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Saelon's Bookshelves

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General Art Musings / Monographs and Collections/ Reference and Technique

Recommended Reading and Reference Materials, for Fine Art Photographers (more books to be added soon).

The Naked and the Lens
by Louis Benjamin
This is a very well done book published in early 2010 by Focal Point Press. I'd wholeheartedly recommend it even if I weren't included in it! It is a very comprehensive book covering a range of subject matter, including some history of nude fine art photography and how it fits into the context of fine art photography in general. It includes lots of information on techniques and methods relevant to photographing the nude in a fine art context - perfect for anyone who wishes to make their first forays into the field but also good for anyone wishing to improve their skills. These tips cover everything from basic setup and lighting on through digital darkroom workflow. There are many wonderful examples offered throughout the book, from many different artists. The author kindly included one of my images on page 12 and four more along with an interview on pages 215-220.

Nudes (Camera Craft)
by Anna Henley
This lovely book was published in June 2003 by AVA Publishing. It's part of a series of "how to" books. It features the work of quite a few photographers, describing how they made each photograph. The photos are grouped into sections like "Working With Light", "The Male Nude", "The Female Nude", "The Commercial Nude", "The Artistic Nude", etc. There is a lot of really good information here, and the photographers all share a lot of their philosophy of photographing the nudes as well. Four photographers (including me!) were chosen for a special section with interviews. Eight of my images were chosen for this book, including the cover.

Defending Pornography
by Nadine Strossen
A nationally renowned speaker and debater, NADINE STROSSEN is Professor of Law at New York Law School and President of the American Civil Liberties Union. This book is a new edition, with a new forward and epilogue. Ms. Strossen has included one of my images as the frontispiece, and uses my artwork as an example of some of the styles of art that would be banned by many anti-internet porn laws.

From the Back Cover of Defending Pornography
—"Defending Pornography is valuable precisely because of its lucid, broad exploration of the long debate over pornography. Strossen makes the case that censorship, not pornography, hurts women, and in the end...this book could spell the end of Dworkin's and MacKinnon's power over the public forum, and open the debate to more of this kind of common sense, which it sorely needs."—

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of ARTMAKING
by David Bayles and Ted Orland
This book will always be near the top of any book list I might make. Just take a look at the reader reviews it has garnered at Amazon.com to see why, or just go buy it - it is wonderful!

The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes
by Christopher James
An excellent standard text for all the alternative photographic processes, this book can be used for anything from figuring out "how did they DO that?" to learning how to do it yourself, and do it well.

The Camera
by Ansel Adams
The Camera, together with The Negative and The Print, comprise the Ansel Adams Photography Series, the very best of all books printed on the art of black and white photography. This series is especially useful for very serious, technically-oriented sorts of photographers, but anyone with an interest in crafting a fine photograph will learn from this series.

Creative Elements: Darkroom Techniques for Landscape Photography
by Eddie Ephraums
Mr. Ephraums shares a great wealth of knowledge of darkroom techniques. He takes the reader step-by-step through his processes in producing 20 of his wonderful black and white landscapes. This book is more than worth it's price just for the toning instructions and fomulae alone.

Ruth Bernhard: The Eternal Body
A Collection of Fifty Nudes

Ruth Bernhard is my idol when it comes to photographing nudes. She has an incredible eye for the perfect play of light on the body. Her nudes are gentle nudes, with obvious empathy for her models. She describes the process: "For me, the creation of a photograph is experienced as a heightened emotional response, most akin to poetry and music, each image the culmination of a compelling impulse I cannot deny." I believe her, as this is an apt description of my experience in viewing them.

Examples : The Making of 40 Photographs
by Ansel Adams
Did you ever wonder how in the world Ansel Adams managed to get a particular photograph? In this book he throws aside the usual reticence photographers have in talking about the nuts and bolts of how they made an image and gives you all the details he can remember - which is generally quite a lot of information. This is priceless information for photographers to learn by!

Edward Weston: The Flame of Recognition
Weston's photographs accompanied by excerpts from the Daybooks and Letters, edited by Nancy Newhall.
An Aperture monograph of one of the greatest photographers of all. This book includes a fairly representative sample of Edward Weston's photography, spanning a great number of years and a large range of content as well.

Gradient Light: The Art and Craft of Using Variable Contrast Paper
by Eddie Ephraums
Mr. Ephraums again takes the reader step-by-step through his processes in producing many of his wonderful black and white landscapes, but this time the focus is primarily on how to optimize the print tonalities by taking fullest advantage of variable contrast paper.

