I would like to recommend this book which was recently mentioned on the UK analogue website.
The poster summed it up as “This book may have been mentioned before but I just wanted to take a moment to recommend it to FADU members. It is by Geoff Dyer. It is a sort of rumination on photography using some Americans from the 20th Century as a sort of hub (Steiglitz, Strand, Arbus, Evans to name a few) and which uses certain subjects or sub-subjects like hats, benches etc around which to thread this rumination. It is not academic and strident like say Sontag, rather it is whimsical and thought provoking and imbued with the love of photographs.
It was first published in 2005 but has been relatively recently paperbacked (2012) by Canongate with ISBN 9780857864017.
If you like subtle, clever and closely observed writing I suspect you will like this book.”
I added to this “I read and re-read this book a few years ago. It is a very interesting take on the history of photography quite different from the usual ones.
What is unusual is that is such a personal exploration focusing more on content (and repeating motives) rather than a linear history of the first XXX did this and then YYY did this, etc, etc.
Well worth a read.
The only real negative about the book is that you either need to already know the many photographs that he refers to or you need to look them up on the internet. This is because many people holding copyright on these images wouldn't let him reproduce them in his book.
As a typical indication of Dyer's style throughout, at the end of the book he 'credits' the people who wouldn't let him reproduce many famous images with:
"If this book comes close to the ideal I naively had in mind when I finished writing it, that is due in part to their (photographers who helped him such as Meyerowitz, Fraenkel Gallery, etc) understanding. For its failure to come closer to the ideal the frustrated reader can thank those responsible for the pictures - by Robert Frank, Roy DeCarava and Diane Arbus - conspicuous by their absence."
I hope that APUG members will enjoy and would be interested in others’ responses.