Focus on Photographing People by Haje Jan Kamps – Focal Press

I consider this book an excellent introduction for anyone who is starting to do serious photography and for the occasional serious photographer who may not have previously done portrait photography.

The author opens with basic information about equipment and camera settings. I like that he emphasizes that an expensive camera is not a requisite for successful imaging. He then discusses composition including how to direct a model, elements of lighting, and some basic rules of composition. There is a discussion of the merits and techniques of street photography. The last section discusses photo editing.

In addition to my opening comment, this would be a good text for an Introductory Course at the high school or college level.


Vincent Versace
To quote Vincent,
“The belief is once you own a camera you are a photographer.

SO that means if I buy a cello…

then I own a cello.”

And to quote from his biography,

Vincent Versace is a recipient of the Computerworld Smithsonian Award in Media Arts & Entertainment and the Shellenberg fine art award, is a six-time nominee to the Photoshop Hall of Fame and is the best selling author of Welcome to Oz a Cinematic Approach Digital Still Photography with Photoshop and. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History.

Visit his website –

There is an extensive gallery posting – my recommendation is look at the set “People You Know”   Then go on to the rest.




Documenting America from the Great Depression to World War II




The Library of Congress


Documenting America from the Great Depression to World War II

“The images in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection are among the most famous documentary photographs ever produced. Created by a group of U.S. government photographers, the images show Americans in every part of the nation. In the early years, the project emphasized rural life and the negative impact of the Great Depression, farm mechanization, and the Dust Bowl. In later years, the photographers turned their attention to the mobilization effort for World War II. The core of the collection consists of about 164,000 black-and-white photographs. This release provides access to over 160,000 of these images; future additions will expand the black-and-white offering. The FSA-OWI photographers also produced about 1600 color photographs during the latter days of the project. ”

“The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. The goal of the Library’s National Digital Library Program is to offer broad public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning. ”

“The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers. ”

Visiting this site should be an inspiration as well as a lesson in documentary photography. Many great photographers of the 1930’s era worked for the United States Government. Photographers like Walker Evans and Ansel Adams are among those represented. And anyone with a knowledge of photographic history will recognize “Migrant Mother.” And, if you wish, download a high resolution file and print your own personal copy of this photograph or of many others.



Book Review, The Art of Posing, Lou Jacobs, Jr., Amherst

The Art of Posing, Lou Jacobs, Jr.

This is a good book. The author has assembled eleven photographers who, in 10 chapters, discuss their approach to portrait photography. The various authors discuss the how and why of their approach to portraiture. The book is filled with photographs of young and old, female and male, single and group portraits. Images include both color and black and white photographs. Reviewing the images provides a gallery of posing suggestions. While there is discussion on the importance of lighting, if I were the author, I’d add a chapter specifically on lighting techniques generously illustrated with lighting diagrams. As an old Chinese philosopher said, “Seeing it once is better than being told one hundred times.” This book is both interesting and educational. I will be recommending it to members of my class on composition.
Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D.,