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Visual Poetry: A Creative Guide for Making Engaging Digital Photographs

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A great photograph has the potential to transcend verbal and written language. But how do you create these photographs? It's not the how that's important, but the who and the what. Who you are as a person has a direct impact on what you capture as a photographer. Whether you are an amateur or professional, architect or acupuncturist, physician or photographer, this guide pr A great photograph has the potential to transcend verbal and written language. But how do you create these photographs? It's not the how that's important, but the who and the what. Who you are as a person has a direct impact on what you capture as a photographer. Whether you are an amateur or professional, architect or acupuncturist, physician or photographer, this guide provides inspiration, simple techniques, and assignments to boost your creative process and improve your digital images using natural light without additional gear. Chris Orwig's insights--to reduce and simplify, participate rather than critique, and capture a story--have made him an immensely popular workshop speaker and faculty member at the prestigious Brooks Institute. His engaging stories presented as lessons follow his classroom approach and highlight what students say is his contagious passion for life. In this accessible and beautifully illustrated four-color guide you will: Discover visual poetry in the creative process Use less to say more with your subject matter Learn to see light, color, shape, and expression Understand what gear is essential Create compelling portraits Make lasting memories of your family and kids Capture the outdoors and adventure Begin the transition from amateur to professional Chris also includes exclusive interviews with such photographers as: Steve McCurry, Chris Rainier, John Sexton, Rodney Smith, Joyce Tenneson, John Paul Caponigro, Marc Riboud, and Pete Turner. Share your work with the author and other readers at www.flickr.com/groups/visual-poet and visit the Web site: www.visual-poet.com.


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A great photograph has the potential to transcend verbal and written language. But how do you create these photographs? It's not the how that's important, but the who and the what. Who you are as a person has a direct impact on what you capture as a photographer. Whether you are an amateur or professional, architect or acupuncturist, physician or photographer, this guide pr A great photograph has the potential to transcend verbal and written language. But how do you create these photographs? It's not the how that's important, but the who and the what. Who you are as a person has a direct impact on what you capture as a photographer. Whether you are an amateur or professional, architect or acupuncturist, physician or photographer, this guide provides inspiration, simple techniques, and assignments to boost your creative process and improve your digital images using natural light without additional gear. Chris Orwig's insights--to reduce and simplify, participate rather than critique, and capture a story--have made him an immensely popular workshop speaker and faculty member at the prestigious Brooks Institute. His engaging stories presented as lessons follow his classroom approach and highlight what students say is his contagious passion for life. In this accessible and beautifully illustrated four-color guide you will: Discover visual poetry in the creative process Use less to say more with your subject matter Learn to see light, color, shape, and expression Understand what gear is essential Create compelling portraits Make lasting memories of your family and kids Capture the outdoors and adventure Begin the transition from amateur to professional Chris also includes exclusive interviews with such photographers as: Steve McCurry, Chris Rainier, John Sexton, Rodney Smith, Joyce Tenneson, John Paul Caponigro, Marc Riboud, and Pete Turner. Share your work with the author and other readers at www.flickr.com/groups/visual-poet and visit the Web site: www.visual-poet.com.

30 review for Visual Poetry: A Creative Guide for Making Engaging Digital Photographs

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    I have so many post-it notes lining the perimeters of this book's pages that it looks like a textbook! While a lot of the material in Chris's book is the kind of overview seasoned photographers would read, roll their eyes at and say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know it all already", what they would miss is how much passion Chris puts into all — his words, his art, not to mention how much he cares about others pursuing the art he loves so much. There are lots of tidbits in here that made me wish I coul I have so many post-it notes lining the perimeters of this book's pages that it looks like a textbook! While a lot of the material in Chris's book is the kind of overview seasoned photographers would read, roll their eyes at and say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know it all already", what they would miss is how much passion Chris puts into all — his words, his art, not to mention how much he cares about others pursuing the art he loves so much. There are lots of tidbits in here that made me wish I could take Chris out for coffee and a chat, but this is one that really spoke to me. Chris talks about getting ready to get married and someone telling him to enjoy life pre-marriage, because "it's all downhill from here". And another time, someone decided to give him a really nasty critique of some photos he was very proud of, telling him, "You'll never make it far." And this was the realization Chris had: "The advice stung both times. It was an insult to who I am, how I love, how I live, and what I create. I was at first infuriated: Who do you think you are? Then it dawned on me. I repeated the word "who" and it all made sense. I softened and was even a bit sad for these sorry souls. I finally understood their advice was autobiographical. They were telling me their story; their marriage wasn't good, their photo career never left the ground. "As for me, I will never live someone else's drab and dreary life. My time on Earth is my own. And I will dream impossible dreams, I will love until it hurts, I will never give up and come hell or high water, I will find a way."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A good all around photography book with clear, uncomplicated writing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Arminzerella

