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Classic Essays On Photography Ebook Torrents

Every revolutionary age produces its own kind of nostalgia. Faced with the enormous social and economic upheavals at the nineteenth century’s end, learned Victorians like Walter Pater, John Ruskin, and Matthew Arnold looked to High Church models and played the bishops of Western culture, with a monkish devotion to preserving and transmitting old texts and traditions and turning back to simpler ways of life. It was in 1909, the nadir of this milieu, before the advent of modernism and world war, that The Harvard Classics took shape. Compiled by Harvard’s president Charles W. Eliot and called at first Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, the compendium of literature, philosophy, and the sciences, writes Adam Kirsch in Harvard Magazine, served as a “monument from a more humane and confident time” (or so its upper classes believed), and a “time capsule…. In 50 volumes.”

What does the massive collection preserve? For one thing, writes Kirsch, it’s “a record of what President Eliot’s America, and his Harvard, thought best in their own heritage.” Eliot’s intentions for his work differed somewhat from those of his English peers. Rather than simply curating for posterity “the best that has been thought and said” (in the words of Matthew Arnold), Eliot meant his anthology as a “portable university”—a pragmatic set of tools, to be sure, and also, of course, a product. He suggested that the full set of texts might be divided into a set of six courses on such conservative themes as “The History of Civilization” and “Religion and Philosophy,” and yet, writes Kirsch, “in a more profound sense, the lesson taught by the Harvard Classics is ‘Progress.'” “Eliot’s [1910] introduction expresses complete faith in the ‘intermittent and irregular progress from barbarism to civilization.'”

In its expert synergy of moral uplift and marketing, The Harvard Classics (find links to download them as free ebooks below) belong as much to Mark Twain’s bourgeois gilded age as to the pseudo-aristocratic age of Victoria—two sides of the same ocean, one might say.

The idea for the collection didn’t initially come from Eliot, but from two editors at the publisher P.F. Collier, who intended “a commercial enterprise from the beginning” after reading a speech Eliot gave to a group of workers in which he “declared that a five-foot shelf of books could provide”

a good substitute for a liberal education in youth to anyone who would read them with devotion, even if he could spare but fifteen minutes a day for reading.

Collier asked Eliot to “pick the titles” and they would publish them as a series. The books appealed to the upwardly mobile and those hungry for knowledge and an education denied them, but the cost would still have been prohibitive to many. Over a hundred years, and several cultural-evolutionary steps later, and anyone with an internet connection can read all of the 51-volume set online. In a previous post, Dan Colman summarized the number of ways to get your hands on Charles W. Eliot’s anthology:

You can still buy an old set off of eBay for $399 [now $299.99]. But, just as easily, you can head to the Internet Archiveand Project Gutenberg, which have centralized links to every text included in The Harvard Classics (Wealth of Nations, Origin of Species, Plutarch’s Lives, the list goes on below). Please note that the previous two links won’t give you access to the actual annotated Harvard Classics texts edited by Eliot himself. But if you want just that, you can always click here and get digital scans of the true Harvard Classics.

In addition to these options, Bartleby has digital texts of the entire collection of what they call “the most comprehensive and well-researched anthology of all time.” But wait, there’s more! Much more, in fact, since Eliot and his assistant William A. Neilson compiled an additional twenty volumes called the “Shelf of Fiction.” Read those twenty volumes—at fifteen minutes a day—starting with Henry Fielding and ending with Norwegian novelist Alexander Kielland at Bartleby.

What may strike modern readers of Eliot’s collection are precisely the “blind spots in Victorian notions of culture and progress” that it represents. For example, those three harbingers of doom for Victorian certitude—Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud—are nowhere to be seen. Omissions like this are quite telling, but, as Kirsch writes, we might not look at Eliot’s achievement as a relic of a naively optimistic age, but rather as “an inspiring testimony to his faith in the possibility of democratic education without the loss of high standards.” This was, and still remains, a noble ideal, if one that---like the utopian dreams of the Victorians---can sometimes seem frustratingly unattainable (or culturally imperialist). But the widespread availability of free online humanities certainly brings us closer than Eliot's time could ever come.

