Books of or about photography for a precocious teenager
December 14, 2018 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Help me, photographers! My excellent nephew is a very academically gifted kid who hates school and most organized activities...except photography. I want to give him a good photography book but that’s not my art form of choice. Details within!

His photography is mostly digital. He’s taking a class I don’t know much about. I’m looking for:

- a photography instruction book that is good for an amateur with some solid technical knowledge and access to a professional instructor, and/or

- a really good book of photos of abandoned places. Our interests intersect on this and this would be fun to give him.

I would like to know about books you have used or read - for general ideas I can google as well as anyone else! Thank you!
posted by centrifugal to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I liked the National Geographic Field Guide. Apparently there is also a version "for kids" but I used the one I linked above in middle school and found it helpful.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 6:01 PM on December 14, 2018

Todd Hido doesn't shoot abandoned places, but his work carries the same sense of emptiness, with an eerie exploration of what makes a place lived in or feel like home. His book from 2014 Todd Hido on Landscapes, Interiors, and the Nude is not only a fine collection of his work, but he includes his musings on creativity and his process.

He's a contemporary photographer, so if your nephew digs him he can start to follow him on Instagram and check out his current exhibits. Contemporary work has an extra thrill of being made right here, right now in the world we all inhabit. Sometimes art can feel a little distant when it's made "way back when."

The strong caveat to this is that his work in the last few years has gotten really porn-y with sad looking women, so unclear how old this nephew is, but age warning applies.
posted by missmary6 at 6:09 PM on December 14, 2018

a really good book of photos of abandoned places.

Clarence John Laughlin. I have his Aperture book and it is stunning.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:43 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Andrew Moore, Detroit Disassembled
posted by xammerboy at 8:47 PM on December 14, 2018

For a book, you may want to try John Berger's Ways of Seeing. It's not strictly about photography, but it is chock full of ideas about how we read pictures that are very interesting.
posted by xammerboy at 9:14 PM on December 14, 2018

Sleeping by the Mississippi by Alec Soth
Raised by Wolves by Jim Goldberg
Nth John Berger

Would pass on the instruction book unless he specifically asked for one, I'm betting he already has one.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:27 AM on December 15, 2018

Ah, here we go. Richard Misrach - Destroy This Memory
Maybe also William Eggleson and Steven Shore.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:34 AM on December 15, 2018

If he's also interested in photography outside the digital domain, I purchased the guidebook to an exhibit at the National Gallery of Art a few years ago: In the Darkroom: Photographic Processes Before the Digital Age. It's fascinating, and there are a few things in there he could start to mess around with on his own (probably resorting to Google after reading about them in the book).
posted by fedward at 9:36 AM on December 15, 2018

Have a look at the tutorial videos on this channel. The authors have written several books which may be the right choice. They seem like good teachers.
posted by conrad53 at 4:01 PM on December 15, 2018

"The Photographer's Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone." Great book. If I had to own one book about portraits and taking photographs of *people* this would be it.

If he's go an off-camera flash (which is a game changer), I'd recommend "The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow."

For more of a beginner, I'd recommend "Complete Digital Photography, 8th" (to be clear, this book is used in college courses, so it's not a kids book or anything).
posted by el io at 12:11 AM on December 22, 2018

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