Learning About Photography is a Lifelong Journey
As a self-taught photographer, I know the importance of studying this art and craft that I love. Even as a child I took photography seriously, saving up for months to buy my first SLR camera and reading every photography magazine I could get my hands on.
With the shuttering of Popular Photography in March, professional and amateur photographers lost an iconic (80 years in print!) resource for all-things-photographic.
Some magazines are still publishing in a paper form, though. Among my favourites are Shutterbug, which has similarities to Popular Photography with a mix of articles on gear, techniques and photographers profiles. Digital Photo Pro has a lot of advice on indoor or studio photography; it also has an on-line version.
For landscape or wildlife I love Outdoor Photographer which has a wealth of information on the best gear and techniques for adventure photography and beautiful selections from the best photographers in the field. Nature’s Best Photography is published only twice a year and is a beautiful collection of outstanding wildlife photographs. Last but not least Alert Diver edited by uber-photographer Steve Frink has amazing underwater images and articles about the leading underwater photographers in addition to features about dive travel and safety.
But, there are also excellent online only resources available.
For instance, DP Review (Digital Photography Review) is a website that has original content, articles and reviews but also sources information from other websites. Because of this it’s a great jumping-off point. If the information you want isn’t front and center, you may find another website that does have it.
One hint about DP, though. The articles on the “technique” page are set up to elicit lots of comments and conversation. Some of the back-and-forth is great, but some eminently skippable.
For a more artistic viewpoint, and in-depth discussions, I really like L’Oeil De La Photographie/The Eye of Photography. This French publication (text is in English too) is a delight to read and there is almost no topic unrepresented. For instance, a recent search for “arctic wildlife” produced an interview with Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. Not only did he talk about his passion for preserving the earth, he shared that his eight-year project, Genesis, was shot using both digital and film cameras, and that he never looks at his work on a computer.
These “insider” details are invaluable to me as I develop my own eye and create my own body of work. The interviews with an international body of photographers reveal their personal techniques which I can then try on my own as the opportunity presents. The images, and stories, inspire me to get out my camera and stretch creatively.
Which, of course, is really the best way to learn–get up, go outside, and take some pictures!