There are a few contemporary photographers who’s work I find truly inspiring. Alain Briot is one of them. I know many of the places he photographs and his pictures capture their essence. I wish that I could transform what I see into a picture like he does.
So I was quite excited when I saw that Alain Briot has authored a book on his way of photographing landscapes.
Briot’s approach to photography means seeing first, and that is how he starts the book. The artist can only capture what he or she has seen first. After seeing comes composition, then lens selection, lighting, exposure, and the “look”.
The book goes on to advice on selecting the keepers, creating a portfolio, and establishing a personal photographic style. Finally, the book explains what being an artist is about and how an artist in business can make a living,which is important if you do not want to be a starving artist. Briot concludes by showing how the reader can do what he did, too.
What strikes me most about this book is that – in contrast to most photography books I have read – it focuses on photography as art and the photographer as an artist instead of on photographic technique. Because of this focus, Briot approaches the subject from a completely different direction than “technical” photography books.
I find this approach very refreshing: there is so much which has been written about technique and technology and so little about art in photography. It is the art, not the technique, that makes an image – any image – unique and worth a second look. So any investment into becoming a better artist will probably improve ones images more than a similar effort put into improving technique.
In conclusion, Briot addresses the issue of how to become a better artist, which is quite a bit more than being a better photographer. Definitely highly recommended!
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should probably mention that I do not have an art but rather an engineering degree, so I tend to approach photography from a technical perspective. The grass is always greener … 😉