Review: Stories of Home

I just finished reading the eBook “Stories of Home” by photographer Kate Densmore.
I had been looking forward to reading it for a while, but other things kept distracting me until now. In retrospective that were a bit silly as the lessons learned in this book could have been really useful to have practiced through the long dark winter.

Kate Densmore specializes in taking pictures of families in their “natural habitat” and judging from the many beautiful pictures in the book, she prefers a 35mm lens and really knows how to put it to good use.

The book, coming just short of 200 pages isn’t the kind of book that offers advises about choice of focal length, ISO and other technical stuff, even though these issues does pop up from time to time. No, it is more the kind of book that tells you what to look for when you want to capture the big (and little) moments in family life. So, if you are looking for a recipe-book, Scott Kelby style, you will be disappointing. But, if you are interested in a more guidance oriented approach that more describes which moments to look for and what to try to avoid, you have come to the right place.

Kate Densmore writes in a straight-forward way that describes her way of working in a very private and intimate environment, and the way she writes really emphasizes that this is less about the technical aspects of photography and more about learning to captures moods and telling stories.

The book is split up in three parts, each covering different aspects of the topic:

  • Documentary Family Photography
  • Everyday Fine Art
  • The Art of an Ordinary Day

Each part guides you through the process of capturing the special moments of your family life, be it on special occasions or just a regular day and throughout the book you find beautiful pictures that are used to underline the points made in the text, and you also find some creative exercises, which in some cases seems to have been thrown in as an afterthought. (Or maybe I am just not the kind of guy who throws the book over his shoulder to pursue some creative exercise).

You will also find interviews with three other family photographers, which share their motivation and workflow. This works well as it sometimes gives the same takeaway point, but put in other words.

All in a very good book, well worth the price. it has given me some new inspiration and shown me what family photography can also be. Most people regard family photos as merely snapshots, but maybe we should actually put more effort into these pictures as they really cover the most precious moments in life. As Kate Densmore writes in the conclusion:

“Treat your everyday images like art. Respect yourself and what you do, and honor your story and the story of those you love. No one is ever going to care about your work unless you care, deeply.”

I highly recommend reading this book. You can buy it over at Craft & Vision

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