The following is a list of books I now have bought, or been given that I have used either for the course or as a result of my learning and curiosity from the course. The list will act as a reference and is not meant be a critical view on each book but more of a personal view of why I chose it, and how I use it. The list will get constantly get updated throughout the course so will always be in a state if flux.
While much source information and publications are available on the internet, for me there is still nothing better than to look through a body of work by a photographer, or read a text book as a physical publication that can be held and used. Hence the book collection is somewhat long. It is not that the electric version does not meet my needs I view these as complementary methods of getting information.
Most books are sourced new through shops or on-line but there is much published material available through second hand shops, especially so for photographers whose books are now out of print. It is a trill to discover these gems.
To make it easier to categorise the books really fall into three main categories specific photographer collections, general reference material and text books for specific learning points and techniques. There is no priority system within the list (other than alphabetical by author) but a well may call out my favourite of the moment.
- 400 Photographs (2007) Little, Brown & Company, ISBN: 978-0316117722
A very good fully comprehensive collection of Adams’ photographs through the ages in chronological order. It is very interesting to see how his style developed over time. All the Adams classics are contained however does become a little preventative at times with very similar pictures of the same set of mountains. That said a very good book to dip in and out for reference.
- Exposures (2009) Guardian Books, ISBN: 978-0852651414
Jane Bown took portraits for the “Observer” for sixty years, and this book contains the highlights of that time. Jane’s technique was to work fast, meter from her own hand and use natural light where possible. Her work was originally selected selected and cropped by the paper picture editor. This book show the pictures of Jagger. Becket, The Queen and many more as she originally shot them. A very good book to look at portraiture in all manner of settings and contexts.
- Harry Callahan, Kehrer Verlag, ISBN: 978-3868283587
This book is a retrospective of Callahan’s work. It show about 200 photographs including rarely shown colour ones. For my I bought this book mainly for his early black and white work with personal favourites as Weed Against Sky, Telephone Wires, and Eleanor (1947 series). It is good to see Callahan’s later work showcased especially that of his travels in places like Ireland and Morocco but I do get drawn back to the front half where I see his early work as the most innovative because of it’s simplicity.
- Henri-Cartier Bresson – Collection Sam, Lilette et Sébastien Szafran (2006) , Foundation Pierre Gianadda, ISBN: 978-2884430951
- Christian Coigny (2009) Ides et Calendes, ISBN: 978-2825802588
- The Americans (2009 edition) Steid, ISBN: 978-3865215840
Much has been written about Frank but for me I like visually dipping in an out of this book as it is excellent reference point of how to take a distanced and detached view of the subject and in Franks case it was American society. Favourite images are: Funeral – St. Helena, South Carolina; Trolley – New Orleans; and Rodeo – New York City.
Ewing, William A.
- Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography (2014) Thames and Hudson Ltd ISBN: 978-0500544334
This is a book I keep going back to as a reference guide to contemporary landscape photography. It is full of powerful images each image with a message about a concern for our changing landscape and environment. It is not done with an environmentalist standpoint but a series of photographers have recorded as is. There is accompanying text to each set of themes e.g. Scar, Control, Sublime, Pastoral, which guides us but we are left to make our own minds up. Where the paradox lays with these images is that from and photographic and artistic standpoint there is a stunning beauty to the harsh reality of our changing landscape and environment.
- In the Eye of the Rock’N’Roll Hurricane; (2015) Reel Art Press; ISBN: 978-1909526358
Rock photography at its best. Preston has recorded the major rock stars for over 40 years as portraits, off guard moments and on stage performances. This book was produced to tie in with an exhibition of the same name in Frankfurt in April 2015.
