Welcome to this months edition of the Photographer’s Reading List, my monthly list of kick-ass books that I’ve read and recommend when you’re a photographer.
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All – Tom Kelley & David Kelley
This book is mainly about design thinking, but I found that many things were very similar to photography. Because isn’t that what we do as photographers during shoots: solving problems in a new or unconventional way, and having the ability to empathize?
It has helped me in finding a sense of comfort from failure so that I’ll be less afraid to try new things. Because what differentiates successful photographers from others is their ability to persevere during the failures, and that they did not stop trying.
They also gave a TED Talk about creative confidence.
Creative Quest – Questlove
Questlove (real name Ahmir Khalib Thompson) is the famous co-leader of hip-hop group the Roots, record producer, DJ, professor, and many other things. He also recently said that he has “more self-help and psychology books than anything”.
In the book Creative Quest, he packs all his knowledge and experience together as part memoir and part how-to guide. It’s an interesting personal guide to his creative process, as a roadmap for others to follow, regardless of the discipline so as a photographer I also got a lot out of it.
Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination – J. K. Rowling
You’re probably very aware that J.K. Rowling is the writer of the incredibly successful Harry Potter series of books.
What you might not know though is that she also delivered the yearly Harvard University graduation speech in 2008 (must watch!). It quickly became the most-viewed commencement address in Harvard’s history. It’s an inspiring talk about the power of inspiration, failure, and taking chances.
The book itself is small but a beautiful rendition of this speech, with illustrations and doodles that add so much to the already thought-provoking words. The proceeds of the sales also go to J.K.’s Lumos Charity.
Flower Men – Ken Hermann
Flower Men is a personal portrait project by one of my favorite photographers Ken Hermann, and a wonderful small photobook.
All portraits were taken at the Malik Ghat Flower Market in Calcutta (India) while he was on assignment there. While the images itself are beautiful, it’s also a masterclass in a book about subtle lighting and framing your subject in such a way that they stand out while still including important context.
One Year on a Bike: From Amsterdam to Singapore – Martijn Doolaard
While it’s more of a travel book than a photography book per sé, Martijn turns out to be a very good photographer. As he drove from Amsterdam all the way to Singapore with his bike, he documented everything beautifully.
I can only imagine how many times he had to drive up and down a mountain to get the right remotely triggered shot with himself in it. The result is well worth it, and an inspiration for every travel and adventure photographer.