Blog

Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Quick Quotes: Dan Winters

Lately, I have been reading "Road To Seeing" by Dan Winters. It has been some time since I posted a quote and something he wrote in the book stuck with me.  He was discussing the great W. Eugene Smith's photo essays and realized he would never produce essays like Smith's, recognizing that this was at least partly related to life taking him in a different direction than the path that Smith took:

"It is important for us not to compare our work to the work of others, as challenging as that may be.  It is simply human nature to look outside ourselves, rather than face that which exists internally. Comparison is ego based and unproductive in the long run"

Dan Winters

 
Road to Seeing
By Dan Winters
 

I like that!


What do I think of the book overall?  

A bit of a difficult question.  When I wrote this post and scheduled it for the New Year I was only about a third of the way through the book.  Now I'm two thirds of the way through and my opinion is a bit different.  Let me explain.

The first part of the book is focused on Winter's adolescence and early adult life as he winds his way through finding his calling and 'advancing' through the various stages of becoming the renowned photographer he is today. It is this part of his writing that I found most compelling, as it includes insights into 'seeing' and interpreting life via photographs.

The middle third of the book, where he talks about specific 'celebrity' shoots, how they evolved, and his ideas behind each of the sessions I found far less compelling. Yes, it was of some interest to hear Winter's thought process behind each shoot but the section lost, at least for me, the message value.  Maybe it is because I don't shoot many portraits.  Maybe it is because I won't find myself photographing celebrities. At any rate, I found the focus to be more on the celebrity than the 'bigger' message.

And of course none of this should detract from the fact that the photographs are both beautiful and beautifully reproduced.

At almost 700 pages it is hardly a quick read, but, as we said in high school, it goes quickly because there are lots of (gorgeous) photos. At $60 it also isn't a 'casual' book purchase. I hesitate to give a final opinion as I still have another third or so of the book to go, but I would have to say that though it has 4.5/5 stars on Amazon I would personally only give it a 3 overall, though it clearly has 5 star moments!