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|| Member Message Board

The photographer's bookshelf...
Joshua Brown, Student/Intern, Assistant
Bowling Green | KY | USA | Posted: 3:39 AM on 07.28.02
->> I am looking at picking up a few books this month to add to my small library. NOT including being reamed by the campus bookstore when classes start. :) I am just curious as to what you guys would have down for your top 10 photo and non-photo books. Maria Mann from Agence France-Presse spoke at our school last semester and basically rebuked us all for not reading enough good literature. So, figured i might start collecting a few dont just have purdy pictures....suggestions...
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
Amherst | MA | USA | Posted: 9:29 AM on 07.28.02
->> For starters the top line of my book shelf I have "The Best of Photojournalism" 16-2001 (they stopped using numbers in order at 23 I think). Next to The Best of PJ I have World Press Photo 1991-2001, and World Press Photo's "Critical Image"

Other great books which line my shelves are:
-Don McCullin's "Sleeping With Ghosts"
-Associated Press' "Flash, AP Covers The World"
-Galen Rowel's "Vison" and "Mountain Light"
-National Geographic's "On Assignment USA" and "The Photographs"
-Walter Iooss Jr's "Rare Air" (written by Michael Jordan, all photos are by Iooss)
-LIFE's "Eye Witness"
-"100 Years Of American Photojournalism"
-"Songs of my People"
-Eugene Richard's "Knife and Gun Club" and "Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue"
-McGraw Hill's "Media Law and Ethics" (look in a text book shop, excellent book to have)
-"AP Style Book" (also the "AP Style Book For Alaska", which I have for humour)

This is my short list. I have dozens of others floating around, sort of a bad addication of mine.
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Patrick Farrington, Photographer
Ft. Collins | CO | USA | Posted: 11:51 AM on 07.28.02
->> In addition to those mentioned above here are a few more suggestions.


>" Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism, Vol. 2"
>"Witness in Our Times: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers" - edited by Ken Light
>Dan Eldon's "The Journey is the Destination"
>"Dan Eldon: The Art of Life" by Kathy New
>"Ansel Adams: An Autobiography"

>National Geographic: The Photographers
>Dying to Tell the Story


>"DelCorso's Gallery" by Philip Caputo. One of the few novels I've ever read about photojournalists, and definately the best.

>Under Fire. Just about the only movie I've ever seen where someone actually put film in the camera.
>Salvador. It's Oliver Stone, you either like his work or not.
>The Year of Living Dangerously. Makes a great double-feature with Under Fire.

There are so many more great books, some I have, most I want. Check out the bookstore on the International Center of Photography website.
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David A. Cantor, Photo Editor, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 12:47 PM on 07.28.02
->> Josh,
I imagine Maria's point was that you should be reading books that will spark your creativity, other than photo books. So for starters try the old standby "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat Moon as a transition since it even has some photos. Also try "Up in the Old Hotel" by the late, great New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell.His writing can teach you tons about observation. Also try some of the writers who influenced and befriended photographers early in the 20th century like William Carlos Williams, Sherwood Anderson and John Dos Pasos' USA trilogy. Finally I would suggest James R. Mellow's engaging biography of Walker Evans, who spent a formative part of his youth here in Toledo where the Hens are currently battling for the division!
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Robert Dall, Photographer
Yellowknife | NT | Canada | Posted: 12:56 PM on 07.28.02
->> Photojournalism "The professionals' approach" by Kenneth Kobre

I have the third edition to the book and quite enjoyed it.

