The Best Review: The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman

The Best Review The Photographers Eye:Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman

In 1988, photographer Michael Freeman published a fabulous book named “The Image”. As far out of print, used copies were sold for three figure amounts at auctions. Now, the book has been updated and re-issued by Focal Press. The new edition is called The Photo­grapher’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos. Now published in sixteen languages, The Photographer’s Eye continues to speak to photographers everywhere. Reaching 100,000 copies in print in the US alone, and 300,000+ worldwide, it shows how anyone can develop the ability to see and shoot great digital photographs with this most impressive books. Michael Freeman has created a gorgeous, well-illustrated book that takes one of the most subtle and abstract elements of photography—composition—and makes it concrete and understandable.

You may find lot of books on the market that discusses the technical aspects of photography, but no book that teaches composition and design from the photographer’s perspective. Freeman is a master educator… He really in behind, one can realize how much he learned self-aware intelligent way. He believes that the principles of composition and design in photography, like in any other graphic art, can be thought, and he has written this book to prove this. It seems that about no other photography book that discusses this subject to the same level of depth as Freeman’s book.

This is one of the most impressive books I have found which covers the photographic process, from concept to execution. This is not a book on the basics of taking “better photos,” so those who seek information on exposure, cameras, and lenses will not find it here. Nor is such shooting information for any photographs included. In a general book on photography, this would be a major defect, but here such information would only distract from the book’s primary subject: the composition of a visual image. This book covers such concepts as movement, contrast, color balance and intent with accompanying photographs and diagrams. It goes a long way in explaining the process of composing photographs in a skilled and artful manner, rather than just pointing and shooting. Michael Freeman wastes no time diving right in to the creative process, and he does so on an “advanced” level in every sense of the word.

The Photographer's Eye

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The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos

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The Photographer's Eye

The most popular & selling large scale Book “The Photographers Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos” published in sixteen different language all over the world. The book contain photography concept such as contrast, color balance, composition with nice diagram & photographs by the author “Michael Freeman” who much specializes in travel, architecture, and Asian art photography.

The book is illustrated with high quality photos from Freeman’s portfolio of his Asian travels, and the subject matter can sometimes become a bit monotonous if you’re not a big fan of travel photography. There is of course no technical data attached to any of the included photos. Technical details about focal length, ISO, shutter time and aperture is not what this book is about, and Freeman probably regard them as distractions. It is one of Freeman’s gifts that he can write analytically and be a very successful, versatile artist.

This is the most complete volume on this subject out there in terms of numbers of topics introduced and discussed at a reasonable length. It is also the most effective melding of the insights of current Gestalt perception theory with traditional design elements/principles in print. The first 60% of the book deals with the more concrete aspects of designing an image.

The last two chapters marry the other part of composing that is harder to articulate well: the message in an image, or the photographer’s intent. Only in this book has an author attempted to define major categories of intent in making an image. And then categorizes the physical and mental aspects of how a photographer goes after, constructs, or recognizes an image – the process.
The way he shares those skills should become clear from the breakdown of the book into its constituent chapters:

  1. The Image Frame. This chapter focuses on the image in a spatial context, including frame shape, stitching, cropping, filling, and placement.
  2. Design Basics. Here Freeman introduces the two most fundamental principles of photography design: Contrast and balance, and how these may be used as narrative tools.
  3. Graphic and Photographic Elements. This chapter discusses the use and placement of fundamental graphic elements, such as horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, and the fundamental photographic elements, such as blur, focus and exposure.
  4. Composing with Light and Color. This chapter completes the toolbox available to the photographer, discussing the use of color and black & white in photography.
  5. In this chapter Freeman challenges all of the rules introduced in the previous chapters, emphasizing that creative photography is not created by following rules, but from having a purpose and vision.
  6. The final chapter goes beyond the elements of composition and design, and introduces the process of capturing a better image. Freeman does not believe great images are just found, but the result of a deliberate and elaborate process.

One of the strengths of Freeman’s book is that it goes beyond the theory of design and compositional rules. In the last two chapters, Freeman challenges the reader to look into his or her own intentions, processes and narratives. To tell the truth, I found some of the challenges presented slightly discomforting. But such discomfort is probably necessary if one is serious about doing creative photography. Freeman’s journey through the principles of photographic composition is eye-opening, eloquent, and beautifully published.
This book doesn’t read easily, or fast. It forces the readers to engage both sides of their brain, since paying close attention to the images is as important here as carefully reading the words. But it is well worth the effort, and the reward, in addition to access to the authors’ extensive knowledge
The only way it can be significantly better would be to have twice as many pages. It would make a wonderful textbook in a group, either in a classroom, or just with some photographer friends. By going out in the field and practicing the rules and processes described in the book, and discussing the resulting images afterwards in a class or group setting, or art appreciation course in high school or college/university.. However, the text is well written and clear, and most photographers will probably also benefit from reading it alone.

Author Biography

Michael Freeman, professional renowned international photographer and author who specializes in travel, architecture, and Asian art, with more than 100 book titles to his credit, was born in England in 1945, took a Masters in geography at Brasenose College. He made the break from there in 1971 to travel up the Amazon with two secondhand cameras, and when Time-Life used many of the pictures extensively in the Amazon volume of their World’s Wild Places series, including the cover, they encouraged him to begin a full-time photographic career. He has been a leading photographer for the Smithsonian magazine (with which he has had a 30-year association, shooting more than 40 stories) for many years, and has worked for Time-Life Books and Reader’s Digest. Michael is the author of more than 40 photographic books, including the hugely successful Complete Guide to Digital Photography and The Photographer’s Eye. For this photographic educational work he was awarded the Prix Louis Philippe Clerc by the French Ministry of Culture. He is also responsible for the distance-learning courses on photography at the UK’s Open College of the Arts.
Freeman is one of very few photographers, or artists of any ilk, who can articulate their art-related thoughts in concrete, accurate, analytical ways, and not in the jargon of so much of what is written about art that lacks any actual content. Not only is he an outstandingly gifted photographer, with dozens of books to his credit, but one who has mastered the grammar of images and is one of the few who can describe how and why visual phenomena work.

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