You can find the Harvard Classics listed in our collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

Looking for free, professionally-read audio books from Audible.com? Here’s a great, no-strings-attached deal. If you start a 30 day free trial with Audible.com, you can download two free audio books of your choice. Get more details on the offer here.

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The Harvard Classics: A Free, Digital Collection

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness


There’s no easier way to improve your photography than devouring all the free photography books available on the Internet. Along with watching free YouTube tutorials, you can improve your photography and learn how to run a photography business… all for free.

I’ve scoured the web to create what I consider to be the ultimate list of free photography books. This list of over 50 free books includes those that have been recommended to me time and time again by other photographers.

I’ll be adding to this list of free photo books when I come across more. If you have any good recommendations, please leave them in the comments so everyone can benefit.

Free Photography books to Download Today

Below is a list of over 50 free photography books which are recommended time and time again, and for good reason.

If you enjoy the free photography books, make sure you visit the sites below to leave comments/thank the authors for their hard work.

Free books do have their limits though, so if you’d like to go further in depth on the vast topic of photography, here’s a list of the best photography books.

…and if you’re into getting things for free, or saving money with your photography hobby, check out the best point and shoot camera under $200.

The Ultimate List of Free Photography eBooks

Selling Fine Art Photography – by PhotoShelter

Fine art photography is a way for the photographer to express his work as an artist, without the constrains of a particular genre. Selling fine art photography can be a lucrative venture if conducted well, and in this free ebook you’ll learn some of the tips to making your first sale.

The Photographer’s Guide to Copyright – by Photo Shelter

Make sure you know where to stand regarding the law and your ownership of images. Photo Shelter pumps out the free photography books, and this is one of many they offer.

The Camera Buying Guide – by Photo Concentrate

Whilst guides such as these quickly go out of date, this one by Photo Concentrate contains some useful tips on your next camera purchase that are still very much relevant today.

11 Ways to Improve your Photography –  by Craft & Vision

Make your images more dynamic, shoot stronger portraits and how to refine your composition are just a few of the topics covered in this free photography ebook.

Craft & Vision II – by Craft & Vision

If you enjoyed the first in their series of ebooks, you’ll love this second edition which covers more great ways to make stronger photographs.

Selling Stock Photography: A Guide to Licensing Images From Your Archive – by PhotoShelter

There’s a lot of money to be made from stock photography. It’s a rare photographic passive income source, which can allow you to make money while you sleep. Here’s a good guide on how to get started.

Street Photography – by Alex Coghe

Insightful tips from an experienced street photographer, all crammed into this free photography ebook. Get inspired for your next excursion onto the street, and gain the confidence needed to get up close and personal with unknown subjects.

Street Faces – Thomas Leuthard

This free photography ebook is all about the candid art of street photography portraiture. It’s an essential read for anyone who lacks the guts to get close up before clicking the shutter button.

Lighting 101 – by David Hobby

Mr Strobist breaks down the essentials of lighting in this easy to understand ebook on a very complicated topic. David explains all the elements of flash lighting in an accessible and enjoyable way.

Explore Flickr – Thomas Leuthard

Another free ebook by Thomas Leuthard, this time explaining how he achieved early success on Flickr. Despite being published more than 5 years ago, much of the advice is still very relevant, even for other social media networks.

Good Photos in Bad Light – by Darwin Wiggett

I love the title of this free photography ebook which includes plenty of tips and tricks to get the most out of every lighting situation you find yourself in. Essential reading for all the budding wedding photographers out there.

Guide to Portrait Photography Basic – by Adorama

No matter what your level as a photographer, it’s always possible to improve. This free guide on portrait photography from Adorama can help both beginners and advanced photographers alike, with easy to follow guides on developing and maintaining a solid foundation of portrait photography. Definitely something for everyone.

The 2016 Photo Business Plan Workbook – by Photo Shelter

Updated for 2016, you’re provided with a step-by-step guide to help you implement a rock solid business plan, target the photo clients you want, and land more gigs.

8 Types Of Natural Light That Will Add Drama To Your Photographs – by Anne McKinnell

Who’d have though there were so many different types of natural light? Anne describes the best way to use your camera in different natural lighting situations in this useful free photography ebook available on iTunes.

