Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New eBook Coming Soon

I've been working on another ebook. This time out, it's a very different kind of ebook, certainly much different from the two I've already authored and released. This one is called, "Zen and the Art of Glamour Photography."

Yeah, I'm obviously borrowing inspiration (leastwise, title wise) from Robert Pirsig's 1974 best-seller, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." Pirsig, of course, likely borrowed his title from Eugen Herrigel's popular 1948 book, “Zen in the Art of Archery." And Herrigel likely borrowed his title from, uhhh... well from many writings by practitioners of Zen. So I don't feel as if I'm plagiarizing.

My new ebook has nothing to do with motorcycle maintenance (not that Persig's did either, at least in a big way.) Nor is it about bows and arrows or using archery as metaphor. In fact, this new book has little, if anything, to do with the actual practice of Zen... other than in terms of seeking enlightenment. In this case, photographic enlightenment.

I'm not writing this book in a way that attempts to set myself up as some sort of photo guru or photographic leader on the path to that enlightenment. I am, however, relying on the words of more than a few people who were gurus in the world of photography. People like Avedon and Arbus, Cartier-Bresson and Adams, Eisenstaedt, Feininger, Steichen, Newton and more.

What I'm doing is using the insightful words and ideas spoken by many true masters of photography and then, with those words and ideas in mind, sharing my personal photography experiences and thoughts and ideas in ways that, hopefully, will underscore and validate the words of the masters. I also hope the book will provide more than a few modern-day insights into the many ways photographers might approach their work.

The ebook's focus is mostly on glamour photography, more so than other genres, because that's what I've shot most and know best. But I think photographers who pursue almost any genre might benefit from this book when it's complete. I know I'm benefiting simply by writing it: it's forcing me to put some things in perspective that I might not have consciously thought about or integrated into my photography. Positive things. Possibly game changing things. I should note I'm working to keep the text light and sometimes humorous because I think that's what people expect from me, writing wise, and, more importantly, it's mostly how I roll. This new ebook is more than half-way complete, btw.

Here's a few extracts from the book's intro. Maybe this will give you a better idea of the territories I'm covering in this new ebook:

"The masters of photography, those of whom I've quoted in this book, weren't necessarily speaking directly to all the subjects I'll be covering in this text. Nor were they likely thinking their words might apply to more universal themes. Still, their wisdom rings clear, providing perceptive insights into the many genres of photography and, occasionally, to life itself. Such is the way, I suppose, when true masters speak."

Here's another paragraph excerpted from the book's introduction:

"The chapters of this ebook do not include photographic techniques or lighting diagrams. They don't include gear suggestions or “how-to” tutorials. Instead, they attempt to discover some aesthetic, philosophical, and enlightening truths about this thing we do, this photography thing. I've expressed my version of these truths through personal experiences, observations, and with my opinions. I hope these truths, if truths they be, spark some level of enlightenment within you, helping you integrate into your photographic life the lessons I'm attempting to share and, consequently, help you achieve greater success in all your photography endeavors."

I'm guessing this new ebook won't be for everyone. For starters, it includes no pictures and, as mentioned in the intro extract I just copied and pasted, no lighting diagrams, how-to stuff, or gear touts. But hey! There's no shortage of books that do that! I've even written a few of them and I'm planning to write a few more of those types of photography ebooks. (One of them, already outlined in fact, I plan to begin shooting custom photos for in the next few weeks or so.)

What "Zen and the Art of Glamour Photography" will do, at least I hope it will, is arm you with ideas and insights, photography philosophies and different, more thoughtful ways of approaching your work: ways you might not have previously considered and which might spark a personal renaissance of sorts in your work. We can all use a personal, artistic renaissance once in a while, right? I know I'm long overdue for one.

The three, gratuitous, half-naked, pretty girls at the top (click to enlarge) are (from l. to r.) Ally, Layla, and Ariana. The pic is from a shoot a couple of months ago.


Ed Verosky said...

I love this idea for an eBook. Sure, tutorials and how-to's are useful to teach you how to do things, but you have to have a balance as a photographer with the WHY aspect, and the how's of the less tangible things.

Picking up a camera with some sense of how to approach it, why you're doing it, what you and other people get out of it, will make a big difference for many.

"The unexamined life is not worth living," I believe some guy in a white robe once said.

Bill Giles said...

We often speak about breaking the rules, but few of us really understand that there aren't any rules, just reasons. There is a reason that an object or image is appealing to us or when one is not. When we understand why something works or doesn't, we can start to create new things. Most of us just throw something up and hope that it works. I have never really been able to pre-visualize my photography and usually just have to hope for the best.