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National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Secrets to Making Great Pictures 
by Peter K. Burian National Geographic Society Robert Caputo Robert Caputo
Paperback 352pp. 
ISBN: 0792274989

National Geographic is renowned for the high quality images it presents month after month. It is one of the few publications that still does so and some of those images have become icons. Unlike many photo books, which can be a tough read for beginners, this one is divided into bite size chunks. Those chunks give out equal doses of advice on technique and profiles and stories on the pro who created the images used to illustrate those techniques. But don't think this book is strictly for beginners. It's a nice refresher for any of us. Experienced photographers may find themselves nodding their heads in agreement with many passages. The refresher just may jog your memory the next time out. And oh did I mention that the book is filled with great images?

One of a series of similar books by National Geographic. The others are field guides for landscapes and portraits. Their 5 1/4 x 8 1/2 inch format just happens to make it easy to tuck them into your favorite camera bag.


Life: Our Century in Pictures 
by Richard B. Stolley & Tony Chiu
Hardcover, 423pp. 
ISBN: 1402805969 

Life Magazine was another publication known for its images. Years ago, Life succumbed to the pressures of television and the changing tastes of America. Yet today people still remember life magazine. Images first seen in its pages have become cultural icons. 770 of those images are contained in these pages. 

“Absorbing” is probably the best way to describe this book. Don't open the cover if you have something to do in the next few hours because you won't get to it. The book is divided into nine sections. Each is opened with an essay that provides historical perspective for the images. Each section closes with a Requiem, which recounts some of the individuals who died during the time period.

I'm fascinated by these images from both a photographic and a historical perspective, and I think you will be too.


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