Dog Ear Publishing Honors New Photography Book with Literary Excellence Award

Dog Ear Publishing has given its latest Award of Literary Excellent to a book of photography by Dean and Tammy Shaffer. The husband and wife team explore the deeper meaning of photographs in an easy-to-understand format.

Cleveland, OH, November 01, 2019 --( Photographs can capture more than just simple images. In fact, at times, they can provide a metaphor for their time and place in history. A new book that explores the deeper aspects of photographs has earned a Dog Ear Publishing Award of Literary Excellence.

Written by husband and wife team Dean and Tammy Shaffer, “Metaphor: The Universal Language of Photography – A Search for Meaning” offers a way for readers to distinguish between a snapshot and a photograph that has purpose, one that expresses an impersonal vision. This concept is provided through demonstration of how to look at an image, done in an interesting and engaging manner.

Dean noted that he was surprised to learn about the award because it was their first attempt at writing a book for publication, and the two were pleased that they had communicated their ideas clearly.

Tammy said their editor emphasized “the text conveyed high-level concepts that were fully accessible to anyone and was written in a way that is not instructive (academic) but rather in a manner that demonstrates” their ideas.

Indeed, editor Reba Hilbert had high praise for the book. "For the layperson, ‘Metaphor’ is a fascinating peek behind the scenes of well-known fine art photographs. For the student or lover of photography, this book refines the way we look at images to gain greater insight into the artists' inner vision," she wrote in her recommendation for the award.

Dog Ear’s editorial team determines Awards of Literary Excellence. The managing editor, editorial services manager and the publisher review its recommendations, and only a small number of titles earn the award each year.

Dean, a retired art and photography teacher with more than 20 years of experience, enjoys photography for its ability to express things that no other art form can, and he most enjoys street photography “that expresses humanity’s nature in a metaphorical way,” he said.

“My passion stems from the fact that photography can record an actual moment, in real-time, that reflects the photographer’s vision. The way they compose the image expresses their intelligence and sense of humanity,” he said.

When he first began teaching, Dean realized he didn’t know how to look at a photograph. “I didn’t understand its language,” he said. And when he looked for books to help him, he found none.

“I began to look at photographs for hours at a time, and eventually discovered that there was a meaning beyond the literal. This was confirmed later when I read what photographers wrote about their work,” he said.

“When sharing this with my wife, we became inspired to write a book. We were further encouraged by the fact that years later I was still unable to find anything that focused on the language of photography and how it conveys meaning. We are hoping that when people read our book, it will lead to an understanding of how to discover meaning through the characteristics of photography.”

Tammy, a medical science researcher, said despite her “limited non-academic writing experience,” the two didn’t run into any challenges producing the book “except for the stark realization of the difficulties of obtaining copyright permission,” which she managed to work out.

“Between the two of us, I was the person most aligned with the reader. It had been years since I had thought about the elements of art and photography. So, after working with Dean and reading background material, I created the structure of the book, and wrote the rough draft, including the introductions to chapters 6 and 7,” she said, drawing heavily on the perspective of a reader.

“From there, we worked together to refine the content. We both wrote about half of the photograph discussions but gave significant input to the each other. We were energized throughout the writing process and really enjoyed putting this book together.”

They plan to promote “Metaphor” through a blog and social media, as well as approaching museums and art schools to gauge their interest.

In the end, as they note in the book’s introduction, the Shaffers want to inspire others to gain a new way of thinking. “We hope the reader will be inspired to look at the world around them in a different way. We hope they will have a greater appreciation of photography if they allow themselves the time to study an image to discover its elements and the underlying metaphor.”

For additional information, please visit

Metaphor: The Universal Language of Photography – A Search for Meaning
Dean Shaffer and Tammy Stefan Shaffer
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-7006-3 154 pages $22.95 US

Available at Ingram,, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.

Dog Ear Publishing partners with authors to shape content that resonates with readers as diverse as the books we publish. Dog Ear Publishing is headquartered in Indianapolis and can be contacted at (317) 228-3656 or through
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Ray Robinson