I am reading this rather old (1981) Time-life book called 'The art of photography', and its possibly one of the most interesting books I have read on photography. It talks of photography as an art, a very different attitude to the entire subject from most other books I have seen on this subject.

The difference is rather obvious.

This book talks of: shape, form, texture, pattern, color ...

While most other books talk of: aperture, focal length, shutter speed , ISO ...

And then yet others: megapixels, zoom, photoshop, HDR ...

So what did I learn from this book? It talks about how every successful photograph should have these following elements:
- a subject / theme
- strong visual elements
- design / composition

The authors give many examples of how the same object/idea (in this case, a mannequin, a city, and love) can inspire very different interpretations by different photographers. Its, to say the least, very illuminating to see the varied examples.

Design itself is composed of many different facets:
- The dominant feature in the photograph
- balance
- proportion
- rhythm
- perspective
And each one can bring a completely different way of looking into the same subject.

There's a long chapter on the meaning of time in photography. In particular:
- Suspended animation : aka still life (or posed portraits)
- Decisive moment : a perfect moment in time
- Sidelong glimpse : just any random moment in time

All these schools of photography have their champions, and its difficult to say one is better way that the other. I guess one needs to go back to the ole threesome: theme, visuals, composition; if there is a striking combination of the three, then its a great photo; else its just a capture of a moment in time.

All in all, a completely different viewpoint. A thinking man's photography book.