Learn photography with out a camera...? That's almost what Michael Freeman did in his book aptly titled "The Photographer's Eye". Unlike many books on photography, this book hardly deals with the camera settings and techniques. Rather he focuses on the outcome, the photograph...oops...the image!
Freeman's concept of taking effective pictures is simple. Understand what constitutes a good image. Try to capture such images, using your creative mind first and with the camera later.
In that way a photographer and a painter are essentially identical. Both are trying to design effective images, applying the same visual art fundamentals, though the means and methods used are radically different.
Many suggested me to get Freeman's "Image:Designing Effective Pictures", as a very good text book on photography. Originally published in 1988 (or even before), this book was out of print by the time I was looking for it. On ebay and amazon the secondhand copy was commanding a whooping $250. So that talked of its immense popularity.
Now came the breather. In 2007 "The Photographer's Eye", a revamped version of "Image:Designing Effective Pictures" was published. People who own both the versions say "The Photographer's Eye" is essentially the same as its predecessor, but with further additions.
Now you can get a new copy of "The Photographer's Eye" for about $18 from amazon. What wonders me is the secondhand copy of "Image:Designing Effective Pictures" still commands twice as much of a new copy of the Photograpner's Eye!
There is also a digital version of "The Photographer's Eye" available for the ipad toting photographers.
My take on The Photographer's Eye: This is an intermediate level book on photography. A must have for any serious learners of photography. Unlike many 'how to do' kind of books you can not read and complete this book. I'm for sure going the use this book for as a manual for years to come. Whatever level of mastery I would achieve, the book will still have many things for me to learn.
ISBN: 978-0240809342 | The Photographer's Eye by Michael Freeman | Focal Press