You know, the Internet certainly does make things easier in many ways. One of those happens to be the availability of information for both entertainment and education. It is so simple to acquire information on ANY subject that we sometimes forget one of the prominent traditional methods through which we once gained knowledge, books.
When browsing through our local Books A Million (a nice locale to burn some time) I once in a while come across a book which begs to be brought home. One of my recent acquisitions is Joe McNally's "The Moment It Clicks". I won't go into Joe's story or a review of the book, as I am not a great reviewer, and I typically find reviews to contain more information which does not affect my decision than does.
That said, this book is amazing. Joe practices the art of flash photography and has it down to a science. I have always been fond of the term "available light", most define it as nothing but natural. However, Joe considers "any" light (flash or otherwise) as available. If you are truly interested in developing your lighting techniques get this book and read the WHOLE thing cover to cover.
"The Impassioned Eye". A bio-documentary of Henri Cartier-Bresson, arguably one of the best -if not the greatest- photographers of all time.
In these days of uber-cameras - digital and technological marvels that can take pictures in virtually every situation put in front of them, here was Cartier-Bresson showing a body of work taken over many decades, shot with a small Leica camera and predominantly a single 50mm lens, which wasn't particularly fast in terms of aperture. It was quite a sobering thought. No autofocus, no evaluative metering, no picture modes, no image stabilization. Things that we take for granted these days. He utiilised the simplest and most efficient way of taking pictures. Just a man, his simple camera, and his eye. Compose, focus, press the shutter.
His thoughts on the images were humbling. He saw them as 'memories' from an earlier time, in much the same way as we look at our holiday snaps. Watching him look back at his pictures, you could sense the emotion he was feeling at the time. He handles the paper pictures like a pile of proof prints, and talks quite openly about the stories behind them, often with a tear in his eye. Nothing pretentious, and totally devoid of ego.
If you can get to see the documentary, then don't miss it. It is one of those masterpieces of film making, that will inspire you to take better pictures.
Here is a link to a Blogger who has the film in segments, it is very much worth the time to see.