What do photographers, writers and musicians have in common? Thanks to the digital age and the cynically named free flow of information, the value of creative works literally vanishes into thin air. Hey it’s all free on the Internet. It’s becoming more difficult by the day for the creative minds and artists among us to make a living. Still, there is piracy and there’s the public domain. Check out Archive.org’s “photography” listings. You’ll find a vast selection of quality publications on everything from technique to portrait, architecture, wedding, macro, the business of photography and more.
Use the archive at your own discretion. Unsure if a book is copyrighted and distributed without permission or license information is not clear? Then double check whether the book is still available on Amazon and in case download a legit, paid for copy. You owe it to the authors and publishers who put much time and effort into their work. We don’t support theft.
Archive.org is a non-profit public Internet library based in San Francisco. If you sense a copyright infringement you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org and they remove the questionable entry immediately. I found quite a number of copyrighted books and ebooks, such as the outstanding The Visual Dictionary of Photography (on Amazon!). Again, in the end honesty always pays off.
The vast majority of avialable books are free public domain. If you search for “photography,” more than 10,500 search results pop up. You’ll find plenty of newer and also old books, such as the fascinating Letters on Landscape Photography by H.P. Robinson, a rather philosophical tutorial published in 1888 for collodion plate photographers and still valid today.
Robinson’s marveling at back then’s “very much lighter” cameras than a quarter of a century before… sounds familiar? As if we’d go round in circles. Here’s a beautiful quote, page 18:
It is a much quoted proverb that everything comes to him who waits. In this age of hurry it is not everybody who can wait.
And you thought we’re living in the end of time? It’s a photographer’s mantra still as valid today as it was 126 years ago.
It’s recommended to look up the less general “folkscanomy photography” search terms. Folkscanomy refers to a collection of books derived from collaborative tagging by volunteers to find relevant information more easily.
Found anything interesting? Well no surprise which are the most downloaded photography books…
BTW, Archive.org does also offer movie files. How about a dramatization of how photographs once were transmitted by wire, an exciting new technology in the 1930s?