Book review:

The Suffering of Light by Alex Webb.

The title of the book comes from a Goethe quote: “Colors are the deeds and suffering of light.” This book is not about a place, or a specific subject, or even a theme. It is about a way of seeing in color. As I understand it, Goethe believed that colors emerged from the tension between lightness and darkness, a notion that has always intrigued me. – Alex Webb

One of the most basic things that a photographer should do and something that I always tell my students, is to learn from the great masters.

They are great masters not only because they belong to elite agencies such as magnum and have published in international magazines, but more importantly because they have years, often decades of experience.

That experience is very valuable because they probably have already gone through all the photographic stages that you are going through or will go through. And in those stages, in which one might hesitate between color and black and white or the use of zooms vs. fixed focal points is where the real learning takes place.

Alex Webb, self-proclaimed “Street photographer”, is possibly one of the most recognised photographers in this branch of photography and that is partly because of his continued curiosity about the medium itself.

“The suffering of light” is one of those essential works where the author explores light, color and composition beyond a specific story. In chronological order, this book brings together thirty years of pure photography with an almost philosophical vision of the subject that makes you navigate through lines, shadows, colours and sensations that, at the very least, can help inspire you.

Another advantage that books have is that you can see the work of the authors printed, and in this book, you will be able to appreciate Webb’s photography at a considerable size and quality, and study and enjoy the innumerable details and subtleties that the photographer captures in each shot represented in the book.

In short, “The suffering of light” by Alex Webb is 100% recommendable: a worthy piece of collection that will not only help you understand and learn compositional technique and attention to detail, but in which you will also be able to reflect on the almost philosophical importance of light and color in photography.

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