Rick Sammon’s Creative Visualization for PHotogaphers
Author: Rick Sammon
Rick Sammon frequently says that he specializes in not specializing. His excellent book, Creative Visualization for Photographers, is an example of that. It is almost a guide book to photography. He doesn’t cover the basics of camera settings but just about everything else. I personally enjoy this type of book which gives us insight into how successful people think rather than just what they do.
The first few chapters on how to develop a photographer’s mind introduce us to his though processes and provide the ground work for building photographic skills. Rick discusses how we learn and some of the steps we should take to improve, like setting and working to accomplish goals. This grows into a discussion of identifying and visualizing how you want the subject to look in the final image. I think all this boils down to capturing a good digital file of a well composed image.
The last two thirds of the book is structured around imaging processing for chapter titles but includes much more information than that. The first section in this part is titled Basic Image Adjustment but offers information on creating mood, composition, and exposure as well. This points out one of the problems (and sometimes criticism) with photography books: making a picture is a process and it is impossible to talk about one small part of the process without including information about other parts of the process. The best books synthesize the parts into a whole.
The final secions of the book discuss techniques for more creative processing but again includes other topics. There is a section on various areas of photography that may arouse your passion and an ending section of assignments. Completing the assignments would serve to tie the content together. It would be easy to say that there is not comprehensive information how to do any of the things that are covered, but I don’t believe that was Sammon’s purpose with this book. This is the survey course to show opportunities. The readers can find his/her passion and delve deeper into that topic with other resources.
It is interesting reading some of the Amazon reviews of this book. It points up the two big camps in photography: images out of the camera versus images with creative processing. Maybe this argument was always there with just catching a moment versus the creative manipulations of Ansel Adams or Jerry Uelsmann in the dark room. I hope there is room for everyone to express their own creative vision and be tolerant of the other camp whether it be journalistic or artistic. This book offers something for both but clearly more for the artistic vision.