Graphis: Nudes
by Annette Crandall (Editor), Heinke Jenssen (Editor), Michael O'Connor (Editor), B. Martin Pedersen (Editor), Shintaro Shiratori (Photographer), Robert Farber (Photographer)
A collection showcasing a diverse range of styles in nude photography, including some of the world's most respected photographers. Contributors include Herb Ritts, Joyce Tenneson, Robert Farber, Sheila Metzner, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others. Over 200 photos!

Historic Photographic Processes
A Guide to Creating Handmade Photographic Images

by Richard Farber
Another excellent book with step-by-step instructions for many of these processes. This is the newest of these books to make it to my bookshelf, and it has a bit more current information on safety and a bit more detailed recipes.

Holding Venus
by Keith Carter
Keith Carter has a number of wonderful photo books out there, and I'd recommend any of them - but this one more than any other. The photographs are wondrous and mysterious, with bits of magic and mythology. The reproductions are beautiful, and the book itself is very finely crafted.

The Keepers of Light
A History & Working Guide to Early Photographic Processes

by William Crawford
An excellent reference book that beautifully blends the history of these processes, the descriptions of how they are done, and reproduced examples of them, while also describing and illustrating historical styles.

Large Format Nature Photography
by Jack Dykinga
This book provides a very personal look at how one marvelous nature photographer works in the field with a 4x5 camera. It is not an all-inclusive manual on using a large format camera but rather is like taking a mental workshop with the photographer - he shows you his photographs, explains what he was trying to do and what methods he used to achieve the results. I'm a huge fan of Dykinga's gorgeous desert landscapes!

Lewis Carroll's Adventures in Wonderland:
Illustrated by Maggie Taylor
Maggie Taylor's images capture the dreams I wish I was having! This book was published in 2008 by Modern Book Gallery of Palo Alto, now Themes+Projects of San Francisco. It is an exquisite book in all ways.

Making Digital Negatives for Contact Printing
A Step By Step Guide To Affordable Enlarged Negatives For Platinum, Silver, And Other Printing Processes

by Dan Burkholder
The title really does describe the book very well (and yes, affordable really means affordable). A new edition is availale but only on DVD. I prefer to work from paper. By the way, Dan Burkholder is a truly extraordinary artist, as well as being the author of a very methodical and useful text.

The Negative
by Ansel Adams
The Negative, together with The Camera and The Print, comprise the Ansel Adams Photography Series, the very best of all books printed on the art of black and white photography. This series is especially useful for very serious, technically-oriented sorts of photographers, but anyone with an interest in crafting a fine photograph will learn from this series.

Notes on a Shared Landscape
by David Bayles
An extraordinarily beautiful collection of essays and images by the author; thought-provoking musings on our relationship with the western landscape.

The Print
by Ansel Adams
The Print, together with The Camera and The Negative , comprise the Ansel Adams Photography Series, the very best of all books printed on the art of black and white photography. This series is especially useful for very serious, technically-oriented sorts of photographers, but anyone with an interest in crafting a fine photograph will learn from this series.

Alfred Stieglitz (Aperture Masters of Photography)
by Dorothy Norman (Contributor), Alfred Stieglitz (Photographer)
A small selection of 41 of Stieglitz' more iconic images, with informative text provided by Dorothy Norman, a close associate of the photographer.

Steichen's Legacy:
Photographs, 1895-1973
Edward Steichen (Photographer), Joanna Steichen
Edward Steichen was a visionary determined to show that photography was an art form as well as a craft, at a time when few recognized its artistic potential. This is a marvelous retrospective of his work, spanning seven decades and many genres, beautifully reproduced in a well-crafted book. Worth every penny.

Uelsmann: Process and Perception
by Jerry Uelsmann
Uelsmann is one of America's most influential contemporary photographers, a master of darkroom manipulation rivaled by none. In one section of the book he narrates his own creative process in a visual account of a single day's work in the darkroom, from first thoughts, through multiple revisions and on through the final image. In another he shows the individual images and describes how they are put together before finally showing the final composite image. The book also includes a portfolio of 90 of Uelsmann's images.

Uelsmann: Yosemite
by Jerry Uelsmann
Another marvelous book by America's master of darkroom manipulation! All Yosemite, all wonders of the mind of Uelsmann.

The View From The Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way In An Uncertain World
by Ted Orland
A great companion piece to the Art & Fear book listed above, this book is sort of a sequel - in the good sense.