Photography In The Digital Age by Hugh J. Lawton

Photography in the Digital Age is a very thorough and scientific dissection of the history of photography and how it has changed with the advent of the great equalizer: the digital age. As such, this is a textbook type resource suitable for classrooms or for those with a desire to fully understand nearly every aspect of the subject of photography. Those seeking an introduction to learning photography or tips on how to take better photographs would be better suited to less comprehensive but friendlier books like Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure.


The book breaks down as follows: Introduction, Symbol Creation, The Digital Revolution, Fiat Lux – Let There be Light, The Science of Image Capture, The Art of Image Capture, The Narrative. Within those main sections, a wide range of topics are discussed: Innovation in computer technology, photo editing software, ink based photo printing, light, the mythological view, the scientific view, scientific history of light, black and white color spaces, HSB color space, exposure and the zone system, standard exposure model, filters and pre exposure, artificial light, measuring the light, visual language and style, composition process, and more. At the back are appendices with exposure values and a data sheet.

The book is, honestly, very dense. A sample sentence in the beginning is a good example of the tone and writing: “interestingly, however, those who embrace the modern possibilities of printing and processing in the digital world of photography, no matter how computerized or software-ized, still utilize many of the basic principles developed and written by those many visionaries who have experimented and failed and succeeded in an ever evolving field — such as, for example, Ansel Adams and his zone system.” It’s a lot to take on casually but at the same time, readers will definitely have a one-stop resource for everything they ever needed to know about photography history and science – and how it is changing in the modern age.

Graphically, we have a bog standard textbook presentation. Surprisingly but perhaps tellingly, images accompanying text are of famous photographers and not their works. As such, the sheer amount of text and lack of images (an interesting choice for a book about a visual medium) means this isn’t an inspiration book. It’s a hard tack figures, numbers, concepts, and science.

In all, those who wish for an in depth and thorough discussion on the topic will find all they need in this first volume of what will be a go-to resource for the serious photographer. Those with a more casual interest in the topic might be a bit daunted with the sheer amount of technical and scientific information contained within. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

This entry was posted in ARC, Book Reviews, non fiction, Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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