and what they can teach you about photography. by Philip Greenspun; revised August 2018
-- "A Book" by Emily Dickinson
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
Books about Photographers
- To be inspired by how much photojournalism can change your mind, start with a
trio by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio: Material World : A Global Family Portrait
, Women in the Material World
, Man Eating Bugs : The Art and Science of Eating Insects
(it probably won't change your mind but
the duo's Robo sapiens: Evolution of a New Species
is also fun)
- Mary Ellen Mark : American Odyssey, 1963-1999
contains a poem by Maya Angelou
ending in "we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike". If you're an
insurance salesman or a computer programmer, the photographs will contradict Ms.
Angelou's point rather dramatically.
- Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Artless Art
is a reasonable place to start exploring
Cartier-Bresson's work, though any of his books are worth having, e.g., Europeans
- Elliott Erwitt will inspire you to carry your camera around more often with
and Personal Exposures
- William Wegman will inspire you to stay in the studio with your dog and
imagination. All of his work is creative but Fashion Photographs
is over the top. If you're building a library you'll want the one
that started it all: Man's Best Friend
- All of the work by the husband and wife team of Bernd and Hilla Becher: my
favorites are Water Towers
and Industrial Facades
- Cindy Sherman : Retrospective
- To decorate a self-consciously hip lobby, Helmut Newton's SUMO
, with its
included stand, makes a bold statement.
- Ansel Adams: Forget the cheaper, smaller format books--they don't work for
this kind of photography. In August 2001 we were blessed with Ansel Adams at 100
, which contains an introduction and personal selection of images by John
Szarkowski, one of the strongest writers on photography. The American Wilderness
is also a great book.
, by John
Szarkowski. Beautifully reproduced photos, each accompanied by prose that could
only have been written by Szarkowski, the former curator of photography at MOMA:
"Except occasionally, ... the French have managed very well to sublimate the
periodic human tendency to behave violently toward one's fellow men, and have
directed these impulses toward their trees." (opposite a photo of a garden gate
made from trained trees)
- Mathew Brady and the Image of History
- Brandt : The Photography of Bill Brandt
- Brassai : The Monograph
Walker Evans: The Getty Museum Collection
- Andre Kertesz : His Life and Work
- Muybridge's Complete Human and Animal Locomotion
- Man Ray : 1890-1976
- Steichen's Legacy : Photographs, 1895-1973
- Alfred Stieglitz : Photographs & Writings
- Edward Weston : Forms of Passion
Winogrand, Figments from the Real World. The art and
technique of Garry Winogrand, the definitive street photographer of the 1960s.
- if you're only going to have one... The Photo Book
will give you one page on each of 500 important photographers
- The Family of Man
, collected by Edward Steichen, is the catalog from the show
that boosted photography as a respectable museum art form
- A Thousand Hounds: The Presence of the Dog in the History of Photography 1839 to Today
is the perfect gift for the dog-owning photographer. This is 600
well-printed pages of photo history, interesting quotes ("I have discovered
photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn." -- Pablo
Picasso), and the full text in English, French, and German.
Passage to Vietnam, a
ground-breaking CD-ROM with a lot of good background on the photographers (also a
nice coffee-table book)
Books about Photography
Lens Work is a
beautifully printed black and white monument to the craft of fine art
Quarterly is probably the premiere U.S. journal for art
Popular Photography, useful
for objective lab-bench tests of lenses and bodies and
they also have some nice Photoshop tips.Probably worth $10/year anyway.
- American Photo. Very glossy. Good coverage of fashion
photography personalities and great photo editing. Weak on tutorials.
Photo District News. If
you want to find out what happens in the advertising and studio photography
worlds, this is the place. Unfortunately, much of the news seems to be about
photographers suing their clients and vice versa. It can be disheartening and
disillusioning. Great photo editing, large format, always impressive.
Photographer. Beautiful pictures but somehow empty of feeling. You
aren't going to learn much from this magazine except that if you buy a really
huge camera and/or lens and have the patience to sit in front of a mountain or
animal for two weeks that you can probably get a decent picture. I let my
Photograph America, by Robert Hitchman. If you want to find the
top spots in North America for landscape and nature photography, and get
practical guidance for capturing the best those spots have to offer, this is your
newsletter. I subscribe and
every month that I get an issue when I'm sitting on my sofa it reminds me that
life is short.
Note: if you have a favorite book, magazine, or newsletter that I haven't
mentioned, please either email a review (if you "Save As" one of my existing
reviews for HTML style, that makes life easier), or write something about it in
the comment section (below).
Copyright 1998-2018 Philip Greenspun.