The Shy Photographer’s Guide To Confidence – by Lauren Lim

This one’s been around for a while but the information is just as relevant today as ever. Photographers are often introverted characters, and this free photography ebook gives advice on how to gain the confidence to interact with your subject and become a better photographer.

Set Up Your Own Photoblog – by Nancy Messiah

Love it or loathe it, blogging is a powerful way to get your photography work out into the world. Nancy explains the basics of setting up a blog for your personal or professional work. You should also check out my Shotkit guide on how to make a blog.

Ten – by David duChemin

You’re probably more familiar with David duChemin from his video work with Canon cameras, but he also writes free photography books. In Ten, David delves into 10 techniques and ideas that will help elevate your photography.

Ten More – by David duChemin

More of the same from an expert in the industry, this time regarding techniques, ideas and exercises to give your photography a refresh and perhaps teach you some new tips.

Creative Lens Techniques – by Photo Answers

Selective focus and hyperfocal distance are two of the topics covered in this interesting read by Jessops and Photo Answers magazine.

Before The Shutter: Planning Your Next Travel Photography Adventure by Anne McKinnell

An interesting read on a topic that’s not very often discussed – the planning that goes behind a photography trip. You’ll learn essential tips and techniques to get the most from your next trip, to be well prepared before you even pick up your camera.

Starting a Photo Business – by Photo Shelter

These guys know what they’re talking about when it comes to building a successful photography business. If you need a hand with where to start, check out this free ebook.

Insights from Beyond the Lens – Inside The Art and Craft of Landscape Photography – by Robert Rodriguez Jr

Stunning landscape photography and an entertaining read about  a journey to discover the art, craft and passion that lies behind landscape photography.

A Photographer’s E-Guide to Making Sharp Photographs – by Scott Bourne

Getting sharp photos isn’t just about your shutter speed. Learn the tips and tricks to a razor sharp photo in this great free ebook by one of the industry’s greats.

Nine Motivational Essays on Photography – by Scott Bourne

A break from the technical stuff with this inspirational free photography ebook based on Scott’s own experiences in the field.

The Photographer’s Social Media Handbook – by Photo Shelter

Even though some of the information in this free ebook by Photo Shelter is dated, there’s still a lot of useful tips that can guide you through the social media maze. There’s a more up to date (2016) guide to social media available by Shoot Dot Edit but I was unable to download it for you at this time due to their server error – you may have better luck.

20 Indispensable Photo Tips – by Ian Plant

Ian kindly shared his photography gear and favourite wildlife and landscape work on Shotkit recently and I urge you to check out his free photography ebook.

Going Candid – by Thomas Leuthard

The first ebook of Thomas Leuthard where he describes the basics of Street Photography based on his own experiences pounding the pavement.

The Heart of Portraiture: Examples of Portrait Photography – by Don Giannatti

20 examples of portrait photography and a discussion on the technique and thought process that went into shooting them, all from photographer and author of Lighting Essentials.

31 Days to Overcome Your Fear of Shooting Street Photography – by Eric Kim

Eric is a wealth of knowledge on the topic of street photography. His fearless attitude when it comes to getting the shot is explained in this free photography ebook. Never fear pressing the shutter on the street again!

13 Tips for Wildlife Photography  – by Photo Naturalist

Essential reading for your next safari trip to Africa, or simply when you feel like taking a walk on the wild side, camera in hand!

Essays on Inspiration, Creativity & Vision in Photography – by Scott Bourne

Another interesting free read by Scott Bourne, this time on how he maintains creativity in his work.

Five Easy Steps To Shoot In Manual Mode – by Kimberly Gauthier

Shooting in manual mode is essential for your advancement as a photographer. This free ebook does a good job in breaking down the steps necessary to make that jump.

How to Take Stunning Food Photos – by Learn Food Photography

Whether you want to become a professional food photographer or just want some tips to make your Instagram updates look their best, this free ebook will help.

Shooting Black & White on your dSLR – by Photo Answers

Another free ebook from this UK magazine which discusses the merits of shooting black and white photos in a predominantly colour age.

The Text Book of Digital Photography – by Dennis P. Curtin

Why anyone would want to give this mammoth 270 page ebook away for free is beyond me, but definitely one to dig into when you want to explore some of the ins and outs of digital photography.

