The 'Very Short Introduction' books are always a pleasure to read. When I started this one I thought it would be a lot of repetition of subjects I had heard or read before, which in a way was true, but the author, Steve Edwards has a way of putting the facts, developments and stories together in a very interesting and stimulating way.
His discussion on the differences of a photograph as a document or a piece of art and how different developments in ways of thinking about art influenced the medium and photographers themselves was especially insightful.
The advantage of all concise overviews of an entire genre or subject is that it really helps you to see where you have positioned yourself in terms of ideas and ways of thinking about photography. Especially as a beginning student I often find myself reading about a subject, let's say street photography and immediately adapting to the way of thinking of the author or photographer I'm studying. This little book shows that there is much more on the horizon and that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' in how you work, just an acknowledgement that perceptions and ways of working are fluid and it's fine to just work along. Knowing that there are many ways to approach photography. Ideas and art are subject to change and that is something to be really excited about!
Edwards, S. (2006) Photography, A Very Short Introduction. 1st edition edn. New York: Oxford University Press.