I found myself in urban outfitters the other day with ten minutes to kill and saw this book. I leafed through it and it looked promising, so I decided to order it from the library. Thankfully, Edinburgh Council is not going the way of so many English councils of annihilating their library services, and we still have an excellent network, including a brilliant fine arts library. They even extended the opening hours of my local one, and I cannot stress enough what difference proper Sunday opening has made. Anyway, not today’s topic…
So after a short wait I managed to get my hands on this book, so I thought I’d share.
The author, Kevin Meredith is a professional photographer, both commercial and artistic, working mainly with film and lomo cameras it seems. He was ranked second in the 2000 Lomolympics (? Must find out what that is!). The photos in the book are all his own work, some of them I recognised from advertising campaigns I’d seen, some are his private images.
The book is a great mix of coffee table eye candy and helpful information for inspiring photographers. All the pages on the right show one image, so you can flick through easily and just enjoy the prettyness of it all. The images really appeal to me, because most are of the high contrast, cross processed, bright colours variety. People more into pastelly faded loveliness may not find so much to admire.
But the great thing is that on the left side pages there is lots of information about the photo, usually involving a little background on how that image came about and some advice on how to create that effect/composition or use a particular tool. Its great because each page is more or less self contained, so you can dip in and out.
There is also a short technical section at the back, which talks about choosing a camera and film, introduces concepts like aperture, shutter speed and depth of field, gives photoshop tips and has a little bit of advice about managing your photographic output. It’s really just an introduction though, and if you wanted to find out properly what all this stuff is about you would need to look elsewhere. Which is fine, this is not a photography advice book.
My one minor criticism of this book is that the information about each image isn’t always as self-contained as maybe it should be. It’s like sometimes they forget that people might not know what certain terms mean. For example the book goes on about cross processing in many of the individual picture sections. I didn’t actually know what that meant, and because the technical section doesn’t have a contents, it’s not easy to find the place where it is explained quickly. I actually ended up just looking it up online rather than leafing through the whole section.
Overall, I really like this book, its fun to look at, inspiring and informative. I would definitely consider buying it once I’ve got myself an SLR, have got to grips with the basics and am trying to improve my photography.
Kevin Meredith has a flickr stream which is well worth checking out!