Urban Exploration Photography – by Neil Ta

Urbex as it’s known is a fast growing photography niche and this free ebook does a great job in introducing it. Don’t be surprised if it makes you want to go out and grab a compass and map…

7 Simple Ways To Market Your Wedding Photography Business – by Photography Concentrate

Even if you’re an experienced Wedding Photographer, there’s still room for improvement with your marketing in this useful free ebook by Photography Concentrate.

Photography Tips For Beginning Photographers, Amateur Photographers & Experienced Amateur Photographers – by Kalem Aquil

A bit of a broad ranging free photography ebook this one, but still, some useful advice especially for the beginner photographer or those just using cheaper cameras and mobile phones.

Going Candid by Thomas Leuthard

If you’re interested in street photography, this free ebook gives a great introduction to a broad range of topics – equipment, workflow, post processing and the passion behind a popular genre of photography.

Collecting Souls by Thomas Leuthard

Who could resist a photography ebook with such a beautiful title?! Thomas discusses mentality and motivation, with a particular focus on how to handle criticism, the importance of passion and general street photography practice.

Street Photography for the Purist – by Chris Weeks

A collection of raw and gritty black and white photos, including commentary on technique by this street photographer.

15 Incredible Bird Photography Tips For Beginners – by Prathap

I’m not sure if the tips really are that ‘incredible’, but nevertheless, if you’re interested in bird photography this free ebook will give you 15 ideas to think about before clicking the shutter.

*Essential – by Ian Plant

This free photography ebook contains stunning landscape and wildlife photography captured from around the world illustrating lessons on the creative use of light, composition, and the magic of the moment. You’ll learn how to tell better stories of your subjects, bringing your photographs to life in a compelling way.

Exposure: Understanding Light – by Nigel Hicks

A detailed explanation in this free photography ebook from a 4 part course that delves into the somewhat complex topic of light, and why it’s the photographer’s number one ally.

HDR Top Tips by Klaus Herrmann

Similar to exposure blending is the technique of HDR photography. Learn how to get the most punch out of the dynamic range of your camera’s files and learn how to do HDR photography in this interesting tip book.

The Guide to Sports Photography – by Adorama

Despite being somewhat dated, this ebook from Adorama still manages to pack in some useful tips on an exciting career in sports photography. Learn how to capture athletes in motion and other tips on specific sports.

Introduction to External Flash Photography – by Photo Extremist

The complicated topic of off camera flash photography made easier to understand. Essential reading in this free photography ebook.

Photoshop CS6 Essential Skills – by Mark Galer & Philip Andrews

Taken from the book of the same name, this introduction to the essential skills of Photoshop CS6 includes guides on useful post processing techniques such as colour grading, tilt-shift, faux Holga, lens flare and several more. If you’re interested in improving the look of your photos using Photoshop, this free ebook available on the iTunes store is a good one.

Lightroom Hot Tips – by Shotkit

How could I have written a list on the best free photo books without including the Lightroom Hot Tips?! Learn a handful of useful tips and tricks to make your Lightroom experience more efficient and enjoyable. If you find it useful, there is much more great content in this Lightroom Tips book.

Photography for Beginners – by Joseph Scolden

Not everyone who visits Shotkit is an experienced photographer. For those of you who are picking up a dSLR camera for the first time, this free photography book could be of use to you. The author goes into detail about the main functions of a dSLR camera, and how you can use them to take your first photo. If you’re just starting out, you might also be interested in this post on the best cameras under $500.

10 Tips to Improve your Travel Photography – by Michael Chia

I wasn’t expecting much from this short photo book that’s available for free on iTunes, but I was pleasantly surprised. As well as the 10 useful tips to improve your photography while on holiday, the ebook also contains some really good photos – vibrant, well composed and of interesting subjects. Definitely one to install on your iPad for some holiday reading.

Lighting Essentials – by UNSW

It’s strange that an Australian university should have a free book on photography available in iTunes, but I’m glad you do! Lighting Essentials covers the primary concepts involved with video and photography lighting, including the use of continuous light sources and flash. Each chapter ends with a useful quiz to test your newly acquired knowledge on the topic.

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