Wedding Storyteller, Volume 1
by roberto valenzuela
rocky nook | 384 pp.
One popular trend in photographic education, and the scores
of new book titles that splash along in its wake, has been to
mingle instruction with first-person narratives. The authors,
experienced teachers and veteran shooters apparently trust
their own career journeys as the basis for meaningful teacher-
student dialogue. Photographers are inveterate talkers, and
the power of anecdote and personal experience is often more
useful than the boilerplate textbook approach for unpacking
the mysteries of our craft. Popular portrait and wedding imaging maven Roberto
Valenzuela is on this same page with his Wedding Storyteller, Volume 1.
This book is the launch of Valenzuela’s three-volume series devoted to what
he’s calling his “Three-Part Skill Components Program,” and, even though it has
his private stamp of the formula approach to creative work (as we saw in his
Picture Perfect Posing, Picture Perfect Lighting, etc.), here he seems to default to
the human, subjective foundation a photographer brings to this specialty. It’s still
as informative as ever.
If you know Valenzuela’s work, which is likely given the best-selling stardom
he’s enjoyed for the last few years, then you know that this book series will
cover all the bases, ranging from the crucial client relationships and the
underpinnings of the wedding trade to the minutiae of controlling a bit of light
reflecting onto a pensive bride from the walls of some hotel suite. All of this is
driven by the distinctive theme of telling stories—from an author who’s created a
comprehensive learning experience by telling his own.
Finding a Narrative
BY JIM CORNFIELD
Female Photographers Now
by fiona rogers & max houghton
thames & hudson | 240 pp.
This recent release is only in part a
gesture toward giving women
shooters parity in the fine-art world
with the men who have traditionally
dominated the field. In assembling
this daring collection, the two
editors have pushed up to the front
row some extraordinary talent, names probably unfamiliar
to most of us—Haley Morris-Cafiero, Corinna Kern, Endia
Beal, Juno Calypso, Chloe Dewe Mathews and a couple
dozen more. All women photographers, yes, but the
theme that truly bonds them is less feminism than it is a
shared instinct to delineate the world in dark visual
monologues—arresting and fairly shocking vignettes of
femininity, maleness and life in our times. This book is an
aesthetic tour de force and an encyclopedia of dazzling
in-camera and after-capture effects.
Black & White Photography
by michael freeman
ilex | 192 pp.
With so many of us growing up on
color-centric digital imaging, it’s difficult
to inculcate younger photographers with
the remarkable power of black and white—
especially the idea that color is the
ambient force residing in all monochrome
photography, you just can’t see it with
your conventional sensory array. Color is always there.
Michael Freeman, in one of several recent entries into
this area of photo literature—and not specifically trying
to redeem our youth from their monochrome-blindness—
demonstrates the signature acuity of his notions about
the physics and the aesthetics of yet another endlessly
fascinating photographic topic. As always, he is
meticulous and readable, cerebral in his approach, and
lavish in his use of explanatory graphics. A must-have for
every photographer’s bookshelf.
ABOVE: “Masterful wedding storytelling encompasses more than just technical
knowledge,” reads the introduction to Roberto Valenzuelas’s latest book. “It relies
on an inquisitive mind, heart, and soul.”