Aspirations is an educational guide that will be a source of encouragement to photographers in the early stages of their own careers.
Part memoir, part career guide, photographer Raymond J. Klein’s Aspirations aims to help aspiring photographers build thriving careers of their own.
Growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, Klein took his first photographs with his father’s folding Kodak camera. The early parts of the book reveal what photographers had to deal with then in terms of cameras, peripheral equipment, film, and development, in an era before digital cameras came onto the scene. It includes straightforward insights into what the shift from film to digital photography meant for working photographers, and describes how Klein himself met the challenge.
Both the difficulties and the benefits of film photography are discussed, alongside inspiring examples of the effects Klein was able to achieve through experimentation with multiple exposures. Intended to encourage aspiring photographers to be daring, imaginative, and to innovate without fear, the book also traces photography’s history and methods from the mid-twentieth century to today, alongside complementary recommendations of business practices and principles.
In concert with this work, the book follows Klein’s personal development as a photographer, from his early job at an Eastman Kodak film processing plant, through to his assignment to a photographic unit in the military. Along the way, he encourages aspiring photographers to learn about lighting, and to develop their artistic eyes by studying artists including Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso in addition to photographers like Richard Avedon, Yousuf Karsh, and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Intent on backing up its advice with appeals to personal experience, the book reveals that Klein’s success with his art photography has been satisfying, though it says that the real money is to be made in advertising. It describes the process of getting work in the field; gives examples of what might be involved in building sets and working with art directors, products, and models; and reveals how much can be earned in typical advertising photography shoots. It distills Klein’s experiences in order to recommend sixteen clear, actionable steps that fellow photographers should take.
Striking examples from Klein’s oeuvre, including both artistic and advertising photographs, are included, alongside helpful background information about the techniques used in creating them. They reflect Klein’s artistic evolution—and the style of advertising photography that eventually brought him acclaim. However, the text’s punctuation errors, malapropisms, and incomplete and run-on sentences disrupt its work.
Through its inspiring retrospective on a photographer’s career, Aspirations is an educational career guide that will be a source of encouragement to photographers in the early stages of their own careers.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.