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Learn Photography

PATH >

Getting Started >

1 - Why This Book?

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Navigating PATH

You can navigate through PATH three ways.

1) Use the menu above.

2) Click Back and Next at the bottom of each section.

3) Go to the Free Download.

Teachers and others can copy and distribute PATH with the no-fee Creative Commons License.

Just follow the terms of the license.

You

Most photography books are about the tools and techniques of photography.

This book is about the most important factor: you.

For example, a student commented on a presentation of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson that was narrated by this famous French photojournalist/surrealist.

She said:

He didn't talk about his camera—once.

Cartier-Bresson talked about what he liked about being photographer.

He spoke about how he goes about getting more of what he liked.

Cartier-Bresson described his way-of-working.

His way-of-working was his raison d'être for photography:

Actually, I'm not all that interested in the subject of photography. Once the picture is in the box, I'm not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren't cooks.1

Unlike Cartier-Bresson, we may photograph for the photographs.

But we also photograph, perhaps more so, because of our way-of-working in photography.

Paul Strand wrote:

And if you can find out something about the laws of your own growth and vision as well as those of photography you may be able to relate the two, create an object that has a life of its own, which transcends craftsmanship.

That is a long road, and because it must be your own road nobody can teach it to you or find it for you.

There are no shortcuts, no rules.2

PATH can help you become a better photographer—however you define better.

Energy to do great photography doesn't come from cameras and technique.

It comes from you.

Work on you for an hour with PATH, and you'll become an even better photographer.

1 Source unknown.

2 Paragraphs added. From an address delivered at the Clarence White School of Photography in 1923. Originally published in Strand, P. (1923). The art motive in photography. The British Journal of Photography, 70, 612-615. Reprinted in Goldberg, V. (1981). Photography in print: Essays from 1816 to present. New York: Simon and Schuster.