Review: Window Seat


Book Reviews

Window Seat by Julieanne Kost might appear to be a curious choice of a book for me to review. I think everybody, who has visited this site regularly, knows that I am no big fan of the immense hype generated about digital photography. So a book written by somebody who “serves as the Senior Digital Imaging Evangelist at Adobe”1 might cause quite a bit of eye-rolling at the end of the internet, where this is being written, and indeed I do have sore eye muscles now. However, I think Window Seat might be of interest for some regular visitors to this blog.

The first part of the book is called “The Art of Creative Thinking”, and I think this part is very helpful for people who love photography, but who do not really know how to go about it. I remember back when I started taking photos, I used to have the same problem, and I’ve heard many times from people that they would love to take some photos, but they don’t feel they can do anything given the lack of inspiration. I think you can get quite a bit out of reading the first part of the book, because the author discusses many important points. Unfortunately, and this is where the serious eye rolling comes in, quite a few sections of this first part read like the author’s CV, and many other parts read like those ubiquitous “how to have a successful life in 30 days” books. If you don’t like stuff like that do not buy the book2.

The second part of the book comprises a large amount of the author’s photos, all taken through the window of commercial airplanes, with occasional additional texts in the style of the first part. The photos are actually quite nice, and they show that taking a whole series of beautiful photos is something that can be done even if circumstances don’t look like it.

The book’s Appendix is where you really get your money’s worth. It’s called “Imaging Techniques”, but it might as well be called “All You Really Need to Know About Photoshop” (and by “really” I mean really). Even though the Appendix has barely more than 20 pages, those contain in the most clear, concise and useful way I’ve ever come across what you need to know to fix up digital photos. If 20 pages makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, go to your bookstore and have a look at those 600-page books about Photoshop. Do you seriously think you will ever look through 600 pages, the vast majority of which reads like “Click on CTRL-L (MAC: MAC key 5-7), then ACTR 5 (MAC: CT-7) and note that in the FRAG layer, there is a clear boundary next to the Blorb”?

I think by now you will have a good idea if this is a book for you: If you are struggling with not being able to find inspiration or not knowing what to do in photography, and if you also want to learn about Photoshop without having to throw tantrums because you just can’t find the FRAG layer3 then you should consider buying Window Seat.

1 You have no idea of how hard it is for meto not discuss the use of the word “evangelist” here.
2 You might wonder why I, with my complete lack of patience for stuff like that, would even consider buying such a book. And the honest answer is: I never considered it. My wife gave it to me after having won it in a raffle.
3 I made that up. There is no FRAG layer. And if there is shame on the person who invented it.