The art of the observer is a personal guide to documentary filmmaking, based on the author's years of pioneering work in the fields of ethnographic and documentary cinema. It stands in sharp contrast to books of academic film criticism and handbooks on visual research methods, being based extensively on concrete examples from the author's own filmmaking experience. The book places particular emphasis on observational filmmaking and the ways in which this approach is distinct from other forms of documentary. It offers both practical insights and reflections on what it means, in both emotional and intellectual terms, to attempt to represent the lives of others. The book makes clear that documentary cinema is not simply a matter of recording reality, but of artfully organising the filmmaker's observations in ways that reveal the complex patterns of social life.