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Lens on life is a truthful and interesting look at documentary photography. Through documentary photography, the photographer aims to let the photos tell a story about a person, place or object and give the viewer a feel of what that object, person or place is about.
This book is a recommended read for anyone looking to go into documentary photography and create a new documentary project. Award winning documentary photographer Stephanie Calabrese Roberts guides us through the magical world of documentary photography in a way that makes it accessible for newcomers yet is still informative to experienced photographers.
We are introduced to seven different renowned documentary photographers and their work, what their approach was for selected shots and why the shots they took tell a story. These hugely talented photographers share an insight into what makes their photography work, something that is hugely useful to budding photographers of documentary work.
Stephanie talks us through using different techniques of taking photos to get that truly representational image. She looks at exploring your environment, avoiding the expected shots and capturing that spontaneous moment that may never happen again. She has included interactive sections, getting the reader to write down what the see, think and assume about chosen images and the people within them. This really gets you thinking about what photos mean and how they convey this, something essential to documentary photography.
She also includes project planning pages to enable brainstorming and ideas conception whilst taking in all this valuable information.
As well as including some very special images from a variety of documentary greats, the book gets behind the lens to look at what steps the photographer took to achieve the image, and hints and tips to help you improve your own work. It also tells a short biography of the photographer, to give an insight into what drives them and how their minds work, as documentary photography is all about understanding.
Overall, Lens on life is a great and varied read for anybody interested in starting their own projects, or who is simply curious about what the world beyond the one we see every day holds.