I second the motion on Salvador and Under Fire.
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Andy Rogers, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 1:16 PM on 07.28.02
->> If you're looking for entertaining writing, pick up any of Michael Chabon's novels...I really enjoyed The Mysteries of Pittsburg and Wonder Boys. Just getting set to ready his new one..The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay. It won the pulitzer, so should be right at home being displayed prominently on your bookshelf. You might also check out any of Nick Hornby's novels. And if you want to laugh out loud, read 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' by David Sedaris.
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Tommy Metthe, Photographer
Abilene | TX | | Posted: 4:14 PM on 07.28.02
->> I'm assuming since you go to Western you already own or have read Dave LaBelle's The Great Picture Hunt, if you haven't you should, it is a must read for every photojournalist
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Joshua Brown, Student/Intern, Assistant
Bowling Green | KY | USA | Posted: 5:16 PM on 07.28.02
->> yeah its great, wish i could have had him for class a few years ago.
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 10:55 PM on 07.28.02
->> Joshua,

Since my ideas of reading "Good Literature" were started at a young age by reading "The Baseball Life of Sandy Koufax" and "Ball Four" (my seventh grade English teacher Mrs. Poier had absolutely no idea what was inside the 420 pages of Jim Bouton's classic) I will stick to suggesting a few older sports photography books that are pure classics and can be found online quite easily.

Look for ANYTHING by Robet Riger. I first became aware of Riger in the late 1980's when he was a frequent guest on Roy Firestone's original "Mazda Sports Look" show on ESPN. Riger would be on the show every few weeks with "Robert Riger's Journal", a collection of photographs he had shot at a recent game.

Riger was originally an artist who's sketches were first published in Sports Illustrated in 1954. Riger then became a photographer and published his first classic book entitled "The Pros" about the NFL in 1960. This is a must have book that sits on my shelf after Peter Read Miller told me I had to get it.

Riger followed that up with another classic "The American Diamond" in 1965 which contains some amazing text written by Branch Rickey. Both of these books also contain some wonderful sketches by Riger. He was an amazing man who also was a producer/director for ABC's Wide World of Sports in the early 1960's.

Riger's last book "The Sports Photography of Robert Riger" was published by Random House in 1995 shortly after his death. This book of Riger's greatest hits is probably the easiest and cheapest of them all to find.

There you have it. Some older classics from an era when not many books about sports photography were published.

I will finish by agreeing with many others who have nice things to say about the Nick Nolte classic "Under Fire." This movie came out around the time I really got into photography in the early 1980's. My good buddy Joe Gosen and I couldn't get enough of this film on VHS. We were so thrilled that Nolte seemed to actually hold his Nikon F2 like a real photographer. We also loved to quote his great line, "I don't take sides, I take pictures."

Great stuff. You can never have too many books to inspire you, that's why I hit the local book stores several times a week and am dreading the next time I move, because that will mean I have to move all my books. But, it's a fun problem to have.
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Trevor Collens, Photographer
WA | Australia | Australia | Posted: 4:57 AM on 07.29.02
->> Have a look at "The Bang-Bang Club" by Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva, who are a couple of South African photographers who covered the final days of apartheid and the violence that plauged the townships. A great book by photographers so committed to the profession that risking their lives for a great picture became an everyday event, and the emotional toll on their lives.
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Tom Main, Photographer
Falkirk | Scotland | SCOTLAND | Posted: 11:32 AM on 07.29.02
->> Oddly enough I only have one sports orientated book on my shelf!! Anyway top ten as below in no particular order:-

Scoop - Evelyn Waugh (Printed in 1938 and still sums up the UK press)
Our man in Havana - Graham Greene
The Rum Diary - Hunter S Thompson
Ansel Adams - An Autobiography ( and I still can't do landscape)
Magnum - 50 years at the front line
Chickenhawk - Robert Mason (How to fly where you shouldn't, I've read this three times almost 4)
The Sorrow of War - Bao Ninh ( the other side of Vietnam)

As for picture books ( I've more of these since they're easier to read)

Eamonn McCabe - Photographer ( the Guardian's sports photographer and latterly pic editor)
Harry Benson - 50 years in Pictures. ( Well he is a Scotsman !!)
Rolling Stone - The Photographs
Cyclops - Albert Watson ( Another Scotsman & Genius)

I've loads more but this'll do for now

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Mike Morones, Photographer
Ashland | VA | USA | Posted: 6:50 AM on 07.30.02
->> I guess I'll throw in my picks as well...

