This is part of a new series of writings that I’m planning to do, which is to write my thoughts after reading a book. For books in Mandarin, I will write my thoughts in Mandarin. For books in English, I will write my thoughts in English. Apologise for any inconvenience caused.
I bought the book “Magnum Contact Sheet” quite a while back but was not able to really to have time to sit down and read it through. Well, finally I did now. For those who enjoyed shooting streets or documentary style photography, this book can easily be the “bible” for one to own and keep. Of course there’re a lot more to offer in terms of content inside the book, which I believe is useful to all photographers out there.
The book shows contact sheets, which are series or sequence of photographs taken by the photographer for a particular event or moment. Looking through the contact sheets, you will be able to understand how the iconic pictures were made back then. The first thing that struck me was that there’s almost always more than one frame being captured in order to arrive at that one iconic shot. By looking through the contact sheets, you will get a sense of the photographers’ thought process in arriving at the final image.
Is it a decisive moment? Is it spray and pray? Is it staged? Is it cropped or post processed? I’ll leave it for you to explore and find out the answer on some of the iconic shots. You’ll be amazed. My key takeaway from this book is this: it doesn’t matter if you take multiple shots in order to get that one shot you want, it doesn’t really matter if you crop or post processed your picture, all that matter is the mind behind the camera. The thought process when moving from frame to frame, changing of composition, waiting for different subject, playing with the light and shadow… if there’s a thought being put in for each frame, you will eventually find the “one frame” that defines your thought.
This is indeed a good photography book for me to kickstart the year. Although there isn’t much plan for me on photography this year, reading books like this does keep my spirit and interest going. Highly recommended.
After much delay, I had finally completed another personal project of mine. This time around, this project is more on the words than the pictures. Initially I thought that I would like to reshoot all the pictures to make them relevant to the words written, but sadly I have to scrap the idea in the end as I simply do not have much time to do so.
Anyway, for those who is interested, you may find my new personal book here. This is a book with collection of passages, stories and thoughts of mine throughout the years. You may get to know me in person a little more by reading them (I guess…). Sorry that it was written in Chinese instead of English. Similar to my previous Japan Travel Photobook, I felt more comfortable in expressing myself in Chinese words than English.
That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll have time to complete some other projects this year, though I do not really have any plan yet at the moment. Till then, thank you.
Just completed a small project recently. Nothing major, just spending some time playing with my camera while I am free and home alone. Did some table top pictures for some of the books that I am reading lately (or going to read soon, hopefully), and adding a little twist to the shoot by introducing some extra elements that juxtapose or compliment the books’ title.
It was a fun little project, and I’ll probably keep adding more pictures to it as my book collections keep growing day after day. All pictures were taken with the Fujifilm X100F with the TCL-X100 conversion lens. First time toying with this and still exploring it’s possibilities. Till then, hope you enjoy the pictures and the books, let me know if you have any questions and I will be glad to help.
Just finished reading this book. I would consider this as a biography of Jack Dykinga, with very nice sharing and insight to his life as a photographer. Of course this does not represent the life of all or most photographer, but what was shared is true enough and applicable to even now.
Who is Jack Dykinga? Well, honestly I don’t know. I was attracted by the book at first, hence read it and now I get to know him a little better. He may not be as big famed or renowned by most as he belongs to the bunch of pre-social media era photographers. Most of his works are shared through prints, exhibitions and books publishing.
The book covers story about how Jack got himself his first camera and then into photography, all the learning he went through and ended up working in a local news agency. During his career of photojournalism, he compete against the finest photographers from other agencies and earned himself the Pulitzer award.
This book covers all the ups and downs of Jack, and it also talks about how his mind and value to photography changed, resulted his shift from photojournalism to photographing landscape with large format camera, hoping to raise awareness to preserve the nature from being exploited. The book also touched on the struggle he faced when transiting from film to digital, and how he ended up hosting guided photography workshop and tour to the national parks across America.
There’s one sharing in the book that particularly caught my attention:
John White, another Pulitzer Prize winning photographer at the Sun-Times once told me he photographed every sunrise. In disbelief, I inquired why? He simply said he didn’t want to miss the really great one
And indeed it echoes a lot with my heart and belief. Persistence is important. A lot of masterpieces were not made just by one attempt or one shot. Sometimes you just have to keep shooting to get “the one” image, sometimes you just have to keep disappointed until “the one” image came by. Sometimes you are lucky, sometimes not so. Sometimes you might even need to keep shooting to spark the creativity in you, or to pull you away from your downfall and creativity block.
All in all, it’s a very nice read and I will certainly recommend those who are interested with photography to read this book. Till then.