My top 4 creative reads for photographers in 2018

Looking back over my reading list on Kindle for 2018 there are 4 books that really stood out for me as the most interesting and inspiring books I read all year.

My top 4 creative reads for photographers in 2018 were;

  1. Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

  2. Blink By Malcolm Gladwell

  3. Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a daily practice in photography By David Ulrich

  4. The Soul of the Camera: The photographers place in picture taking By David duChemin

I found the message in each of these books so powerful and absorbing, that I am either re-reading again at the moment or plan to in 2019. My choice of reading material wasn’t planned or intentional in so far as I didn’t research “creative reads for photographers” I just happened upon these books in the course of the year. As I was thinking about sharing these 4 books with you I realised that the common unifying theme is honouring your heart and soul, and trusting your inner wisdom.

Elizabeth Gilbert shares in her book Big Magic that she believes every person has creative treasures buried deep inside them waiting to be discovered. However these treasures do not get discovered and fully realised by chance, she challenges the reader to show up consistently and to put in the work to bear their creative fruits. She does not believe that artists should rely on inspiration to strike them at random in order for them create good and interesting work. She encourages us to work when we don’t feel inspired and to follow even the smallest sparks of inspiration as you never know where it might lead!

In Blink Malcolm Gladwell talks about trusting your inner sense and “knowing” or instant belief about something. We often don’t know why we know something but often the snap judgement our brain makes is actually recognising the truth or real meaning in a situation. Malcolm Gladwell explores this phenomenon using lots of interesting real-life examples.

In his book Zen Camera, David Ulrich outlines 6 lessons for looking inwards and reflecting on your work in order to create in a more authentic way. He follows the principles of Zen practice and applies this to photography. His gentle, mindful approach to discovering your inner artist is really appealing.

David duChemin explains in his book Soul of the Camera that to create better photographs the artist should be infusing their work with soul. Our vision and humanity expressed in our photos is what the viewer ultimately connects with, not how technically perfect the image is. As artists our focus should fall to reflecting ourselves in an authentic way through our photographs.

The books are listed in no particular order but if I were to suggest an order in which to read them I would say; Blink, Big Magic, The Soul of the Camera and lastly Zen Camera.

Blink and Zen Camera connect the loop of reading material beautifully because in Blink we are encouraged to trust our inner sense, then in the Zen Camera we are encouraged to follow it.

I hope you find these books as inspiring as I have and please let me know what you think!

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