Can You Be Taught To See?

As a photography student at Ryerson in Toronto, one of our textbooks was John Szarkowski’s “Looking At Photographs”.
C’mon. I know what I see, and how I feel about it. Either I am affected or not. I look at photographs all the time. Right?
Au contrere, this arrogant, young, student found out.
Grasshopper needed a little bit of the old wax on, wax off, if you get my drift.

Sure, being raised as an photo assistant in NY advertising was one education. Even the book “The Photographers Eye”, a gift from the guy I was working for, Steve Nichols gave me another perspective.
But seeing a photograph on as many levels as possible, with no BS backstory, nor imagined symbolism, now THAT is something we all need.
And here is one of the best examples we’ve found in one volume.


Taking a selection of 100 photographs from the Museum of Modern Arts massive, fantastic, collection, the maestro himself, John Szarkowski, long time photo curator of the museum, gives you one page, bite size, insights into the photographs of the cornerstone masters of photography.
The images selected are not necessarily the iconic works from these people. But somehow that is one of the critical points in the book. If you were exposed to an image that exists somewhere in your subconscious, you are predisposed to a vision or perception.
Not a bad thing, but to get the most out of this book, you should free your mind a bit.
Even if the photographers names are familiar, the vehicles to encapsulate their work, may not be. That helps open up the old grey matter.
I cannot imagine how much thought went into each page. As concise a breakdown of the reasons for the photographs inclusion in this group of 100, is the gold here.
The insight, historical significance, technical info, and overall breathing in of the images deep qualities, gave this student a whole new set of eyes.
The enhancement of my photographic life was made a bit richer by this book, and thankfully it has been reprinted.
If you ever wanted to get a crash course in photography and a further appreciation of the masters, get this book.
My original copy had a lot more of the photographers still living at publication.
Sadly, we have lost a lot since then.

And you don’t need to read it all at once. Read about a few, then maybe explore the rest of their work online. It is a perfect hub, for the spokes to grow from.
There is a funny thing about books or researching online; there is always a reference to another part of the story, that can get you clicking or buying books, for the full deal.
This book can be that starter.
We’re just happy it’s been reprinted.

This book is one we love to give as a gift, to hopefully enhance one’s appreciation of photography, and deeper still, help you look at things a little bit differently.

OK, how about this: It’s this weeks giveaway!

You may know the deal by now. You must be signed up for the NEWSLETTER to be eligible. Details on how to be the person we send the book to absolutely free, are included only in that email.
So sign on by Tuesday at Midnight, and the email will arrive in your inbox at 9:00 AM PST.

And for everyone who checks this book out, or maybe already has, let us know what you think of it.

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