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Review: Photography Q&A By Zack Arias

Remember that one neighbor kid who kept you from making bad decisions? You know, the one who suggested maybe the umbrella wouldn’t slow you down if you jumped off the roof. In the world of photography, that voice of reason is Zack Arias.

Zack Arias is an amazing photographer and educator who teaches a sensible approach to photography. He believes that photography is about a solid foundation, and not the latest gear.

Last August, Zack created a tumblr dedicated to taking photographer’s questions and answering them in his trademark no-nonsense manner. We about lost our minds when we found out he was turning the tumblr into a book, Photography Q&A. After a brief conversation on Twitter, Zack sent us a copy, and since it arrived we haven’t been able to put it down.

With Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers. Zack Arias has done something truly incredible. He made a how-to guide about photography that is 100% unique. It wasn’t written by some ghostwriter in an ivory tower; it’s not designed to sell you on the next best thing; and it never promises to be a magic tome that will teach you the way to fame and fortune. Photography Q&A is exactly what the title says. It’s a conversation with one of the most honest personalities in the business.

The book is smartly laid out, and interestingly written. It is broken into easily digestible sections, and cuts its written portions with gorgeous photography and “Visual Intermissions.” Topics discussed range from the practical, like gear and exposure, to the more obscure, like how photography can kill your relationships. It is less of a Photography 101 course, and more of a private tutor.

The book is a delight, and should be mandatory reading for every photographer, new or old. If you’re new to the art, it is like getting a cup of coffee with someone who has been in the business twenty years and is willing to tell you the honest truth. If you’re part of the photography old guard, it’s like meeting a colleague for a beer to compare war wounds. Either way it is well worth the price of admission.