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Zen and the Magic of Photography (Book)

Manufacturer: Rocky Nook, Inc.
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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In order to become a great photographer, you must learn all about the technical aspects of the art. This is especially true today with all of the advanced equipment that we have available. You need to know about topics ranging from f-stops and filters to digital image sensors and the EXIF file format. However, photography is not about technology... it's about capturing the image of that unique moment when everything converges to create the perfect picture. But how does the photographer know when that moment occurs? Is it something that only those with an innate talent can understand? Or is this knowledge something tangible that can be explained and that anyone can learn? Zen and the Magic of Photography by Wayne Rowe attempts to provide an explanation.

Zen and the Magic of Photography
Published by Rocky Nook, Zen and the Magic of Photography is a book that teaches you how to recognize that perfect photographic moment that's begging to be captured. As explained by the publisher, the book "is geared toward helping photographers develop their visual awareness, sensitivity, and intuition. It is designed to improve the quality of your photography by helping you discover, create, and capture the points of intersection and merging between camera and 'real moments'... the points at which we discover and create our best photographic images." After reading the book, I can safely say that it does exactly that. It shows you how to be more attuned to the moment and it does so without being condescending or mystical in any way. Mr. Rowe provides actual information and examples and doesn't just allude to the fact that you need to 'be the ball' (a Chevy Chase joke from the movie Caddyshack).

Inside Zen and the Magic of Photography
Although the book is a mere 94 pages, it actually covers a lot of ground and is divided into three major sections:
Experiencing Zen through Photography and Photography through Zen.
Opening Oneself to the Photographic Image in All its Forms: From the Still Photograph to the Motion Picture.
Opening Oneself to the Light: Some Personal Moments of Experiencing Zen and Satori through Photography.

The first section provides descriptions of Zen and Satori. It also explains how these concepts relate to photography. The second section talks about the concept of punctum and how it relates to the still photograph, the photo essay, and the motion picture. In the third section, Rowe shares some of his own personal realizations of Zen, Satori, and Photography.

Overall, the book covers the following topics:
The nature of Zen.
The nature of photography: the two essential elements in every photograph.
The relationship between Zen and photography.
The art of photographic analysis: making the invisible visible.
How to experience the creative process.
How to make your best photographs: experiencing Zen through photography and photography through Zen.
The interconnections and interrelationships between the still photograph, the photo essay, and the motion picture.
Photographic examples of the points of intersection and merging between photography and Zen.

Learning to See and Be Through Photography
Photography is an art and a science. There are already hundreds of published works that cover the technical aspects of photography, but not many cover the artistic nature of the subject. Zen and the Magic of Photography is for those photographers who already know how to take a good picture from a technical point of view, but want to learn more about how to capture the true essence of the art. Wayne Rowe provides a wonderful read that I can personally say has helped me to 'see' better and has helped me to improve my photographic work.

For more information: Zen and the Magic of Photography: Learning to See and to Be through Photography
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