Just finished reading Dan Winters 'Road to seeing'. As a photography books goes, this has had massive hype in the photographic community and whilst it is well written and his subjects generally interesting, it is also very dense and hard to get through.
The book is a mix of photographic history, a biography of Dan Winters, his upbringing, influences, work and some of his thoughts and ideas on photography. At its best, it gives a great insight to a photography, his idea process and how experiences and knowledge have influenced his work. It can be hard to get through though and whilst his writing is well done, it can get a little bogged down with detail. Any photographer looking for a technical book on photography might be disappointed, for that I would suggest going toJoey L. Book: 'Photographing Shadow and Light' or any of Joe Mcnally's works.
The book is published as a hardback and the quality is very high. The cover is nice and the quality of paper feels good. Whilst, the text isn't big, it didn't feel to small to read and the font helped. The photos in the book are not very big but the quality of image is high. Whilst many of the photos taken in the book are by Dan Winters, A good proportion, are come from other photographers, who Dan is talking about.
For me, the biggest problems with the book, is it sizing and the way that the text is separated from the imagery.
The books and page dimensions are comparatively small, the images, as I have said are of a high quality but they do not appear very big. This is made worse when looking at a landscape image, which is spread over 2 pages, with the crease in the middle of the book, effectively splitting an image. Also because there are so many pages, the book is very thick and unwieldy.
I also thought that the way the way the each chapter was split into text and photos, did not help. Many a time, I would be reading a chapter and Dan would be talking about a photographer and his work. Unfortunately, the images might be 5 pages away or more. So I would have to either finish the text in the chapter (which I would do) or go searching for the image (which with the unwieldiness of the book would be a pain).
So my overall impressions of the book are mixed. It is a good book and has some great imagery and insights, to a very good photographer. Dan Winters comes over well and his passion and commitment are obvious but this is not a book I really enjoyed reading. The books size is a big issue. The dialogue can drag at times and I really didn't enjoy the text/image split. Maybe the biggest problem was that because of the hype my expectations were too high. Hopefully, I will go back and read the book again in a year or so and might enjoy it more then but I personally was a bit disappointed.
If you are looking for a book to read along these lines I would recommend Gregory Heisler's '50 Portraits' over this book. It doesn't cover the history but the writing is a little more interesting and the book size is much better.