REVIEW: Understanding Composition

24th February 2015
Understanding Composition is a book which sets out to reveal the secrets of photographic composition. Mulligan sets out his ideas in the book describing the complete process he uses in his landscape photography to this effect.

However, I found the descriptions to be very simplistic and the ideas to be very basic within the pages - the book was more of a "how to take a photograph" manual than an in depth treatise on compositional theory. It covers the basic concepts and theories reasonably well in this regard, but the book lacks sparkle. There is little inspiring about it, and the photographs contained within are largely uninspiring.

When I look at a book on photography, especially one that is supposed to cast light on something as fundamental as composition, I want the images to inspire and encourage. These were at best average, they didn't make me want to learn about the techniques used and the text was largely out of date with only passing reference to digital technology and an author more set on his large format film photography than anything else.

Would I recommend this book to anyone? In a word, no. For a beginner there are considerably better books out there, and for anyone beyond that point this book contains nothing new or ground breaking. I had great hopes for a book with this title and was left with nothing but disappointment.

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