William Albert Allard's Portraits of America
James L Stanfield's Eye of the Beholder
Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
Any and all of the Best of Photo-J books
Dispatches by Michael... forget his last name. It is a somewhat rambling yet pretty compelling book about his experiences as a correspondent in Vietnam

I'm sure there's more but my brain fails to function this early! -Mike
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Tom Main, Photographer
Falkirk | Scotland | SCOTLAND | Posted: 1:45 PM on 07.30.02
->> Mike

Michael Herr for Dispatches

Also another good one on the same theme but from a soldier's point of view is Philip Caputo's 'A roumour of war'.
Martin Bell - In Harms Way ( BBC tv's news reporter, always wore a white suit!) excellent
Tim Page - Page after Page ( Brit photographer in Vietnam )

Still can't understand after reading these books that I shoot sport !!!

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Jim McNay, Photographer
Santa Barbara | CA | USA | Posted: 6:34 PM on 07.30.02
->> Joshua – Good for you in picking up on what Maria has to say.

The people who are responding to your question have offered excellent suggestions. Here are some others from the list I give my picture story class here at Brooks Institute of Photography. I have taken out the duplications where my suggestions overlapped with those of other folks.

Hope you find many here you like.

Jim McNay

After beginning photography, moving into photojournalism: (This gives the basics of it all.)

Photojournalism: The Professionals’ Approach, by Kenneth Kobre, 4th edition.

W. Eugene Smith: Shadow and Substance, by Jim Hughes, published in 1989 by McGraw Hill. The leading biography of this photographer

W. Eugene Smith: Let Truth Be the Prejudice, by Ben Maddow, published in l985 by Aperture.

Robert Capa, by Richard Whelan, published in 1985 by Alfred A. Knopf. The leading biography of this photographer

Slightly Out of Focus, by Robert Capa, republished in 1999 by The Modern Library

Heart of Spain: Robert Capa’s Photographs of the Spanish Civil War , published in 1999 by Aperture.

Unreasonable Behaviour: An Autobiography of Don McCullin. An excellent look at what it takes to photograph in war zones and similar hot spots) published in 1992 by Knopf

My War Gone By, I Miss It So, by Anthony Loyd. Published in 2000 by Atlantic Mnthly Press. This is a no-holds-barred account of the war in Bosnia by someone who was a novice photojournalist at the time he was covering this conflict.

Get the Picture, by John Morris, formerly of Magnum and LIFE magazine, published in 1998 by Random House.

Life Photographers: What They Saw, by John Loengard, published in 1998 by Little, Brown & Company. Stories of these photographers and how LIFE magazine worked in the early days.

Gordon Parks - Voices in the Mirror: An Autobiography - published in 1990 and 1992 by Doubleday and Anchor Books. Paperback is available.

Fire in the Wind: The Life of Dickey Chapelle. She was a woman photographer who worked for National Geographic and other publications and who was killed in Vietnam) by Roberta Ostroff, published in 1992 by Ballentine Books

Margaret Bourke-White, by Vicki Goldberg, published in l986 by Harper and Row. Paperback is available. This is the leading biography of this photographer.

Dorothea Lange: A Photographer’s Life, by Milton Meltzer, published in 1978 by Farrar, Straus, Giroux

Bird by Bird, by Ann Lamott, about what it takes to be a creative person (writer, photographer, etc.)

Shooter, by David Hume Kennerly, published in 1979 by Newsweek Books.

PhotoOp, by David Hume Kennerly, published in 1995 by University of Texas Press.

Truth Needs No Ally, by Howard Chapnick, former head of Black Star picture agency, published in 1994 by The University of Missouri Press. Paperback is available. This books is an excellent guide to the Second Half of Your Career, particularly when you consider magazine or agency work or approaching The Big Dogs in New York.

The Photographic Essay by William Albert Allard, published in 1989 by Little, Brown. Though this photographer uses the word “essay” in this title, much of his writing is describing how one does a “picture story.” Good stuff by a long time National Geographic photographer.

