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Book Reviews

Kodak Guide to 35mm PhotographyKodak Guide to 35MM Photography : Techniques for Better Pictures
by Eastman Kodak
Paperback, 7th edition, ISBN: 087985801X

Photography books for beginners walk a fine line between being so detailed that they actually scare people away from photography and being so trivial that they are of little use once you gain some knowledge. In what has become something of a classic photographic text Kodak has walked that line with nary a miss-step.

The book is beautifully illustrated with photos that are not only technically correct but vibrant and interesting. All photos are published in full color on glossy paper. One of my pet peeves has always been photography books that are published in black and white on cheap paper. No matter how descriptive the text nothing conveys the effect of a polarizer or color filter like side by side photos that clearly show the final image.

The book takes you through all the major points that a novice will need to get started. This includes clear explanations of holding the camera, f-stops, aperture, focal length, depth of field, composition, films, filters, and on into black and white, infrared, and "seeing" rather then snapping.  This latest edition even includes a section on digital photography, scanning and printing.

The book is very readable and can be used just as effectively whether read cover to cover or as a reference while you try new things. If you are new to photography or a snap shooter looking to expand your horizons this is a great place to start.


Rare and Out of Print BooksDahmane  
by Benedikt Taschen
Paperback, 1st edition, ISBN: 3-82289769-8

This self titled book features some of Dahmane's more popular black and white female nudes. These images of nudes in familiar, and public, places are exquisitely erotic without crossing the line to pornographic. His models look natural rather then posed in most of his pictures. His composition draws you into the photo so that you feel more an observer at the scene than someone studying a photo in a book.

Dahmane makes full use of black and white as a medium. The prints are crisp and sharp. Contrast and composition are perfect. If these were color images they would lose their impact and become just another nude. But in black and white they are arresting. They draw you in and cause you linger over the details.

Dahmane first received recognition in Europe for a series of black and white nudes that used well known Paris restaurants as a backdrop for the models. There is an impishness in these photos. Evidently it is Dahmane's and he has learned how to bring this impishness out in his models. There is a little of Bart Simpson thumbing his nose at the world here.

If you aspire to proficiency in nudes this is a good book to ad to your collection. While there is no technical detail published in the book his photos have the ability to teach volumes about composition, printing, and the beauty of the female form. Equally important they break out of the mold of the black and white "nude on the bed" and into new voyeuristic territory.

As we are going to press this book has gone out of print, but we have been assured back stock is still readily available through Barnes and Noble's special order process or directly from Taschen.

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