I did a little dance when this book came in the mail a few weeks ago. It is so perfect for me right now. I don’t know if you’ve noticed the lack of crafty show-and-tells around here lately, but I just haven’t been cranking out the projects. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t want a pile of wool on my lap in the summer (so, no knitting or crocheting to speak of). Or maybe it’s that I don’t want to make a gigantic sewing or polymer clay mess in my workspace (aka the dining room table). It could be either of those things, but I think it’s just more likely that right now all of my creative urges are being filled quite nicely by photography.
It happens. You know how cyclical I am with my creative urges. It’s just photography’s turn.
So, you can imagine then, that a book called Shooting With Soul would be right up my current alley.
The book starts off with some charming pictures of adorably vintage cameras. These photos illustrate the more technical topics of the book: Choosing a Camera, Types of Lenses, etc. The entire first chapter is a good place to start if you are still gathering up your photographic equipment or if you would like to better understand some of the technical aspects of photography, such as exposure.
This, however, is not a technical manual so much as a guide for feeling your way around with a camera. And that is perfect for me. I’m at a point in my photography where I am comfortable with the basics and I am comfortable with my camera. A manual wouldn’t interest me much at this stage except as a handy reference to tuck away on the book shelf. But a book like this? Oh this one is going to see some action in the coming weeks!
The author shares this “magic recipe”:
(See) + (Think) + (Feel/Connect) + (Shoot) = Great Image
That sounds a bit vague, I know, but you are not left alone to figure it all out. The rest of the book is spent in pursuit of Great Images through 44 exercises.
The exercises are definitely my favorite part of this book. They remind me a lot of the prompt-based Picture series of classes that I’ve taken with Tracey Clark. Alessandra Cave (she’s the author – did I not mention her? oops!) recommends spending about a week with each prompt, to really dig deep and explore it. That’s a good approach, and one I may go back to sometime, but I have a different idea for now:
August Daily Photo Prompts!
You probably know by now that for 2014, my daily photo project for the year has had a different theme every month. I’ve decided that during August, the theme will be Shooting With Soul, and it will be based on the exercises in this book. I plan to choose a new prompt each day, doing the 31 exercises that grab me the most.
You’re invited to join me (as you have been every month this year). You will need to get a copy of the book, of course, and then you can just choose whichever prompts you would like, one-a-day in whatever order you would like to do them. Be sure to use the #pdcsoul hashtag wherever you share your images so that we can all follow along with each other.
Even if you have use for a daily photo project right now, if you are interested in exploring photography as a means of expressing yourself in an artful way, I think you’ll like this book. Each of the 44 exercises includes an explanation of the theme, two or three example photographs, and a sidebar of Instructions, Techniques, and Shot Ideas. Cave provides plenty of guidance through each exercise, while still leaving enough room for your own personal interpretation.
(The usual disclaimers apply re: books received, reviews given, and links provided.)