I was very excited to get this book. The publisher contacted me and offered a review copy. Other blogs got theirs too, and I felt flattered to be in such a famous company.
Wherever I looked, the book got positive reviews — and I agree with many of them. But having read it myself, I felt that the book also tried to do too many things at once.
About the publisher.
Shooting Film is published by Octopus Books, “a leading publisher of non-fiction books” under their imprint (brand), Ilex:
The go-to publisher for creative people, with a list dedicated to practical art, photography, craft and books exploring visual culture.
This is certainly not a zine or an artist release. This book appears to have a large production run.
I like that Octopus Books has an environmental and ethical policy.
Co-authored by Ben Hawkins and Liza Kanaeva-Hunsicker, this is a collaboration of the photography writer (Ben) and the fashion photographer.
Having opened the book, I immediately loved the illustrations that decorated its pages. The design felt great also: simple, effective fonts, nice paper, great layout, very easy to read. The hardcover is sturdy and posh.
Ben and Liza’s distinct roles in the book are immediately apparent: Hawkins authors the technical bits while Liza shares her experience working with film professionally as an artist.
I am not a fashion photographer, but I loved participating in my parents’ careers as an observing toddler on a theatre stage where they designed costumes and decorations. And so I loved Liza’s input which alone can make this book worth your money and time.
But along with Liza’s wisdom, I also expected clean precision in all technical aspects this book promises to teach. That I did not get.
The book felt crammed with tips, descriptions, definitions, and even product reviews — on top of Liza’s passages. All this in less than 200 pages of print!
Film photography is a huge topic that can fill an entire library with books, videos, and web pages while still having more hidden inside the heads of inventors and artists who made it work. However, fitting it all in a short picture book is a difficult, if not impossible, task.
This book seems to be intended for both beginner and advanced photographers. Beginners usually benefit from digestible and easy-to-understand material, which I think Shooting Film accomplishes with some success. But the advanced topics need references and definitions that go beyond what this book offers.
This book is mostly good, though it certainly isn’t perfect. It’s better for beginners, and you should not expect to learn everything there’s to know about film photography from it. Thankfully, it lists plenty of relevant resources in the appendix, including prominent blogs that publish a wealth of resources to guide you towards greater analogue photographic proficiency.
❤ By the way: Please consider making your “Shooting Film: Everything You Need to Know About Analogue Photography” book purchase using this link so that this website may get a small percentage of that sale — at no extra charge for you — thanks!