Hello, my name is Ben. Welcome. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of photography books that have been published since the inception of Photography. I would like to know what book or books that you consider to be among the best. There are instructional books and pictorial books. What are some of your favorites and why. List the title, author and or photographer.
Two books that spring to mind in both the general and the technical field:
In Our Time by Magnum. Very good photographers, all different but united in their belief that it is possible to hold your own in a world that takes photography for granted.
World Photography by Bryn Campbell. Focusses on photographers with very different backgrounds and gives good insight in what makes them tick.
Unreasonable Behaviour. autobiography of Don McCullin, war photographer. War and the pity of war.
B&W Photography by Les MacLean. Because of the the uncomplicated yet profound approach to the technical side of BW printing and developing. I like his easy conversational tone.
Master Printing Course by Tim Rudman. Straightforward. Makes you wonder why all the guys at the local camera club are so cagey about technique.
At the moment, my favorite is rather unusual:
I can't remember the title, but the author was der Herr Doktor Ernst Vogel - published in Berlin in 1904. There's a lot of good basic information in books written in a time when differences between various lens formulas and constructions were important for a photographer to know!
The good doctor also gives instructions in making your own plates - gelatin or collodion dry plate, what dyes to add to improve sensitivity/ colour sensitivity and so on.
The only commecial developer at the time was Rodinal from "Aktiengesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation", later known as AGFA. So there are lots of developer recipes as well.
The printing section contains everything one could wish for - "alternative" metods weren't alternative a century ago!
This will probably change next week, when I begin looking at some other books. Favorites seem to be dependent on mood and/or time of year: It's almost as bad as asking me about my favorite wine.
I don't know if "favorites" is really applicable... My attention is "grabbed " by many, at random ...
At present - Stream of consciousness:
"20th Century Photography - Museum Ludwig Cologne." A wide collection of wonderful photography from those well-known and those who are more obscure. A wonderful "artisic block" breaker.
"Alfred Stieglitz - A Biography" by Richard Whelan. Well written microscopic study of Stieglitz - as close to a "hero" (although certainly flawed) as anyone, in my opinion.
"Worlds in a Small Room", by Irving Penn - Work by a Master - recording disappearing cultures.
"Infrared Nude Photography" by Joseph Paduano. Beautiful applications of IR.
"The Elements of Color" by Johannes Itten. Marvelous insights into the graphic-psychological interactions in man.
Partial listing - subject to change at a moment's notice.
P.S. - And I'm wandering thorugh the poetry of Rumi.
I have built up a pretty good library over the last 20 years, but I am always drawn back to the first five that I was exposed to and then later bought. In no particular order: "The Americans"- Robert Frank, "Still Time"- Sally Mann, "Edward Weston: Seventy Photographs"- Ben Maddow, "Let Truth be the Prejudice"- Eugene Smith and "the Portfolios of Ansel Adams.
Currently as my budget and time allows, I am accumulating the early books by Ralph Gibson.
My most recent purchase off the used bookstore shelf is "Landscape: Theory", which includes work and essays by Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Brett Weston, Callahan, Paul Caponigro and George Tice among others. The reproduction of the work is poor, but the essays were well worth the $2.50 cost.
There are so many so I've tried to limit the choice to my absolute must have.
Don McCullin: Sleeping with Ghosts. In my view one the the all time great war photographers.
Garry Winogrand: Fragments from the real world.
William Klein: New York 1954/55
Both have been a constant source of inspiration in my photography.
Jean Gauny: Men at Sea. A very moving and expressive photo documentary of the working life of fishermen.
Colin Jones: Grafters. A collection of photographs of working class people in the UK
Paul Caponigro: The Wise Silence. Probably one of my absolute favourite photographers and certainly the best print maker that I've ever seen.
Bruce Barnbaum: Visual Symphony. An emotive collection of images from a very committed photographer.
John Blakemore: The Stilled Gaze. A nine year study of tulips, inspirational to see such a wide variety of images from a simple tulip. I'm also lucky enough to have several of the original prints hanging on the wall.
Edward Weston: Any book that is available. In my view probably the most influential and innovative photographer ever to grace this earth.
This is an easy one. "Edge of Darkness" by Barry Thornton. He goes into great detail on every aspect of creating high definition photographs. How format, lenses, chemistry, technique all effect sharpness. His examples are amazing and he relates his ideas with stories of life. He is an amazing artist. After collecting several dozen books on photography, his is by far the best I have seen.
1) The Decisive Moment - photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
2) River of Colour: The India of Raghubir Singh - photographs by Raghubir Singh.
IMHO the two finest books of photographs ever published.
Sally Mann 'Immediate Family'
Wandered into The Photographers' Gallery in London while I was a photography student. Didn't think much of the exhibition, but spent hours in the bookshop gazing at this one. Couldn't afford it at all, but knew I had to own it.
Bruno Barbey 'The Italians'
Just the most stunning collection of images that sum up a nation and culture in the early 1960s. Taken when Barbey was only 21-22 or so. Had the pleasure and privilege of meeting him last year - a true gent.
Joe Cornish 'First Light'
Definitely the finest colour landscape photographer in the UK - and possibly one of the top 10 in the world. I love his work because I know I could never do it myself.
Milton Rogovin 'Triptychs' - soon to become 'Quartets' - can't wait!
Couldn't be a simpler concept - returning to the same place to photograph the same people every 10 years or so since the 1970s, but the directness, heart and integrity of the work make the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. Add to this that he's now about 93 years old and still photographing, and you couldn't ask for a more inspiring publication.
Shelby Lee Adams 'Appalachian Legacy'
Just bought it after coming across an article on the Lenswork site, so it's this week's favourite...