    An accessible introduction to digital photography that avoids being overly complicated or cumbersome. Chris Orwig offers advice, enthusiasm, inspiration, techniques, tips, and words of wisdom to encourage new photographers and photography enthusiasts. Take away messages: use the equipment you have, practice your craft, take photos at every opportunity, get to know your subjects, find a unique way of seeing, photograph what interests you, be an interesting person (interesting people find interest An accessible introduction to digital photography that avoids being overly complicated or cumbersome. Chris Orwig offers advice, enthusiasm, inspiration, techniques, tips, and words of wisdom to encourage new photographers and photography enthusiasts. Take away messages: use the equipment you have, practice your craft, take photos at every opportunity, get to know your subjects, find a unique way of seeing, photograph what interests you, be an interesting person (interesting people find interesting places and have the opportunities to make interesting photos), and, if this is your passion, follow it and don’t ever give up. Beautiful book - includes many illustrative photos to help spark creativity, interviews with other professional photographers, and assignments to get you taking pictures right away. Chris Orwig is obviously passionate about what he does. I think I would be, too, if I were a photographer. Some of the enthusiasm and encouragement is a bit over the top, but for the most part I found Chris’ suggestions helpful – particularly with regard to working with manual camera settings, investing in equipment (use what have/what you can afford!), and just getting out there. He may have the technical details and background, but he doesn’t overwhelm you with it – that’s good news for novices.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maxmilion Sperlich

    A lot of good ideas

  5. 5 out of 5

    EJ

    Chris Orwig drew me in with his images but kept me reading with his words and obvious love of literature. Through out the book, Visual Poetry Chris Orwig compares the creative process of photography to the creative process of writing. The pages are litered with quotes from famous photographers and writers alike. Along with Orwig's advice there are guest speakers through out the book. Photographers famous for their style and work lend their guidence and experience for the reader. I respect artist Chris Orwig drew me in with his images but kept me reading with his words and obvious love of literature. Through out the book, Visual Poetry Chris Orwig compares the creative process of photography to the creative process of writing. The pages are litered with quotes from famous photographers and writers alike. Along with Orwig's advice there are guest speakers through out the book. Photographers famous for their style and work lend their guidence and experience for the reader. I respect artists that feature other artists in their book; it shows a gracious and open attitude. The topics in this book are as follows: Poetry and Photography Creativity and photography Learning to See Camera Creativity and Technique Portraits Kids and Family Weddings Travel Action and Outdoors Found Objects and Subjects Camera Gear The Path to Becoming Professional Visual Poetry was able to do one thing that most photography books have not been able to...inspire me. Not just once but continually. I constantly find myself coming back to the workshops at the end of the chapters for a refresher or just an excuse to take my camera out. I would highly recommend this book to amateurs, and students or the professional who feels burnt out. This will refresh or motivate anyone passionate about photography. 2016- now 6 years later I have used this book time and time again. A lifetime read and my creative companion. It's layered with pen marks and highlighter ... A book I'll always cherish as it played such a pivotal role in my life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cams

