The Photographer’s Eye (By Michael Freeman)

This book was a souvenir from a photography course that I took up several years ago, while I was still a teacher. I cannot remember much of the course – aperture size, white balance etc – but I do remember feeling very happy about receiving this book as part of the course materials.

This book on photography is quite an interesting read. At the same time that the author explains the different photography concepts and techniques, there are also many pictures for readers to refer to, which enhances and eases the reader’s ability to understand what was conveyed to them. Throughout the book, the author emphasized the possibility of approaching a subject differently, depending on the photographer’s intention and the situation. Hence, there is no right or wrong way to capture a scenery or an object, as long as it helps to bring out the message dynamically and effectively. As the saying goes: ‘A picture paints a thousand words’. A dynamic photo is therefore not only one which tells a story effortlessly but also one which encourages the wandering eyes to yearn for more beyond its borders.

One interesting point that I’ve learnt from this book is that the word ‘Gestalt’ came from the German word ‘gestellt’ – to mean something that has been placed together to form a holistic composition. Based on the Gestalt theory, the sum is composed of its individual elements; in photography terms, this means that the choice or elimination of even the slightest element goes a long way to create the value of the image as a whole. Human beings perceive mistakes with minimal effort and are able to detect any sense of imbalance quite effortlessly. It is perhaps this reason that makes capturing breathtaking pictures one of the most challenging pursuits of photographers.

The writer has shown that taking good pictures is an art form in itself that must be mastered through experience and experiments. The many dimensions that need to be considered when taking pictures – from the careful deliberation of the object of interest and its surrounding areas, to the perceptive observation of lines, circles and array of colours – makes photo-taking an exceptionally onerous yet stimulating hobby to have; it allows one to realise the differences between taking a picture and capturing a moment in time.

All in all, this is a definite good read for beginners and even intermediate photographers who are keen to stretch their photographic artistry and digital skills further.

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