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Book Review: Jay Maisel’s “Light Gesture & Color”

Picking bookmarks is a little adventure for me. My daughter is constantly creating pictures and doodles, so I usually use one of these as a bookmark for whatever book (or books) I’m reading. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to pick a bookmark for Jay Maisel’s Light Gesture & Color. In fact, I didn’t use a bookmark at all. It’s so engaging and so easy to read that I only put it down twice, and the distinctive photos on every page it simple to find my place.

Light Gesture & Color is a must read for all photographers. Every genre and every style of photography will benefit by reading the techniques and inspiration from one of our industry’s best artists and teachers. Each page is a story with a photograph, and the stories and photos inculcate the ideas and techniques for finding light, gestures, and colors to photograph. He teaches us how to interpret the world with a camera, and how to make our cameras show what our minds’ eyes see.

Jay may not be the father of street photography, but he’s definitely its successful uncle. He’s done all kinds of photographic work professionally for more than 60 years, but the photos in this book could be made by anyone anywhere in the world, and the writing helps us see that meaningful photography is easily within the grasp of every photographer.

I read this quickly, and I’m reading it quickly again, and I expect I’ll read it quickly yet again. There’s a worthwhile quotation on every page, and the photos are memorable. There’s an electronic version available, but I think you should spring for the printed copy and keep it on the coffee table for all to view. I know you’ll enjoy it, and it’ll help you have language to talk about photography and help others see your vision, as well.

Highly recommended.

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