[M]ark Twain is reported to have said “Don't let schooling interfere with your education”. This reflects my thinking perfectly, I'm not a big believer in school but a tremendous one in education. Heck I always have a backlog of ebooks and audiobooks that never seem to shrink! I'm also huge believer in textbooks, I somewhat think that they are the secret to the classroom, know the textbook, know what the class is about. Here a 3 superb photography textbooks that anybody who is serious about photography should have and read.
The manual of photography
Focal Press is one of my favorite publishers and this title does not disappoint. This textbook is such a wealth of knowledge, you will know more than you bargained for in photography. Some parts of course can be tedious but well worth it, it's the kind of information you won't find around the net, making the entry price acceptable. This book is robust and will offer you a deep understanding of photography from wavelengths to field of view. Avoid if you are not serious about photography.
Price: $50 @ Amazon
The Langford photography series
Wheras The Manual of Photography might be a tough pill to swallow, Langford provides a different alternative: Different books for different levels. The books take you down the rabbit hole depending on if you want to: Langford's Starting Photography provides great basics and suitable to the novice, Langford's Advanced Photography leans towards the style of The Manual of Photography and suitable to the more advanced. The Langford books are great for the novices because each book increases the amount of information and are not overwhelming like the first that goes cold turkey. Whatever the level, all of the books offer a wealth of information, even the “Starting photography” one. Also by Focal Press
Price: Starting Photography $17 // Basic Photography $24 // Advanced Photography $39 @ Amazon
Kenneth Kobre's Photojournalism: The professional approach
Also from Focal Press (Seeing a pattern here?) this is a must have book. The previous books treat photography on general terms but this books gives you the behind the scenes access to professional photojournalism. Even if you never plan to be a photojournalist, this book is helpful and timeless, showing you how to tell a story in pictures, something that we all do at a party or other event. There are sections about pro photojournalism (“How to get published, how to get the shots, etc) but most sections are applicable in any situation (Telling a story, how to get the best angles, Best moments etc). One of the best parts of the book in my opinion is about the moral implications of photographs. Should you print a photograph of a grieving family to bring awareness to pool drowning? Etc. Includes a DVD with some stories and a great interview with the founder of Visa pour L'Image. He is heavy on opinion and does not mince words. He has some valid points on media priming the latest Lady Gaga photos over humanitarian ones. If you're interested in photojournalism some must watch documentaries can be seen here, here and here.
Price: $45 @ Amazon