The Age of the Image. By Stephen Apkon

I was rummaging through the shelves of books about cinematography at our local, independent bookstore, BOOKPEOPLE, when I came across this book. It was published in 2013 so it's not exactly cutting edge topical but it's an important book to read for all the people who say, "I have no interest whatsoever in video..." 

The book is a well researched romp through the changing history of language, communication, symbology and understanding. It traces the paths from the embrace of the written word as a primary method of communication and shows how quickly, thoroughly and globally we are moving from the written word to the language of motion pictures. The author makes a convincing point that, in the near future, to be truly literate will mean understanding the grammar and language of video; both how to decode it and how to create it. 

Toward the end of the book are examples of current educational theory about communication and the embrace of moving images on all manner of screen. In the chapters leading up to that are some general explanations about how to make better video programming. Also, how and why a good video can trump the printing word for global dissemitnation of ideas, memes and, of course, brand messaging. 

After reading the book I grabbed my inexpensive G85 with the kit zoom, put an ND filter on the front of the lens and headed out to practice shooting interesting scenes. The book inspires one to look beyond conventional wisdom, to stop looking in the rear view mirror of technology, and to think more inclusively about communication and not just one's favorite or most comfortable media. 

I recommend that everyone give it a read. Ask your library to get a copy, drop by your local independent bookstore for a copy, or buy one from the link below....

(This book was purchased with my own funds and was not sent to me by the borrower or the author. No one asked me to write this short review).


  1. Ordered the book. I am adding some sound reduction to the studio here (mostly to reduce echo) so I can start making some videos, initially on using the m43rds system, just for practice producing and editing.

    I had the idea, when watching some footage of farmers reduce the rat population in their fields using dogs, of making micro documentaries explaining interesting things like that. Really it was the argument in the comments that gave me the idea as so many people didn't understand the benefits of using dogs for this type of work.

    Anyways, chat soon!

  2. I have been mentally preparing to bust your chops for shooting stills not video when you go walkabout, and here you go doing just that!

  3. Ordered it.

    I've been giving myself the same advice Ben gave you a while back -- enough with the reading and tutorials, get out and shoot. And now I order another book. lol

  4. This post has inspired me to start making micro-documentaries of my own.

  5. I purchased my first ND filter a couple of months ago, allowing me to keep the lens fairly wide open when shooting in bright sunlight at my preferred shutter speeds for video (usually 1/60 to 1/125 sec). I have also found that my lenses tend to be sharpest wide open to a stop down. I am guessing you use an ND filter for similar reasons. Do you find that your lenses behave at their best at wider apertures? Or do you use the ND filter for other reasons, such as blurring the backgrounds in your video work a bit?


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