Book Review by Howard Kass
Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity, and Personal Style by Alain Briot
2009, Rocky Nook, Inc., Santa Barbara, CA
In Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity, and Personal Style, Alain Briot shares his philosophy surrounding photographic composition and the development of one’s personal creative style, but not before displaying some of his personal anger toward those “purists” who disdain any manipulation of a photograph, except in a traditional wet darkroom. Once Briot gets past that personal issue, he does share some valuable thoughts on the process he goes through in creating photographs.
He begins by explaining a number of technical issues pertaining to photography, leads into a discussion of composing with light, then with color, and, finally, in black and white. Following this discussion, he delves into the development of one’s creativity and personal inspiration and, eventually, one’s personal vision.
For the most part, this book is a worthwhile read and can be a useful tool in helping photographers develop their personal creative styles. While the content was, indeed, valuable, I was troubled by the number of typographical and grammatical errors in the book, and was particularly troubled by the fact that, in some cases, captions were switched between photos on a page. I would have expected a higher degree of care in editing.
This book is clearly targeted for the serious photographer who has gone beyond the basic “rules” of composition. If the reader can get past the deficiencies previously described, this book can be a useful tool in further developing one’s creativity. I recommend it, with the reservations expressed in this review, for the serious photographer.