Doing Documentary Work by Robert Coles, published in 1998 by the New York Public Library Lectures in Humanities. Covers all kinds of documentary storytelling and story gathering techniques. Not a quick read, but many ethical issues are up on the table in this book by a Pulitzer Prize winning Harvard scholar. Also Very Good Stuff for the serious documentary storyteller.
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
Amherst | MA | USA | Posted: 6:46 PM on 07.30.02
->> Josh:

I forgot to add non-photo books to my list. Some of mine are art related, but some are not:

-Johnathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach (travels with me everywhere)
-Flight of the Intruder - Stephen Coonts (sp?)
-Macbeth - Bill Shakespear (I know, his name is Willy)
-Anthem - Ann Rand
-Various books of Monet's work. (although he is a painter I love his use of light)
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Aaron Johnson, Photographer
Loves Park | IL | U.S.A. | Posted: 10:38 PM on 07.30.02
->> Hello all.

Here are my favorites from my bookshelf...

Robert Capa-The Definitive Collection
Robert Capa- by Richard Whelan
Capturing the Moment-Barton Silverman
Sports!-Neil Leifer
The Best of Leifer-Neil Leifer
Any photo book by Walter Iooss

And I third the motion on "Salvador". If you buy it on dvd, it comes with a whole lot of extra stuff.
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Tom Dahlin, Photographer
St. Louis Park | MN | USA | Posted: 11:31 PM on 07.30.02
->> OK .. I’ve just got to add my two cents here…

Brad’s comments on Robert Riger are right on. His art and photographs are truly inspiring. One important title missed is ‘The Athlete’, which contains writings, drawings and photographs. It was published in 1980. Riger also published a series of ‘Best Plays of the Year’ in the early 1960’s. Finally, don’t forget ‘Run to Daylight’, which was illustrated by him.

Other good shooters from that era are Barton Silverman (NY Times) and Tony Spina (Detroit Free Press). Both of these guys have good photo books published.

For baseball, I love Ron Modra’s ‘Reflections of the Game’, Iooss’s ‘Diamond Dreams’ (actually anything by Iooss is worth having).

For general info on sports shooting, Powell and Duffy’s ‘Sports Photography’ and Mickey Palmer’s ‘Complete Book of Sports Photography’ were good books published in the early 1980’s. They are dated now in that the equipment seems ancient, but the techniques are none the less instructive. (Powell and Duffy went on to form Allsport, and I saw Palmer’s name mentioned in a recent SportsShooter).

And finally, I have to plug my all time favorite youth sports series, the Chip Hilton books by Clair Bee. There are 23 or so of these, and I’ve collected most of them. They’re fun to collect and re-read, and bring back that good feeling of what sports should be all about.

I’ve purchased almost all of these books used. I regularly haunt the several good used book stores here in the Minneapolis area. I also love the Advanced Book Exchange ( for locating these gems. Do a search on Robert Riger or Clair Bee and you’ll see several titles pop up.

Happy reading!!

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Joshua Brown, Student/Intern, Assistant
Bowling Green | KY | USA | Posted: 3:03 AM on 07.31.02
->> This is turning into quite the list i have written down to take to the bookstore! Earlier posts talked about the movie"Under Fire". Did any of you see "Harrision's Flowers" that came out this spring? I thought it was well done. and they also know how to hold their cameras. lol. Another current movie is "Road to Perdition" with Paul Newman and Tom Hanks. Not only is the acting great but the lighting in EVERY scene is AMAZING. Highly recommended. But there i go talkin about movies and pictures....keep the book list coming....
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Rick Rowell, Photographer
Canoga Park | CA | Usa | Posted: 1:32 PM on 07.31.02
->> Looks like just about everything's been recommended. There is however one more that I would recommend. Armed with cameras, The American Military Photographers of World War 2.
Author: Peter Maslowski
Publiser: Free Press/Macmillan,Inc.
Great storys about all types of combat photography still and motion and the men who risked their lives to get the shot. Some of these military photographers became the best photojounalists in the world after the war.
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Douglas Tesner, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gallup | NM | USA | Posted: 2:19 PM on 07.31.02
->> It may not be considered good literature, but I recommend Western Kentucky University “Talisman”, your year book. I was given a copy of the 1979 book in 1980 and still find myself pulling it off the shelf for some inspiration from time to time.
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Justin Fowler, Student/Intern, Photographer
Bowling Green | KY | USA | Posted: 3:12 PM on 07.31.02
->> I'll second Douglas's mention of our Talisman as a source of inspiration. Hell thats why I wouldn't let them get thrown away when Morse's office was getting moved. There are about 10-15 of them sitting in lab underneath the light table that we busted last year. :) And they are chuck'd full of WKU PJ's work, so you know its good. :)

