The Nature of Photographs – Stephen Shore

A very clever book from both a teaching and marketing viewpoint.

Short descriptives on several consecutive pages, then several consecutive pages of just images to bolster the teaching point.  I think the teaching technique is marvellous, no windy descriptives in educationalese and well-selected images to drive home the point.

A great introduction of what ‘The Nature of Photographs’ is going to be about, along with some insightful pictures, followed by four further chapters explaining the Physical, Depictive, Mental and Mental Imaging aspects of all photographs.  The only one I had any trouble with was the Mental Imaging thing.  Asking the reader to image the space between your eyes and the page and let that change your mental image of what photograph can result, well a bit of a challenge anyway.

Overall, a good read if somewhat short (due to lack of text, thank goodness) and some great images to punch home the messages.  Well worth the read and I’m sure that some of the teaching has rubbed off, certainly the use of the frame to exclude as well as include, his analogy with the Japanese woodblock print and photographic framing brought a new meaning to me of what can be included to show exclusion.


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