How To Read A Photograph

How to Read a Photograph is a concise introduction to understanding what gives a photograph its power to move us and to make us think. The book guides the reader through basic elements of what constitutes a photograph and then presents a method of analysis to help viewers understand why a photo is compelling and how it conveys its message. How to Read a Photograph is ideal for students of photography, for art lovers, and for photographers in search of a brief guide to discussing and understanding photographs and photography.

What makes a photo powerful?

How do photographers construct their shots to convey an idea or to comment on the world around them? The clear, nontechnical explanations and lovingly curated photographic examples in How to Read a Photograph provide a vocabulary, a procedure, and a clear format for “reading” a photo, training the eye to see photographs, but also revealing how photographs have trained our eyes to see objects in the world.

Text and photographs by Carolyn Whitson, PhD

$26.95 | ISBN-13: 978-1732044289 | 8.5” x 8.5” | 127 pages


About the Author

Carolyn Whitson is professor of humanities at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has been studying and practicing photography for over thirty years. She is also the author and photographer of Understanding Medieval Last Judgment Art (ISBN-13: 978-1690654667).


Save when you order directly from FourCatsPress

Copies of How To Read A Photograph are always available for $20.00, a savings over retail if you order directly. The price includes domestic US shipping; contact us for rates abroad. 

PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, and SquareUp all provide ways for you to include a memo or note with your order. Please use that to provide your shipping address, the name of the title you’re ordering, and the number of copies. We’ll confirm as quickly as possible.

We can accept payment via:

  • PayPal (editor@fourcatspress.com)
  • Venmo (@FourCatsPress)
  • Zelle (sales@fourcatspress.com), and
  • SquareUp (email your name, phone number, and address to editor@fourcatspress.com; we’ll send an invoice that you can pay safely online with a credit card or bank transfer)
  • Purchase orders: We will ship books on the basis of purchase orders to bookstores and other retailers. Terms are net 30 days. Sorry, we can’t accept returns.
  • Personal checks: Please email us at editor@fourcatspress.com for our address & other details.

Don’t forget to tell us the name of the book, number of copies, and your shipping address. 

Our books are also available (at a higher price) from your local bookstore, from IndieBound, or from major online booksellers. Resellers/ bookstores: Please contact FCP regarding trade discounts.