By Henry Carroll
128 pages, hardcover, $19.99
Published by Laurence King Publishing
I haven’t touched my Nikon 35mm since 2008, and Photographers on Photography: How the Masters See, Think & Shoot made me want to pick it up again. I don’t know if there’s any more glowing praise I can give than that.
You may recognize author Henry Carroll from his Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs series, and this book takes a similar approach, but to a much different question: Why do photographers take pictures the way they do? Carroll has gathered a collection of photographers’ statements and interviews that quickly dive into their practices. And it’s a varied selection of philosophies, from Wendy Red Star decentering photography from Whiteness to Ishiuchi Miyako revealing the inherent violence underlying photojournalism. Some will resonate with you more than others—I personally found Olivia Bee’s interview on photography as “giving away moments and keeping them forever” the most touching—but, ultimately, there’s something in this book that will inspire any photographer.
Of course, Photographers on Photography’s content makes it a nonlinear read, and that’s how it should be treated. You can’t truly absorb all of the book’s content if you don’t go through it at a slow pace, and that’s exactly the reason why some readers may dismiss this book as a fluff piece or “inspiration porn.” But if there’s anything at all that drives you to get out there and take photos, it’s worth getting.
Now, I’m pretty sure I kept a roll of film in my camera bag... —Michael Coyne