Criticizing Photographs by Terry Barrett

Rating: ***** (5 out of 5)

Background: As a visual arts student with an emphasis on Photography, just starting my masters on Museum and Curatorial Studies, I’d classify my knowledge about criticism as mid-level. I wanted to know more about the methodologies and approaches used in professional criticism, and my research led me to this book.

Review: Criticizing Photographs does exactly what it proposes to do: help students develop their skills and learn to recognize thoughtful and well-written art criticism. It takes an unpretentious look at what makes a good critical text, how to write for your audience, the differences between criticism, interpretation and taste, while also providing examples of different movements within the critical field.

To fully understand this book you need to have a background knowledge of Photography, as the author uses a lot of specific examples, not all of which are presented as photographs in the book, so I wouldn’t recommend this for someone just starting out. However, for students who wish to further their skills with an easy to read, helpful guide, this book is definitely recommended.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been absent from the blog and, sadly, from reading books as well. As such, I found it hard to write as thoughtful a review as I usually would, specially considering just how much I liked this book. Hopefully, after the crazy month of September I’ll have more opportunities to get back into the swing of things. In the meantime, I started reading The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, which will be an interesting book to talk about… Also, I have a few projects coming up. More on that soon!


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