Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe

It’s a pleasant surprise to find a book that’s not only lovely to look at, but can teach you a little something, too. Art Wolfe is a master photographer. Trained as an artist, but with a passion for the camera, he’s been clicking away for over thirty years. Photography from the Edge is a collection of his favorite photographs covering the past three decades. An interesting aspect of Wolfe’s creative process is his breadth of subject matter. His preferences can best be described as in the raw. He’s an outdoor photographer who likes animals in their natural element and cultures without all the trappings of modern western society.

The pictures, whether of nature or humans, are all vibrant and capture light and shadow in different ways. Wolfe has a particular interest in light and isn’t a slave to normal photographic standards that say the most interesting images come from either early morning or late afternoon sun. For Wolfe, all type of light can be used to produce compelling photographic studies.

Along with the visual aspect, Photographs from the Edge is also an enjoyable read for both amateur photographer and those of us who simply like looking at pretty pictures. The book is divided into decades. Paired with each image is a short essay by Wolfe describing the circumstances surrounding the day the image was taken. I particularly liked two short sections at the bottom of each photo; Nature of the Photo and Photo Tip. The former gives a little background on the subject matter while the latter give a quick explanation on how to duplicate the photo’s creative aspect. It’s an artistic explanation, rather than technical, but Wolfe also include details before each essay on film, camera, lens, and shutter speed. Non-photographers can easily gloss over them.

Because of the well-written explanations and the compelling beauty of the photographs, this book would be a good addition to the library of either an artist, amateur photographer, or any person who can appreciate the skill required to turn a snapshot into a work of art.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

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