If You're Bored with Your Camera Read This Book
“How-to books are the Sherpas that usher you to the base camp at the foot of a photographic Everest.”
Every creative person has their occasional “dry spell” in which inspiration fades. The infamous “writer’s block” is no myth, and photographers are prone to the staleness of repetition. The dilemma addressed by commercial photographer Demetrius Fordham in his book, If You’re Bored with Your Camera Read This Book, is how to break out of the rut of boredom and get the creative juices flowing again.
His book, replete with tips and ideas for alternatives, takes a fairly simple approach: change your method of doing things. His ideas for stimulating inspiration range the gamut with some of the following: If you have a talent for painting or drawing, put down the camera and pick up a pencil or brush; go for a walk in a different environment; try an inspiration board (similar to Pinterest) and pin up your favorite quotes or works by other photographers and artists; take an illustrative approach and ask what the story is behind an image; if you always shoot digital, switch to a manual film camera; try a different genre than your usual (i.e., portraiture, street photography, or sports); if you always shoot in color, try black and white photography, and dozens of other ideas.
Although some of his tips may be somewhat impractical (e.g., find a darkroom and print film) for some users, Fordham includes over 50 general tips and useful techniques for inspiring a fresh approach to photography. He is a professional commercial photographer with an impressive client list.
If You’re Bored with Your Camera Read This Book is full of images that are highly illustrative for the topic at hand although most of the photos fail to inspire. However, the book is a well-written, brief, easy read, and for some readers it may become a well-worn how-to reference for techniques.
How-to books are the Sherpas that usher you to the base camp at the foot of a photographic Everest. They serve a useful but un-elevated purpose in making photographers aware of certain tools and techniques that will improve their picture making. In one sense, current how-to books serve the same purpose that magazines like Popular Photography served 30 years ago: to educate novice photographers in expanding their horizons via gear and technique. Unfortunately, this book makes reference to some advanced concepts such as neutral density filters, ISO, shutter speeds, bokeh, under-exposure, and “time-lapse exposure triangle” that will leave beginners perplexed.
All of which led me to ask, who is this book for? Surely an advanced enthusiast who understands the concepts referred to would have an inkling of an idea for breaking out of the specified rut.
Fordham does not seem to address his suggestions to highly exprienced photographers whose passion and driving force emanate from a deep vision they feel compelled to express. Nor does his book address the problems that new-to-the-field professional photographers may encounter with the demands of new clients. His book and theme are germane to advanced enthusiasts who have lost their way and need a mental “refresh.”
However, something that might be more useful to the targeted reader—those advanced enthusiasts—would be for them to ask themselves why their photography has fallen flat or become boring, and question what it is they really want to achieve with photography rather than opting for the superficial fixes suggested in this book.
If You’re Bored with Your Camera Read This Book is softcover, published by Ilex, and beautifully printed on excellent medium weight paper with excellent reproduction.