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Book Review – Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography and Creative Thinking by Julieanne Kost

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Julieanne Kost is the Senior Digital Imaging Evangelist for Adobe Corporation. This position requires quite a bit of travel from her each year. As she flies from city to city, she takes photos from her window seat on the plane. It is from this vantage point that Window Seat was born.

Window Seat is loosely divided into three sections, each with a lot of photos. The first section, "The Art of Creative Thinking", begins with 18 rules to the art of creative thinking. Some of the rules are common sense ones such as "Master your Tools", which instructs that you must understand the tools that you need and gain a degree of mastery of them. Some of them are more philosophic such as "Listen to what your life is trying to tell you." This came to her after perusing a career in psychology and athletics, she found herself being drawn down other paths; she eventually found herself working for Adobe and taking pictures. Most of these rules are from lessons learned over time.

Although these insights may not provide an instant epiphany, they do provide a basis for taking your awareness of what you want to do to a new level. It may provide a perspective on how one person works and has success with her photography.

The second section, "Window Seat", is the main section. It is Kost's portfolio of window seat photography. She does not describe the digital or Photoshop techniques that she uses, she does, through a series of chapters, give a loose workflow on how she came about working with this project and the taking of her pictures.

Some of the chapters are "Desperately Seeking Creativity," which describes how and why she began shooting these pictures, "Control" in which she tells how she has to deal with the lack of control that one has on a plane, and "Editing," where Kost describes how she reviews and print her images.

The final section, "Appendix," is where Kost describes some of her imaging editing techniques. She begins with image capture and the difficulties in photographing from a plane. She also describes the additional problems after 9/11. She talks about image management, camera raw, image sizing and cropping, imperfections, tonal changes and adding false color.

This is not a how to book on Photoshop or digital photography, rather this is a coffee table book that is split between fascinating pictures and philosophy. If you have ever sat in an airplane looking out transfixed by the landscapes that you see below you, you will wonder why you hadn't thought about doing the same.

Sure some of the photos don't translate as well to a book format as they would to a large wall mounting, but they still captivate none the less. Others are just so remarkable that one can not put into words the quality of image.

I think that Window Seat works on two levels. The first is that of a picture book; a coffee table book if you will, that provides wonderful inspiration when you need the motivation to get out and do something. Second, it gives you an insight to what some has done that is very different to 99 percent of everyone else. This to will force you to think about what you are doing and how you can perhaps do it differently.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.