Book review #4: Joel Meyerowtiz – How I make photographs

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Image of book cover - Book review - Joel Meyerowitz - How I make photographs

Book review verdict: Add it to your bookshelf

Published by: Laurence King Publishing Ltd (2019)

ISBN978-1-78627-580-6

Price: £14.99

Article type: Book review

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Image of book cover - Book review - Joel Meyerowitz - How I make photographs

This book is a companion to world-renowned photographer Joel Meyerowitz’s Masters of Photography course.

With only 128 pages this book is by no means a weighty tome, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in inspirational content.

The book is broken down into a series of bite-sized chapters, making it easy to dip in and out of the book to cover any of the key topics.

Meyerowitz is at home on the street with a camera, and this book reflects his comfort there. While there are many books available on street photography, none can question the authority of the author on this subject.

The book is in no way prescriptive however. Meyerowitz makes it abundantly clear that the reader, the photographer, is the artist, and that the artist must find their own path. He simply lays out what has worked for him over the decades he has been in practice. As the title makes clear, the book is about how Meyerowitz makes photographs.

He touches on a range of topics, from finding one’s artistic identity, through to editing images. In between, he provides key nuggets of information, designed to inspire the reader.

He uses many of his own images, describing, in many cases, his thought processes as he created the final image, often waiting patiently for the components of his image to fall into place.

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Of course, the author’s years of practice translate to him being able to visualize early, something that takes many of us years to achieve. He also offers tips on how to engineer the street image, by subtly influencing the path his subjects might take.

Meyerowitz is much more than a street photographer though. He includes images in this book that demonstrate and confirm his ability to appreciate and capture the beauty of light, along with his consummate skill in creating environmental portraits, and his ability to win people over to get the shots he wants.

This last attribute is perhaps one of his key attributes, he can both blend in with the crowd to achieve a degree of anonymity, and engage easily with people he wants to photograph; he is a people person.

The book, designed as it is to offer nuggets of inspiration, rather than as a theory-heavy or prescriptive text, is an easy read that offers a great opportunity to learn from, and be inspired by, a master of his craft.

The book is reasonably priced, particularly when you factor in the discounts available from the publisher, but there are still cheaper options available. Make sure to shop around online to get the best deal.

Remember that reading books on your chosen subject counts toward continuing professional development (CPD) activities and hours. To find out about other CPD activities, please visit our CPD section.

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