Photo Books - What must I have in my collection?
Like many of you, I am sure, I collect photography books. I buy at least one a month.
So, I am wondering what book must I have? It doens't matter if it's a landscape book, a portrait book, color or black and white.
Also, where do you buy your books from?
I buy most of my books at the gallery openings, eBay, or from Photo Eye.
Some book suggestions from glancing back at the shelf:
Mark Citret "Along the Way"
Diane Arbus "Revelations"
Edward Weston "Life Work"
Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!
Since I am living in a tiny room in NYC I don't have a lot of room for big photography books. But I brought along one of my favorites that I own- _Bernd and Hilla Becher Basic Forms_ text by Thierry De Duve. It's a small book, but I look at it quite often for inspiration.
Also, I am impressed with the new _The Polaroid Book_. Really nice collection.
The three books I most treasure
About one per month is also my average as well. So far, these are probably the ones I don't think I'd ever want to part with:
1) Stay This Moment by Sam Abell (2 copies - one still new & shrinkwrapped)
2) Europeans by Cartier-Bresson
3) Perfect Times, Perfect Places by Robert Adams
4) Cape Light by Joel Meyerowitz
5) Alfred Stieglitz at Lake George, edited by John Szarkowski
Of these, only Stay This Moment has any real value (the HCB book is a 90s reprint), but, if I may use a cliche, these books speak to me more than everything else I've come across in my ten years of book buying.
It pains me to leave out the book I read most often: Examples - The Making of 40 Photographs by Lord Ansel, but it is more of a technical book than one that introduced art to the world.
Finally, I buy most new books at Barnes & Noble or the International Center of Photography's bookstore, and most used from ebay or Amazon marketplace sellers.
For one book with more concentrated practical, esthetic and creative advice than any other, I would recommend "The Creative Photographer" by Andreas Feiniger. The latest edition is still in print, lots of used copies of early editions out there. I bought my copy in a store in Glastonbury, England for £3, although I buy now almost all my books on e-bay. Edward Weston's Daybooks are also indispensable.
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I think that Eric Alan's Wild Grace: Nature As a Spiritual Path is also a wonderful book; it has a lot of great spiritual writing, but the photographs (all from color negatives) are also just outstanding-- in my opinion. My style tends to lean towards the more quiet and contemplative style and if you appreciate that kind of photography (I think most do) then you'll like his photographs.
By far though, one book outweighs any other, and that's Recording Historic Structures. Most of the photographs are just typical HABS/HAER (i.e. mostly standard architectural and industrial shots) but there is one photograph in the text that I think needs to be on every photographer's wall.
Anyway, one photograph is of one of the HAER photographers, Eric DeLony, who is standing on a water pipe doing field shots with a TLR, and the pipe he's standing on looks like it's at least forty feet above the water. I've always loved the photograph of St. Adams standing on his car with his camera set up, but I think that this portrait of Eric DeLony beats any photographer's portrait that I've ever seen. I actually cut out the photograph and put it on my wall, I love it that much!
The only unfortunate part about the portrait is I really want to get a portrait of me in a similar situation, balancing on a pipe or trunk above some sort of certain doom, just calmly looking into my waist level finder...
Freeman Patterson,s book "The Art of Seeing".
Opens up many doors. It changed the way I view my world.
My fave books are :
I love these books in my collection and i believe others would enjoy them, although i am a big 'still life' fan.
Kenro Izu 'Still life'
Irving Penn 'Still life'
Robert Parke Harrison 'The Archietects Brother'
Robert Mapplethorpe 'Pistils'
The Jouranal of Conemprorary Photography, Volumes 1 & 2
Szarkowski 'Ansel Adams at 100'
One book I would love to get is Tom Baril's, self titled book. Its out of print and thus demands a high preimum to get hold of a copy, but i hope to get lucky one of these days and find one for a reasonable price.
A few of my favorites - just off the top of my head...
In This Proud Land: America 1935-1943...
The FSA photographs.
The Man Who Shot Garbo
a collection of b&w studio partraits in the classic Hollywood style by C.S. Bull
Uncommon Places Stephen Shore, Aperature 1982
I would second Kenro Izu's "Still Life" and add Michael Kenna's "Japan" (besides the photos, it's beautifully bound and enclosed in a silk-covered slipcase).