More Than a Rock


Guy Tal

Link to resource:

Image of resource:


Review of resource:

This amazing book is my favorite photography book of the digital era and may be of all eras. It’s an unusual book in that it’s more a commentary on photography than a how-to book or a collection of images. The book contains a collection of essays that are organized into a few broad categories. If you are familiar with Mr Tal you know that he’s a voracious reader. He reads on a wide number of subjects, from evolution, to neuroscience, to philosophy, art, psychology, and photography. The great value you get in this book is that he synthsizes all these fields into photography. As an example, he analyzes what is creativity. He talks about the current trend to produce cliche images that wow rather than pursuing your own vision.

Photography in the digital has entered a period in history that’s similar to postimpressionism in the world of painting. That was a time when artists broke from realism and started to project themselves upon their canvases of landscapes. In this book I feel Guy Tal is encouraging photographers to do the same in their medium. Guy questions the exact represenatation that photography has been historically known for and encourages readers to process their images to reflect how the photographer is moved by the scene. He argues for expressionistic work rather than representational images. I believe that his writings have influenced a great many photographers because these ideas are now appearing more often in the literature. They have certainly influenced me.

It’s also a very easy book to read. I couldn’t put it down the first time I read it and I still go back to certain articles. My book is heavily highlighted with certain quotes that I feel meaningful. Like the one that states that there is a difference between a beautiful photograph and a photograph of something that is beautiful.

In short, you can’t go wrong with this book. Even if you disagree with Guy’s thoughts he’ll make you think. If you have read the book I would be very interested in comments that either agree with his ideas or question them.


This book solidifies a lot of fuzzy thoughts/concepts in my mind about photography and art. I echo everything that Igor wrote above. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Guy has been a guest contributor on the LensWork site and magazine recently. I’ve enjoyed his articles. I’ll have to check this book out too. Thanks for recommending it, Igor.

It’s very easy to get into a rut in photography. This book can help open doors for photographers without telling specifically what to do (like encouraging them to do ICMs). I’m not sure this is a good book for beginners but getting off on the right foot is probably good. He, for example, points out that mastering the craft of post processing can actually be detrimental to a photographer’s creativity. Beginners typically devote a lot of time learning the ins and outs of photoshop and often equate a skillfully processed image to a good image.

Thanks for the well articulated write up Igor. You have my curiosity piqued regarding this book. I enjoy Guy’s work and he has been most influential on my most recent work where I frequently use longer lenses to capture a more intimate scenes. I just ordered my copy and it will arrive on the 14th. I can’t wait to dig into this.

This one ranks really high on my personal list. It’s a favorite of mine and from time to time I go back to it, choose a random article or two and “flow” with it.
Since I am not a native English reader (and the “more advanced type of writing”) I sometimes struggle to keep the fluency on the texts by Guy Tal.
I don’t always agree with the author, but reading Guy Tal essays sure was decisive for my decision to go back to the University and get an Art degree - and that’s, I believe, the best compliment i can make to the Author.

I received my book on Saturday and read through most of it by last night. It’s a great read although Tal seems to go over the same thought process over and over again with his philosophical mindset. It can borderline on too much at times but it sure makes you think. He’s a brilliant writer, make no mistake about it. There are tons of quotes from other poets, philosophers, photographers, and writers throughout the book. As @joaoquintela mentioned, you can pick most any chapter in the book and simply Flow with it. Tal’s writing and thought process makes you take stock of your own creative mindset and by any measure, that’s what a good book should do. The photographs are amazing! I don’t have many artbooks or photography books but this should be at the very top of a must read list.

1 Like

Has the art school helped to make you a better photographer. I’ll bet there are very few here with an art degree. I’m jealous.

I am starting my Art Studies now.
Sure hope it helps me in the future.