Ostensibly about landscape photography, More Than a Rock is a passionate and personal book about creativity and expression. In this series of essays, photographer and teacher Guy Tal shares his thoughts and experiences as an artist who seeks to express more in his images than the mere appearance of the subject portrayed.
Tal makes an argument to consider creative landscape photography—expressing something of the photographer’s conception through the use of natural aesthetics—as a form of visual art that is distinct from the mere representation of beautiful natural scenes.
Tal covers topics such as the art of photography, approaches to landscape photography, and the experiences of a working photographic artist. His essays also include reflections on nature and man’s place in it, living a meaningful life, and living as an artist in today’s world.
The book is decidedly non-technical and focuses on philosophy, nature, and visual expression. It was written for those photographers with a passion and interest in creative photography. Anyone who is pursuing their work as art, is in need of inspiration, or is interested in the writings of a full-time working photographic artist will benefit from reading this book. The book is visually punctuated with Tal’s inspiring and breathtaking photography.
“Some images look like things, while others feel like things; some images are of things, while others are about things. …A creative image is not a record of a scene nor a substitute for a real experience. Rather, it is an experience in itself—an aesthetic experience—something new that the artist has given the world, rather than a contrived view of something that already existed independent of them.” ~Guy Tal
Guy Tal’s photography is thoughtful, compassionate, and poetic; it’s no wonder then that his writings evoke similar feelings in me. If you want to be a better camera user, read your manual. If you want to be a stronger, deeper photographer, read Guy Tal. ~David duChemin
Gloria September 1, 2018
I’ve read this author before and I enjoy his provocative, philosophical view on things photographic. Gotta love a book that has a chapter called Invisible Gorillas! That particular essay is about being open to seeing everything and not just been selectively attentive. And not clinging to preconceived ideas so that we missed what pops up instead.
His essay on one’s audience is thought provoking — do we aim to please our audience? Ourselves? Some compromise of the two? His answer, at least in part, is to “create for those with whom you have things in common.” I like it! The various quotations of other photographers that the author includes at the front of each chapter are worth the price of admission alone 🙂
Another essay I love it’s called “lie like you mean it” and talks about the fact that we necessarily deceive when we create our photographs to show what we saw, not necessarily what the reality was. Toward the end of the book Tal waxes philosophical and in conclusion refers to the author Nabokov: “… common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” Tal urges us to help illuminate the beauty that there is in that crack of light. Haven’t heard of a better reason to photograph 🙂
rajiv.rajivchopra (verified owner) March 3, 2020
This is an excellent book. It is a deep book, and I would recommend that anyone who picks up this book read just a few essays a day. Reading more, or trying to read the book quickly, will put the reader into a situation where he/she will miss the subtle lessons and subtle differences between each essay.
Guy Tal writes very well and writes forcefully. He clearly does not suffer fools lightly, and this comes through in his writing. He has a deep love for the wilderness, for photography and the spirit that connects both of them.
The book is divided into neat sections, which give you a good idea of what theme he is about to explore.
This is not a book about photography technique. It’s about the spirit of photography, and of living. If you imbibe the lessons well, they will help you become a better photographer.
This is writing from the heart. It’s a book that is a keeper.
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