Want to read a good book about photography? For free? On the internet? At no cost to you? Then check out Why My Photographs are Bad by Charles M Taylor here on Google Books.
This book has the best title ever for a photography book, and arguably for any book on any subject. It was published in 1902, and it’s all about old school glass plate photography, photography in world where roll film is a dangerous innovation. And every word of advice in it is absolutely sound and perfectly relevant. Read about the fundamentals of composition! Subject movement! Correct lens choice! Posing figures for portraits and group shots! Bracketing! Parallax! Too much sky! Stopping action! All the familiar problems that bug you when you work with your phone camera or your DSLR were bugging the glass plate photographers (and the owners of the wildly innovative “#3 Folding Pocket Kodak”) back in 1902. I can pretty much guarantee that when my photographs are bad, it’s because I committed one of Mr. Taylor’s errors, and I could certainly stand to read about it in his direct Victorian prose.
This book gets my highest recommendation. Many thanks to the University of Michigan for digitizing its copy and letting Google add it to the great free books of the world. You can even download a copy for yourself from the link above.