Although obviously a book which promotes the benefits of photography to help achieve wellbeing, I would definitely say that there is much more focus on the former part than the latter. It was perhaps a touch surprising to find this book far heavier on the practical than the spiritual or therapeutic; I would go as far as to say that this is probably 80% practical guide to amateur photography, if written by an author clearly in touch with the practice of mindfulness. In this respect, Lee does combine the two to some extent, although I couldn’t help thinking that the application of mindfulness in this context could perhaps have been identically applied to any pastime of creative expression. I felt it attempted more actively to advise readers to bring wellbeing and mindfulness into their day-to-day routine and actual practice of seeking out a shot, rather than using the actual photography itself as a way of fostering wellbeing. To summarize simply, I believe this book will be of far greater benefit to the amateur photographer than it will to the practitioner of mindfulness – if you are conscious of your own wellbeing, all the better, but unless you have a genuine interest in photography, perhaps it won’t be what you are looking for. That said, it is part of a series, and if some sections of this title are anything to go by, I am sure you will find something by Lee which better reflects your own personal balance.
As a photography guide, however, it is a very good resource, with some fantastic tips and tricks of the trade. Its real strength, for me, is to share how photography can be fulfilling for those who are interested, using equipment even as basic as a smartphone. I have no knowledge whatsoever of photography, so I will defer to Lee’s expertise as far as the technicalities go – I am in no doubt whatsoever that he definitely knows what he is talking out, and is clearly a very passionate photographer. The jargon might be a tiny bit confusing for the absolute beginner, and I therefore suggest it may be more suited to somebody with at least a basic knowledge. It did strike me as difficult to imagine reading this book through, then putting its advice into practice; I think a far more effective use would be to have it on your person when you go out to find your shot, then refer to it in context. If you are an enthusiast, I am sure that it is an incredibly useful tool for your working library.
A well-written book, and one that I have to say I found entertaining, I am certain that it is very worthwhile and useful content by the author – I acknowledge that, even as someone who has no interest in photography, and perhaps would have been more swayed to read it by the small wellbeing aspect. On another note, I was surprised not to see a lot more photographs in the book – one thing the digital age has taught us is that imagery embeds your message in the reader far more effectively than simple written content, and it would have been nice to see some examples of Lee’s work – specifically in the context of correlating it to the wellbeing aspect. Overall though, a good book, with definite value for the amateur photographer.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: lee-aspland non-fiction wellbeing mindfulness therapeutic photography amateur-photography psychology self-help