    This was recommended to me by a photographer whose work I follow and whom I met through the On Taking Pictures podcast. I know of Chris Orwig through his Lightroom tutorials on Lynda.com. I took his Lightroom course for Lightroom 1.0 and have stuck with that software and what I learned from Chris ever since. I read this book over a couple of days in peace and tranquillity and Chris's words really hit home. A lot of it reads like cliché, but, in the peace and quiet, I'm reminded that clichés beco This was recommended to me by a photographer whose work I follow and whom I met through the On Taking Pictures podcast. I know of Chris Orwig through his Lightroom tutorials on Lynda.com. I took his Lightroom course for Lightroom 1.0 and have stuck with that software and what I learned from Chris ever since. I read this book over a couple of days in peace and tranquillity and Chris's words really hit home. A lot of it reads like cliché, but, in the peace and quiet, I'm reminded that clichés become so because they are essentially true. Follow your dreams, be creative above all, all that sort of thing. He writes in a style that is accessible and uses a lot of well-known quotations that illustrate his points. This works well. I only wish that the Kindle version had bigger images. I read it on my iPad and the images illustrating his points are thumbnails. There is a wealth of follow-up material that I haven't checked out, but hope to when time permits. I can see that the assignments could make me a better photographer too.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robert Cristobal

    Chris is the most generous creative person that I could think of. The ideas and inspiration that he shares in this book is priceless. I actually went 4 times to the bookstore to check if its still there because I'm saving a budget for it. And finally when I got my hands on it, its worth the wait. I have just finished reading the third chapter but the amount of inspiration I got is already worth a whole library of creative photography. I would highly recommend this book to any aspiring and profess Chris is the most generous creative person that I could think of. The ideas and inspiration that he shares in this book is priceless. I actually went 4 times to the bookstore to check if its still there because I'm saving a budget for it. And finally when I got my hands on it, its worth the wait. I have just finished reading the third chapter but the amount of inspiration I got is already worth a whole library of creative photography. I would highly recommend this book to any aspiring and professional photographers in the field. And I noticed this book was published on my birthday.. cool!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dana Larose

    It was pretty good, although I thought the author maybe spent a bit too much time attempting to be inspiring. It kind of felt like 2/3 of the book was the author talking about how awesome his life is. Like you can't be a good photographer unless you're a surfing, rock-climbing world traveller whose parents were bohemian artists. On the other hand, he's definitely enthusiastic about his craft. Perhaps the problem is that this was recommended as a followup to Understanding Exposure for someone lear It was pretty good, although I thought the author maybe spent a bit too much time attempting to be inspiring. It kind of felt like 2/3 of the book was the author talking about how awesome his life is. Like you can't be a good photographer unless you're a surfing, rock-climbing world traveller whose parents were bohemian artists. On the other hand, he's definitely enthusiastic about his craft. Perhaps the problem is that this was recommended as a followup to Understanding Exposure for someone learning to shoot. Whereas this is more of a guide for semi-pro and wannabe pros to develop passion in their career. I can see myself referring to the practical advice sections now and again.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katsu

    For me this book is to much poetic. I like more concrete type of writing. Lot of normal dependencies or situations are here described with no concrete sense but from some artistic view. Photos are also not on very high level in my opinion. There are some great ones but also once I would called poor. But fact is that some of this poetic bullshit is very useful. For example lot of quotes about believing in yourself, need of friends and family support and other self-believe advices. It also has a great For me this book is to much poetic. I like more concrete type of writing. Lot of normal dependencies or situations are here described with no concrete sense but from some artistic view. Photos are also not on very high level in my opinion. There are some great ones but also once I would called poor. But fact is that some of this poetic bullshit is very useful. For example lot of quotes about believing in yourself, need of friends and family support and other self-believe advices. It also has a great number of links and names of other photographers that can be great inspiration. All in all I didn't like so much text but spirit and links/names library are big advantage.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Deigh

    I found the first 4 chapters of this book hard to put down and the beginning of each additional chapter was well written and I think followed the theme of the book but then the author would slide off into techy stuff almost and the quality just seemed to drop off. I also got very tired of all the quotes - almost like he was name dropping. I did like the interviews that come at the end of each chapter and the web site links.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    I enjoyed a lot of this book. I especially appreciated the recommendations of other photographers to check out and the "guest lecturers" part of it. I didn't like that it was so personalized towards the author's specific interests (a ton of talk about how "so and so is the greatest surfer who ever lived and an inspiration to us all" accompanying the surfer's photo). He also talks a lot about outdoor athletics. I wish he'd talked more about his family and shared more photos of them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andy Lawless