Oh and if any WKU alum are reading this the Talisman is coming back this year!
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
Amherst | MA | USA | Posted: 4:11 PM on 07.31.02
->> Looking for a movie? Find the impossible to locate movie "Frankie's House." Frankie's house is based on photographer Time Page, and a few others, and their work in Vietnam. Excellent flick, produced by an Australian company, and impossible to locate.
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Douglas Tesner, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gallup | NM | USA | Posted: 4:21 PM on 07.31.02
->> Justin. if anyone wants to throw them out, contact me. I will buy them. I attended Syracuse and our professor though highly enough of the publication to use it in our education. I think highly enough of it to tell and show others it.
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Ken Babbitt, Photographer
Marshfield | MA | USA | Posted: 7:36 PM on 07.31.02
->> This list,at least from my standpoint,has to begin with "Legends of the Field" by Ozzie Sweet. It is a great collection of Ozzie's shots from the 50's and 60's. Also,"Baseball's Golden Age-The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon, and "The Game That Was-The George Brace Baseball Photo Collection" These are the guys that got the ball rolling for all of us that shoot pro sports,and none of them should be forgotten !! Just my opinion.
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 1:49 AM on 08.01.02
->> Ken Babbitt has made some great suggestions above. When we get the ball rolling on our project to get photographers voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame all three of the above-mentioned pioneers (Ozzie Sweet, Charles Conlon and George Brace) will be on the short list to be inducted.

Tom Dahlin also made some great suggestions. It was especially fun to see him mention Mickey Palmer's book. I work in the Bay Area alongside Mickey at the ballpark all the time and had lunch with him and Don Smith before today's Indians @ A's game in Oakland. Mickey is a legend and has done it all. His book is definitely a keeper. He even signed my copy a few years ago!

A few other titles I would like to mention that are out of print but always available online:

1. Photographing Sports: Capturing the Excitement of People in Action, by John Zimmerman, Mark Kauffman and Neil Leifer. An Alskog Book, 1975.

This is a wonderful how-to book that also contains all of their greatest hits. Lotsa fun to see what these three kings of our profession could do when they collaborate on a book.

2. Great Action Photography, Ebury Press, 1983.

This classic contains Q and A interviews and portfolios of such shooters as Tony Duffy, Neil Leifer and Walter Iooss Jr. But the highlight for me is the chapter on the great Andy Hayt. The picture of a young Andy, in his early 20's, on page 125 is worth the price of the book alone. Andy was already on staff at Sports Illustrated and offers some great insight on his job in the interview.

This list could go on forever...I am sure I will check back in later with a few more suggestions.
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PJ Halper, Photographer
Beaufort | NC | | Posted: 1:42 PM on 08.01.02
->> kinda scares me- I didn't see too many of you listing Business books, Marketing,sales,financial, how to win freinds and influence people type of positive thinking books... I like Lee iacocca,Donald books how too's , but honestly I read more magazines than books-INC, entrepenuer, money, forbes..etc...
I too have the usual photography and photojournalsim books....but can't help but think - if we don't feed our mind with business books we will have a hard time being in business...and staying in business....
I also keep a few on relationship skills- seems we have a high divrce rate in this profession....?????
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Joshua Brown, Student/Intern, Assistant
Bowling Green | KY | USA | Posted: 12:47 PM on 08.22.02
->> As a result of your recommendations I ordered "Under Fire" and "Salvador" yesterday off Amazon. They are offering them as a package together(DVD). Probably going to have a PJ movie night soon.
Also test drove a piece of crap KIA and got a certificate for the "Lord of the Rings" . LOL
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Matt Hevezi, Photographer
PSC 557 Box 914 | FPO AP | USA | Posted: 1:13 PM on 08.22.02
->> Truth Needs No Ally ... a must read for sure. Not sports related, but very heavy and good
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Jack Gruber, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 7:32 PM on 08.22.02
->> Not a sports book but my favorite read in the last 5 years is 'From Beriut to Jerusalem' by two time Pulitzer guy of the NY Times Thomas Friedman. Pretty much a basic textbook on the Middle East and a follow of the guys life during a remarkable time in the Middle East.
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Jeffrey Haderthauer, Photographer, Student/Intern
Norman | OK | USA | Posted: 7:54 PM on 08.22.02
->> Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina

