Important writings on photography
There is much critical and philisophical writing on photography throughout its history, but how does one find it? And since there is so much how does one find it?
Also, what artists/photographers/critics have influenced what and how you think?
A search at photo-eye brings up about 40 titles. But I know there are more than that.
I recently cheacked out Susan Sontag's On Photography, Nancy Newhall's Adams to Stieglitz, and Photographers on Photography.
There is Van Daren Coke, Beaumont Newhall, Nathan Lyons, Bill Jay, Peter Brunnell. But where do you find their essays or books if 1: you are poor and can not afford to buy them? 2: you can not get them at a local library?
Free access to the Interlibrary loan system is available in many local libraries, and this opens up access to a large variety of books. I would recommend Robert Adams' "Beauty in photography : essays in defense of traditional values" for some very thoughtful comments on photography and the constructive possibilities of the medium.
ASk your library if they participate in interlibrary exchange -- I get a lot of photo books from the local library by asking them to find them in college libraries all over California. College libraries themselves are also excellent choices. Use the computer to find what you want -- you might be surprised to find out how handy it is to get books from distant libraries delivered to the front desk of your own branch (kind of handy to do regular browsing that way too -- look up what I want and reserve it, it's there at the front desk in a day or two and I just sweep through!)
For guidance/inspiration on the creative level, I would recommend:
1) "The Creative Photographer" by Andreas Feininger
2) "The Daybooks Of Edward Weston" (but if you know nothing about Weston, start with "Edward Weston: His Life" by Ben Maddow)
3) "Approaching Photography" by Paul Hill
Many people feel they have gained valuable insights from Susan Sontag (not least Annie Leibovitz!) I find SS's book "On Photography" the most overrated of any on this subject, but that's just me (and my 50 years of picture-taking!).
The Feininger book has gone thru many editions and is freely available - mine is the 1955 edition and cost me £3 in a secondhand bookstore in Glastonbury, England.
Public libraries seem to suffer 1st when local/state gov'ts cut budgets. Google had talked about making books available online; but haven't heard anything lately about that project. I usually buy used or overstocked copies of photo books (often quite cheap) thru Bookfinder . Some books not already mentioned: Susan Sontag Regarding the Pain of Others ; Roland Bartes Camera Lucida ; Henri Cartier-Bresson The Mind's Eye ; John Berger About Looking .
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
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If you are able to buy second hand, eBay has proved a good source. First you have to use the methods described above to know what authors or titles to put in your search.