Reviewer Robert 'Bob' Bluffield : Robert is a UK author/general writer and photographer living in the English Home Counties. His latest book Imperial Airways – The Birth of the British Airline Industry 1914-1940 was published in October 2009 by Ian Allan and was quickly acclaimed Book of the Month in two leading aviation magazines. Although he has a strong interest in civil aviation history; Bob also writes informatively about food, social history, current affairs, photography, travel, motoring and business for a variety of consumer and specialist publications and websites. He has previously written three other books on photography and business and is currently working on a political/social history of 'Broken Britain' during the first decade of the 21sr century as well as his first novel. Follow HERE to learn more about Robert or HERE to visit his writing site. Robert also has several blogs, one of which you can follow HERE.
As a practising
professional photographer I am sometimes a little mystified over the
publication of some books of this kind. This is a large book printed
on heavy gloss pages and whilst some of the photography is mildly
evocative, much of the remainder leaves me cold and unless I have
missed the point, appears rather amateurish. I have to question who
would actually buy this book apart from the author’s devout
The author claims on the cover that ‘the transformative photographer must approach his subject with a comprehensive, evolutionary, detached but warm love, coupled with humour and an ability to leave things unaltered and fundamentally free’. This suggests to me that the book has fundamentally been an excuse to cram as many photographs between the covers as he could under a belief that it is some kind of mystic art. I may be totally wrong in this assumption and stand to be corrected but the hefty volume did absolutely nothing for me.
In the press release that accompanied the book, it says ‘Simhananda unveils the mystery behind transformative photography’ and goes on to suggest ‘…the very idea of ‘ordinariness’ is really nothing short of ‘extraordinary’. Hmm, I am still lost by this.
The book is divided into 15 themes that are meant to take the viewer upon a symbolic journey with the aid of the author’s commentary but I am afraid I do not get this either. And, although I agree that the images the book contains are ‘ordinary’ I cannot concur that they are ‘extraordinary’ as they are the kind of photographs that amateur photographers and travellers are taking every day, often with more creative and mood-inspiring results. I was therefore surprised to learn that two of the author’s books have received a Gold at the Nautilus Book Awards in 2008 and 2009. The fact that these awards are given to books that ‘Promote Spiritual Growth, Conscious Living and Positive Social Change as they stimulate the imagination and inspire the reader to new possibilities for a better world’ (the bold type is as it appears on the Nautilus official website) explains a lot to me. But then I was never a hippy so this might be my problem!
I am sorry if my review of this book appears negative – but I believe my view will be shared by many who have the opportunity to view the contents although I guess it will appeal to more to those involved with the spiritual world.