This week someone gave my son a book for his 13th birthday. It’s called “READ THIS BOOK IF YOU WANT TO TAKE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS” (RTBIYWTTBP) by Henry Carroll. It’s annoying because it’s really good.
Books that purport to give you the magic key to photography or appreciation of it are usually completely avoidable but this book is packed with really good things. It covers a wide area of the art form; from the technical through documentary to high art.
Carroll’s tone is straightforward, unpretentious and knowledgeable. And this is what makes it so annoying. I have learned much of what he conveys here over years of trial and error and here it is distilled in a readable book that anyone can pick up. How unfair is that??
Arguably lessons learned over years and years are learned better than those spoon fed from a book. Many books take the view that skill and critical thought are ‘optional extras’ in the age of Facebook, Instagram and low-value imagery. RTBIYWTTBP is the antidote to this dumb approach and will contribute to better photography and art.