When I was the chief photographer for The Gallup Independent I brought Michael Fagans on board. He had a lot of great ideas in his shooting, and was a good addition to the staff. After a while it was time for him to move on to other things and he kept shooting images. When the newspaper industry decided that skilled photojournalists were not what they wanted he was one of the "victims." When I heard about it I had a bit of a panic attack for him. I know that if I had not already made my other career plans and I suddenly found myself not working I would be at such a loss. But then I am not Mike.
In the mail today came my brand new, first edition copy of The iPhone Photographer: How to take Professional Photographs with Your iPhone. By Michael Fagans. After only a quick glance through the book I have to say it will be a reference for me to revisit on a regular basis. It reminds me of David LaBelle's The Great Picture Hunt and Photosynthesis - A Simple Guide to the Magic of Photography by Bryan Moss. With each chapter being an easily digestible chunk of only a few pages, and a host of great example images this is a simple book to sit and browse through, but be prepared to get sucked into it because it is hard to put down.
This book is not a book about which app to use (though Mike is keen on Hipstamatic). It is not about how to move your images from your phone to the current trendy social media app, or how to get your phone camera to give sharper images in low light. The book is not even much about using a phone - iPhone or otherwise - to take photos. Instead the book is about the ideas behind the images. Mike is telling a story with his photos, and he lets us see a bit of the thought process behind the images, how the decisions were made and the considerations of what makes the image successful. By his personal insight and intimate voice he shares some of the other things that go into making photos. There are plenty, perhaps too many, of books out there already explaining focal length and shutter speeds, ISO and digital noise. Scott Kelby has done and redone the books on how to work an image once it is recorded and on your computer screen. This book is more a look at how the image gets into the camera, whether it is a cell phone, a point & shoot, or a DSLR. When I asked Mike what the focus of the book was recently, he said it was trying to get at the piece of photographic equipment that is between the ears. And that is exactly what he has done.
Well done, Mike.
The rest of you, find a copy of the book from Amazon and sit back to enjoy it.