Fully updated and revised, this seminal book explains and illustrates what photographs are, how they were made and used in the past and, more particularly, what their place is in the creative arts and visual communications world of today.
Paul Hill looks at photographs as modes of expression and explores the diversity of approaches taken when creating photographs and what these mean for a photographer’s practice and purpose. It emphasises the importance of contextualisation to the understanding of the medium, diving into the ideas behind the images and how the camera transforms and influences how we see the world. With an impressive collection of 200 full colour images from professional practitioners and artists, it invites us to consider the foundations of photography’s past and the digital revolution’s impact on the creation and dissemination of photographs today.
Essential reading for all students of photography, it is an invaluable guide for those who want to make a career in photography, covering most areas of photographic practice from photojournalism to fine art to personal essay.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Roger Taylor
Chapter One: SEEING AND THINKING PHOTOGRAPHICALLY
Lenses and Angles
‘Flattening’ the 3-D World
Tones and Hues
The Focal Point
Metaphors and Symbols
Chapter Two: AFTER THE SHUTTER IS PRESSED
Sequence and Series
Chapter Three: ART AND COMMUNICATION
Influence of Photography on Art
Influence of Art on Photography
Links with Literature
The Moving Image
Chapter Four: HOW PHOTOGRAPHY IS USED
Captions and Titles
Publishing and Reproduction
Posters and Photomurals
Chapter Five: THE PHOTOGRAPHER AS WITNESS
Making a Record
Content and Form
Chapter Six: EXPERIENCING BEAUTY
Landscape and Nature
The ‘Fine’ Print
Chapter Seven: IN SEARCH OF SELF AND THE METAPHOR
Reflecting the Human Condition
Spirit of Place
Chapter Eight: FROM PRINTED PAGE TO GALLERY WALL
Chapter Nine: RADICAL CHANGES AND THE IMAGING FUTURE
Signs and Symbols
Photography and Politics
Postmodernism and Beyond
Paul Hill. After he worked as a newspaper reporter, climbing instructor and freelance photojournalist for The Guardian, The Observer and the BBC, amongst many others, he became Course Leader of the Creative Photography course at Trent Polytechnic in 1976, the same year as he set up The Photographers' Place, the first residential photo workshop in Europe. He has published several books on photography, including Dialogue with Photography (with Thomas Cooper) and was awarded an MBE in 1994. A recipient of the Royal Photographic Society's Education Award, he became a professor in 1995 at De Montfort University where he ran one of the first postgraduate courses in photography in the UK.
'Approaching Photography provides its readers with an accessible understanding of photographic theory by surveying the key themes that have been – and remain – integral to the photograph. This is underpinned by practical advice that will help photographers convey their images' intended meaning to different audiences.'
Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS, Director, Education and Public Affairs, The Royal Photographic Society, UK
'Paul Hill’s Approaching Photography is one of the classic books on photography. Written by a photographer who is passionate about the craft of photography, he knows how to link technique to the construction of meaning and make it clear to the reader. This updated edition of the book is for or everyone who wants to pay close attention to the different skills and thinking involved in creating photographic images – and develop them into a coherent independent practice.'
David Bate, Professor of Photography, University of Westminster, London, UK
Photography can be a tricky visual language. It is so ubiquitous - we are bombarded by images all day online and in print. How do we approach photography as a consumer let alone as a photographer? This book, now in its third edition, helps us to navigate this tricky visual terrain. We learn practical pointers and tips on taking, producing and presenting images. It helps to reveal how photography is circulated in the world in both commercial and fine art contexts. Paul Hill writes, as he speaks, and is throughout both insightful and generous. He shares with us his many years of experience and conveys his infectious passion for a medium. The amateur and professional alike can learn from this book and enjoy it visually as well. Hill embraces and analyses for us new advents in photography, demonstrating his enquiring mind. It is hard to read this book and not be both informed and inspired.
Camilla Brown, Writer, Academic and Formerly Senior Curator, The Photographers Gallery, London
'Great photographers don’t age, they just get wiser. Paul Hill makes us think about about a photograph long before we even take it. Even in this digital age Paul’s philosophy still applies. Take the great cover photograph that was made nearly fifty years ago. Who is the man, so smartly dressed, why is walking alone in the snow, where is he going? I’ve always wanted to know. Great photographs should make you think, make you wonder. The cameras may have changed since the first edition of this great book but not the way of seeing. Respect.'
Eamonn McCabe, Former Picture Editor of The Guardian and presenter of BBC 4’s Britain in Focus, a history of photography
'Paul Hill’s pioneering Approaching Photography is a classic and this beautifully produced new edition is to be welcomed. Since its first publication in 1982, the world has changed fundamentally. Technically, we have left the red lights and pungent chemicals of the darkroom for a colder world of digital photography, camera phones and social media. Ethically, we now look differently at street photography, photojournalism and issues of consent, and morally there is an imperative to address inclusion, equality and diversity. Yet, some things remain the same and this revised edition builds on nearly forty years of Hill’s experience as a photographer and an educator to provide guiding principles to encourage both the amateur and the experienced photographer. Hill is practical but for him technique is for a purpose. His real lessons are about thinking and seeing and his stress is on the need for each photographer to develop their own viewpoint. In our vastly changed and changing world these lessons are as important today as they were then.'
Dr James Hyman, Art Historian and Dealer and Curator of The Hyman Collection of British Photography
'Approaching Photography has helped those committing to the medium of photography for four decades. The profound changes in photographic technologies over that time are reflected in the various editions, but the lack of a need to make distinctions between digital and analogue practices exemplifies the book’s hypothosis that the image maker’s approach - their attitude, creative outlook and methodology of seeing - is what’s most important when it comes to developing the craft and learning how to express a personal voice as a photographer. Hill articulates, without embellishment or hyperbole, some of the essential considerations anyone serious about the discipline should acquire in order to develop a fulfilling, critical practice.'
Jesse Alexander, Photographer, Author and Course Leader of MA Photography, Falmouth University