Here at Digital Camera World, we try to always be positive and upbeat in helping you to become a better photographer.
Whether you want to know how to capture a bird in flight (opens in new tab) or improve your macro images (opens in new tab), our experts will talk you through the process from start to finish, with nothing but words of encouragement. We have to admit that sometimes, however, a bit of negativity can be useful too. And here's a great example.
• Read more: Best books on photography (opens in new tab)
Aperture's new book, Photo No-Nos: Meditations on What Not to Photograph (opens in new tab), reveals the personal red lines set by some of the world’s most talented photographers and photography professionals, including Roe Ethridge, Tania Franco Klein, Jim Goldberg, Lyle Ashton Harris, Rinko Kawauchi, Justine Kurland, Dionne Lee, Duane Michals, Taryn Simon, Alec Soth, and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa.
In the book, edited by Jason Fulford, these big names and others share an encyclopedic list of more than a thousand taboo subjects.
With contributions ranging from funny and absurd, to deeply passionate and heartfelt, this is a fascinating insight into the self-censorship practiced by professionals – and a useful lesson in how to avoid cliched and uninspiring metaphors in your photography.(opens in new tab)
Covering everything from why you shouldn't put sunglasses on a dog to serious topics like colonialism, stereotypes and social responsibility, the publication features the bugbears of more than 200 photographers.
For example, Alessandra Sanguinetti's pet hate is people staring into space… even though she doesn't always practice what she preaches.
"I tell myself not to do it, but I always have at least one frame with it: the angsty, faraway gaze, the thousand-yard stare," she admits. "I know, by now, that when I hear myself say, 'Look off to the side, stay serious,' that means I need to find some excuse to put my camera down, pretend I forgot something, go back to the car, slap myself out of it, think it through, and start over."(opens in new tab)
Alec Soth's list of forbidden clichés, meanwhile, includes cemeteries, railroad tracks, abandoned buildings and sunsets. And he's joined in his boycott of the latter by Alex Webb.
"I remember showing Josef Koudelka an early color photograph of mine from Jamaica," Alex recalls. "It was of a group of men in trees silhouetted against a brilliant orange sky at a Bob Marley concert. 'Too sugar,' he said in his blunt Czech way. And he was right – but it wasn’t just that it was too sweet, it was too easy."
Running to 320 pages and featuring 96 color and black-and-white images, Photo No-Nos: Meditations on What Not to Photograph (opens in new tab) is available now in paperback for $24.95 / £19.95.
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