Photography and the Art of Seeing

ISBN: 1550130994
ISBN 13: 9781550130997
By: Freeman Patterson

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About this book

Photography and the Art of Seeing, familiarizes readers with the traditional principles of composition and visual design. However, Patterson provides technique & exercises for breaking with traditional concepts.

Reader's Thoughts

Brent Bill

Outstanding. A classic.


I've actually read the original one, based on film. Anyway it's not about film or digital. It's way deeper.

Khalid AlHaqqan

since I'm a photographer .. this was a great topic which I needed the most. it is exactly what every photographer needs to know.

Abbie Graham

My favorite photography book ever. My Dad found it for me at a used bookstore (I'm betting it was the Dusty Bookshelf in Lawrence) when I was a teenager. This isn't a how-to book. It's all about the process of finding and taking pictures, how to break the rules, see things differently and be more creative with your photography (also out of print, I think, but it looks like they may have a newer version available).I don't read photography books very often, but I've read this one over and over. I highly recommend it.


An enlightening read with insightful examples on learning to observe, imagine and to express subjects using various subject matters through visual design. With lessons on thinking sideways, breaking the rules, eliminating preconceptions, rejecting labels and understanding principles of design, Freeman kindly offers a number of exercises to train and challenge his "young" readers. Highly unsuitable for those seeking technical tips or gear recommendations, the following paragraph sums it all up, "When a child thinks of drawing his mother, he may intuitively abstract love as one of her most distinguishing traits, and in his drawing he leaves out many of the physical details of her body but not the one that counts - her smile". Highly recommended!

Cesar Viteri

Concise, well written, organized text on how to use the visual elements of design to make your subject matter express the subject of your photographs. Thought provoking, proposes a number of exercises to help you break free from limiting photographing habits. Gorgeously illustrated with beautiful landscapes and macro pictures. The only area where I found it lacking is on how to apply this to pictures featuring people, my main interest. It focuses mainly on landscapes and still lives for all examples.A recommended read to all photographers, specially those who feel a bit stuck in routine.

Pat Loughery

Freeman Patterson's book is a classic, and with very good reason. It was helpful for me in many areas: composition of visual art; contemplative photography; focusing and discovering my vision; intentionally making images rather than just discovering them. I recommend it highly for photographers of all kinds, and for visual artists of all kinds.

Caristy Olson

It's a really great book. Lots of good information to soak in so that it helps you think about what you are taking pictures and how to actually use more creativity in your photography. It doesn't get into the technical aspects of photography, this book is more about the creative side of photography.

Karen Hartshorn

I turn to this book anytime I am needing a little inspiration to take out my camera and make pictures. It is my favorite photography book.


In general, expressive artists are not known for their ability to write or even teach. Mr. Patterson's artistic abilities as a photographer are plainly evident in the images he provides in this book, and his use of language to convey technique (as well as method) is unbelievably good. ANY photographer with a desire to improve his or her ability to see creatively would benefit from this publication.


I really liked the first few chapters in this book, but then it got rather uninspiring.

Patricia Baxter

This book was recommended to me by a photographer as an excellent one when I asked about learning more about the art of photography. Thanks, Gina for pointing me toward this one!

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