By Horst Faas from the AP and Tim Page

The best photobook I own.
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Jeffrey Haderthauer, Photographer, Student/Intern
Norman | OK | USA | Posted: 7:56 PM on 08.22.02
->> Oh, and Brad is right... Ball Four is a modern classic
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Jason Burfield, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 10:22 AM on 10.05.02
->> Well, I know that at least some of these books are already in the 'bookshelf' area of our new 'Educate Yourself' section. I think everyone should head over there and make some comments and leave some ratings on your favorite (and not-so-favorite) books.

You can find the section here:
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Richard Uhlhorn, Photographer
Chelan | WA | USA | Posted: 8:20 PM on 10.10.02
->> Interesting stuff, but I have to agree that my favorite books entail photojournalism. They are:
"Delcorso's Gallery" by Phillip Caputo
"A Rumor of War" by Caputo, who by the way, is now writing some great stuff for National Geographic Adventure Magazine.
"Dispatches" by Michael Herr who wrote for Esquire during Vietnam

When it comes to movies about photojournalism, I have to give my vote to:
"A Year of Living Dangerously" with Mel Gibson as an Aussie reporter who hooks up with an Indonesian photographer. It is an absolute must see.
"Salvador" is also a gritty look at why many of us don't want to go to some places in this world to cover war.
"Under Fire" with Nick Nolte is another favorite, but definitely more mainstream than either "A Year of Living Dangerously" or "Salvador."

There are many, many fine books on the art of photojournalism, sports photography and photography in general that are excellent. Reading and looking at other photographers work is a way of keeping up on the photographic world.
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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 11:10 PM on 10.10.02
->> I've almost run out of room in my book case, but here are a few photo books, and books in general that I regularly pick up to look at:

- "Americans We" by Eugene Richards
- "Cocaine Blue, Cocaine True" by Eugene Richards
- "Black Star: 40 years of photojournalism"
- "The Company we Keep" Joel Sartore
- "Shots in the Dark: True Crime Pictures" By: Gail Buckland
- "ASMP: Professional Business Practices in Photography"
- the AP style book
- Websters Third New International Dictionary (the 3 volume, 9600 page one)

Books that would cause life to cease to exist if I didn't own:

- Douglas Adams "The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe"
- The entire Bloom County cartoon collection.
- The entire Calvin and Hobbes cartoon collection.

It's also my opinion that the more you understand about ridiculously complex subjects, like physics; the easier it will be to quickly understand lifes simpler problems, like if you should order a Black and Tan or a Half and Half. So going along with what Maria Mann originally told you about reading, I tend to regularly purchase books like:

- "The Psychology of Love"
- "Gray's Anatomy"
- "How Race is lived in America"
- Several books on the Unified Field Theory
- "The Almanac of American Politics"
- "Consumer psychology for Marketing"

... All sorts of stuff that usually only dorks read. I feel that if I can ever explain the Unified Field Theory in 20 words or less, I could then figure anything out. :) Don't limit your education to school... Continue to exercise your mind.
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Octavian Cantilli, Student/Intern
Gainesville | FL | United States | Posted: 10:31 PM on 03.12.07
->> Wow, what a list. You can't go wrong picking up any of these books.

My "to read list" just got a lot longer.

A few more I've enjoyed include:

Photo related....
Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
Photo Portfolio Success by John Kaplan
the Photoshop CS2 book by Scott Kelby

Not directly photo related:
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
The Illustrated A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking
Science and Technology Encyclopedia by The University of Chicago Press

Everyone seems to be saying the same, read, read
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