Working the Light

A Photography Masterclass

Working the Light: A Photography Masterclass (Light & Land series) Three top landscape photographers in Britain share their expertise along with their work in this photography master class book. Charlie Waite, David Ward and Joe Cornish are three well known and most esteemed landscape photographers in Britain all three contribute to magazines and books regularly and frequently head up photography workshops. In this book "Working the Light", discussed here they have joined forces to exhibit a one of a kind master class which combines stunning images, practical advice and commentary, Working the Light contains three sections divided by author; Inhabited Wilderness, and Inner-landscapes plus a portfolio containing their latest work is included, each of them writes with insight and knowledgeably about the genre of landscape of which they are well known.
If a book on photography was published by a group of people using twitter, it might resemble this book. I's basically a collection of photographs which include a somewhat disconnected set of around 140-character thoughts and tips scattered throughout the book. It comes as no surprise as with most other books published Cornish/Ward, the images are typically top rate, however there's not too much instructive in the text.

The book has a definite structure to it. The three sections follow the same pattern. Each section begins with somewhat random thoughts and photos by one of it's writers (practically auto-biographical), trailed by an image selection from workshop students (sprinkled with brief "almost fortune cookie"-like morsel containing random advice), and subsequently the section closes using a critique about each of the images presented in a previous chapter.

I found those little morsels containing information within the second portion of each section almost superficial (and hardly worth reading). There's some general cliché suggestions such as "know the rules of composition, and the times to break them"--the kind of stuff you have probably already read hundreds of times in the past.

These critiques might have been more instructive, but actually fail in that area as there are just a small number of sentences (at best the authors don't really impart enough to gain much knowledge from). Some of the photos have no critiques, and in their place, the writers only answered a question asked by the photographer. Each photo then has some morsel of information about the photographer, where it was shot, and the camera technique.

The pictures in the book are absolutely top-notch. However there's some doubt if text will be of much us, .but depends upon the photography level you're at - once you've mastered the operations of your camera, what's left for you to learn, and if you can learn with words? The book does not tell you to set your exposure for 1/4 second to transform running water into a silky glow, use a polarizer filter to diminish haze, or anything of that nature. it doesn't provide much in the way of showing you how to place your camera in the proper area during the right time, although it will help some. (the weather channel is showing cloud-cover forecasts!) It mostly teaches composition using examples, and some discussion. In my opinion, teaching using examples is perhaps the more effective ways to improve upon compositional skills. While this book outshines all others I've seen, because of the effort in teaching composition, you shouldn't have high hopes that the simple reading of this book will give you instant and noticeable skill improvement.

A compendium of collective experience and wisdom for both experienced and aspiring photographers. Previous books include; Joe Cornish Light & the Art of Landscape Photography; Charlie Waite's book The Making of Landscape Photographs; and David Ward’s Landscape Within. Overall, the pictures in the book are lovely, and it's worthwhile doing a casual browse, however if you are trying to find an instructional photography book, I'm certain this is not the one.

Get Working the Light: A Photography Masterclass (Light & Land series) here