“Andes” by Andrew S. Gibson – e-book review

The author

Andrew S. Gibson should be familiar to Craft and Vision readers. He authored a very popular trilogy of e-books on black and white conversion, as well as “Evocative image”– e-book on effective use of color in your photographs. This time, he comes back to share his travel photographs in “The Print and the Process Series”.

The e-book

After recent complaints about the length of the e-books ;), “Andes” has 75 pages of great advice and 44 beautiful, black and white images. This treatment combined with the subject gives them timeless feeling. They could have been taken last year, or 50 years ago. There is a wide variety of subjects in this portfolio. They are sweeping mountain vistas, architecture, details, human portraits and group photos showing people during traditional festivities. It all combined does great job in showing the place and culture, give a real feeling of the place.

“Andes” is a great example of long lasting photography project. The images in the e-book come from several trips to the region through many years. They are also taken with different gear, some even with a film camera before the author entered the world of digital photography. They were also taken with many different lenses, including primes but also kit lens. Andrew S Gibson shows us the lesson in that. Photography is not about gear. That you can create breathtaking photographs if you focus on the story, not on the limitations of the gear at hand. There are several images where telephoto, if available, would create maybe better image, with more focus and detail, but the wide angle shot captured something more, the ambience of the place. Authors favorite example is a photo of bull fight on the page 8.

There are a few things I do not like in the “Andes”. First, I would prefer to see the same treatment applied to all images in the portfolio. Some of them are classic black and white, some with yellow-blue split tone or sepia. They are mixed with each other without clear separation and it is hard to understand the reasoning for a given treatment for a particular image.
The other thing I did not like is the grid of images on page 3 looks like a contact sheet. It is not. It not only does not contain all the images presented in portfolio, but the images it shows are not in the same order as on the following pages. I suppose I assumed it has the function the author did not intend. But the fact is that the first image described on page 60 is not present in the e-book at all. I wish I could study the details of this image.
UPDATE- the version currently available at Craft and Vision store has the missing image in it!
But this are minor complaints, and none of those things reduces the value of the e-book.

“Andes” is a bit more then just a collection of inspiring travel images. In the “Process” section you can find some practical tips on travelling into remote regions of South America, comments on transportation, safety, health issues. Also in this section, each image is described in detail. There is information on the place, year, gear used to take the image, but also the story behing the image. What it presents and where it was taken and why. There is a wealth of photography tips in this section. In many cases, you can follow author thinking process that led to creation of the image, and some of it is retrospective.

In summary, “Andes” is black and white portfolio of travel images from remote regions of South America with a story. It shows how to execute of photographic project, how to focus on story, not the technical aspects of photography, and fulfill your dreams. The added value comes from author’s advice, both on practical aspects of travel as well as photography. Great value for the price.

The value

“Andes” is available for $5 at Craft and Vision e-book store. But as usual, if you purchase the e-book until August 6th, 2011 (11:59pm PST), and use the promotional codes, you will get extra value. Use code ANDES4 at checkout to get this e-book for just $4, or ANDES20 to get 20% on your purchase of 5 or more e-books from ever growing collection.

Also, visit the contest post on this blog, choose your award winning image suggestion and tell us why you think it is a good candidate for a chance to win $15 gift certificate towards purchase at Craft and Vision store. Apart from e-books, they have iPad apps and prints, so check them out.

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