tin cans flowing down our once-proud rivers of the West, but it wasn’t the message I was looking for.

What the book did do, is get me started into the history of photographic achievement and I now have a list of books in my Amazon wishlist that I find curious. Such as the biographies of Dorothea Lange and Alfred Stieglitz. Steiglitz is a familiar name from the biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, one who saw Ansel Adams’s work before most, and was the mentor of Paul Strand, who I think of as a master of natural light.

Finished “Why People Photograph”.

Robert Adams, Why People Photograph

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