    Chris demonstrate how the creative process for a photographer is similar to that of the creative process used by writers. Chris offers inspiration, advise, techniques, and bits of wisdom from the many quotes from famous writers and photographer that can be found scatter throughout the book. Chris has set up a Flickr group for reader to share their assignments. Good guide for armature semi-pro to develop passion in their career.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hyrum

    I was captivated by this book. I like the assignments given at the end of each chapter and the additional websites for further study and review. Chris Orwig has a more philosophical approach to photography. He mixes the technical with the emotional. I like how Orwig chose to instruct professional and aspiring photographers to look at themselves at search why they like to take pictures and to apply their emotion to photography rather than techniques.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    This book is exactly what I needed to push forward with my work. I was hesitant to buy it, worried that it might be a how-to book with a syrupy title, but I was really happy to discover the title isn't syrupy in this case, it's genuine! And it's not really a how-to book either, it's a collection of Orwig's own thoughts and reflections embracing passion and life, infused with helpful tips and exercises. Guessing this book was a passion project for him! It shows.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Chris Orwig has established himself as a teacher and one of the inner circle frequented by the likes of DuChemin, Kelby and others. Visual Poetry had many sections that did little to fire my interest and I quickly tired of the incessant quotes. At other times the book inspired me to think differently and to revisit some old themes. All in all, I'd give it a B-

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

    I really enjoyed this book. It's filled with useful tips. But the greatest thing for those of us who don't have the time or resources to take a photography class are the assignments. At the end of the first several chapters he gives plenty if assignments and he has a Flickr group set up for the readers to share their assignments.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Francesca Russell

    A lot of the material in this book was review, but the author also has some ideas and suggestions for getting great photos that were new to me, and helped jog some inspiration. I like the assignments at the end of each chapter - not all are helpful, but many are, and I am excited to get out shooting again to see what new images I can come up with. Recommended!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abdul

    I have always enjoyed Chris Orwig's work. He is also an instructor on Linda.com. This book is filled with practical photography tips that you can use. It is not a how to book per se but more of a practical/theory type book. Gave it 3 stars because I actually learned some new things from two of the chapters.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I had been eyeing this at the bookstore for months. I got it for Christmas last year. The I finally picked it up last week and read a chapter each night. It is more of a pep talk that real advice. And sometimes that is OK. I need to get excited and motivated to really try to give professional photography a go.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Don

    It is relatively easy to write about photography techniques, but it is another thing to write about finding your own visual voice. "Visual Poetry" accomplishes this in a well written book that I am sure to refer to frequently. Putting a 'soul' into an image, telling a story, conveying emotion, translating a feeling, this is what great photography is all about.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This is part photography, part auto-biography, and part personal philosophy. I liked all of it. If you like photography, but want something more than a how-to book, this is very different and "personal."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I was given this book along with my first "real" camera. I found it very inspiring and not at all intimidating or complicated. Chris Orwig writes about his love for photography and gives you ideas to use in your own practice. At no point does he get too technical.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sharada Prasad

    It is a great book. It covers various themes and orients you to different genres you might want to pursue as a photographer. I also liked the workshop approach of the book. A very good reference. As usual, I would have loved to have the exposure details of the photographs in the book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christy Woolum

    The book has been a huge help in understand the process of photography.I refer back to this book often for ideas of how to set up pictures differently. He also has a Flickr site that you can post pictures using the assignments from his book. A must read for all photographers.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    So inspirational. I just purchased it. Not necessarily a lot of technical how to in here, but a lot of creative inspiration. I loved the writing and found Chris Orwigs excitment and passion for photography and the creative process contagious. This one will be marked, read, re-read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    A measure of how much I loved this book is the amount I've written in it as I carry on a conversation with the book. This is a book to read and think about, to help open your eyes so you really see what you are looking at.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cindy May

    It's a very interesting, motivating book about photography. It's less about the nuts and bolts. There are other books that can teach that. Instead, this is more about how to set up those fabulous shots, what to look for, and how to capture them.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shelli

    I am really excited about this book. I have just read the introduction and can already feel the energy. I love books that get you excited from the beginning.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Section I found most useful was the pointers on taking photographs of kids.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    Was looking for something to help inspire my photography, actually enjoyed the advice and look forward to applying it.

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