Savage, Jon & Pepper, Terence
- Beatles to Bowie: The 60’s Exposed (2009) National Portrait Gallery Publications; ISBN: 978-1855144088
A great reference book of all the major UK acts and groups of the 1960’s. All the pictures are essentially portraits in that they were set up and or staged. Fascinating to see how the style of photography changed through the decade. Avedon, Bailey, Beaton, Lichfield, McCullin, O’Neil, and Parkinson’s work are all represented. It was originally published to accompany a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2009
- Burning with Desire: Conception of Photography (1999) MIT Press; ISBN: 978-026252259
A critique of photography’s conception in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. One of those books that is interesting in parts in that it is a great insight into the thinking and views of the early days of photography however perhaps a little too details for my present needs for this module.
- The Photograph as Contemporary Art (3rd Edition 2014) Thames and Hudson Ltd; ISBN: 978-050020418
Gruber, Renate & L. Fritz
- The Imaginary Photo Museum (1982) Penguin; ISBN: 978-051754797
Loengard, John et al
- The Great LIFE Photographers (2009) Thames and Hudson Ltd ISBN: 978-0500288368
This is probably one of my favourite reference books. It is an anthology pictures of every photographer who has worked for LIFE magazine. There are there or for pages of pictures per photographer plus biographical notes. Besides being a comprehensive view of the events that defined the 20th century macro and micro world history through the eyes of the LIFE photographers it allows to to compare and contrast their styles through the ages dependent on the situation at hand. Well over 100 photographers are represented in the book.
- Photos That Changed the World (2006) Prestel ISBN: 978-3791336282
This is an interesting and fascinating book that contains photos of about 90 key events through the 20th century, from the San Francisco earthquake, through to Hurricane Katrina, via the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The accompanying text is very neutral and factual and does not condemn or condone the content of each image.
In some respects the tile is misleading it should really be called Key World Events that Were Recorded by Photography. I would argue that in very few cases did the photograph change the world or world opinion. Exceptional cases could be the liberation of the Nazi death camps or the Napalm attack in the Vietnam war. A further interesting point and not really for debate in this section is how much these pictures owe to the art of photography and how was it a case of happening to be in the right time right place with a camera in hand; with a example being recording the plane in front of the Twin Towers just before impact.
Mulligan, Therese & Wooters, David (Editors)
- A History of Photography from 1838 to Present (2012) Taschen Gmbh ISBN 978-3836540995
A good reference guide to show pictures from the beginning of photography to the current day. For me there is too much emphasis on the early days of photography with the 20th century not starting until well halfway through the book. As all the images are from the George Eastman House Collection they are not necessarily representative of all photographs but still very good as reference material.
Wells, Liz (Editor)
- Photography: A Critical Introduction; (4th Edition 2009) Routledge; ISBN: 978-0415460873
I suppose this can be looked upon one of the set texts for this course if such a thing exists. It covers the theories behind image making in modern and past times. While the writing is easy (with the occasional tough bit) it not a book that is read cover to cover but more dip in as and when required. If you can such a thing in a text book then Chapter 2 by Derek Price Surveyors and Surveyed – Photography Out and About resonates well with me.
- Perfect Exposure (2009) ILEX; ISBN: 978-190581466
- The Photographers Eye (2007) ILEX ISBN: 978-1905814046
- The Photographer’s Mind (2010) ILEX, ISBN: 978-1905814978
- The Photographer’s Vision (2011) Focal Press, ISBN: 978-0240815183
Karr, Andy & Wood, Michael
- The Practice of Contemplative Photography (2011) Shambhala Publications Inc; ISBN 978-1590307793
- Langford’s Basic Photography (9th edition 2010) Focal Press, ISBN: 978-0240521688
Zakia, Richard D.
- Perception and Imaging, (4th edition 2013) Focal Press; ISBN: 978-0240824536
This is an excellent text book with the subtitle Photography – A Way of Seeing and as the name suggests is all about how we both see and perceive. Great information, great illustrations and quotes yet I find the book very muddling. It may well be to do with my current low level of photographic maturity but I cannot figure out the sequence of the book. Clearly not a book to read from end to end but I do find myself jumping through the text to piece together the information I am looking for. Again gets a technically heavy in places such as Chapter 3 Space, Time and Colour but some of it is sinking in.