Books… Books are good. In this day and age of iPads and kindles, there is really no excuse not to have a library full of electronic books, but when it comes to photo books, I am a sucker for print. I know that photographers creating books agonise over the quality of how their work will be printed, as they do not want their images to look anything less than 100%. For this, you need a printed image.
I am steadily building up a fairly solid collection of photo books. I try to buy one every couple of months at least, and sometimes I hit Amazon and just go a little crazy… I love all kinds of photography books, from the pure collectable ones such as my copy of Annie Leibovitz “Portraits 2005-2016” filled with her stunning images, or books about the process and mindset.
I usually have a handful on hand in my immediate reading list, sometimes swapping from one to the other as my mood takes me.
My current reading list is:
William Albert Allard-The Photographic Essay
I borrowed this in a book swap with another photographer. The title might make you feel like this is a “how to” of creating a photographic essay. In some ways it is. It is also a photographic essay of Allards work and career as a photojournalist and freelance photographer for publications such as National Geographic. In fact, the way I would describe this is book, is that it is an intimate conversation with Allard, and insight into his photographic mindset and process. The pages are filled with his iconic images, such as his 1967 image of children returning home from playing in France. This book swap was serendipitous as it was a book I had been thinking of buying as Allard and his work has currently been at the forefront of my own photographic musings and thoughts, speaking deeply to me and my current personal work, as well as the directions I want to take my professional wedding work.
Karsh- A Biography in images
Very light on text, this is, as the name suggests, a walkthrough of Yousuf Karsh’s life via his portrait work.
Not a name well know today, you won’t find him on instagram or twitter or facebook. Passing away in 2002 Karsh had a long and productive career, creating many portraits that will forever be the iconic image of the subject. With subjects ranging from Winston Churchill toPablo Picasso, his work is timeless, and he will forever remain one of the best portrait photographers that the world has seen.
Annie Leibovitz- At Work
This book is what the title implies. Annie Leibovitz talking about the actual process and behind the scenes bits and pieces of her work. Th ebook features many of her stunning images, and the story behind the photograph.
Physiognomy- The Mark Seliger Photographs
Mark Seliger is one of the photographers that for me, epitomises what a true portrait photographer is. His images reveal the subjects personality or story. Even when he is doing something a bit clever in his photos, its still about the subject, and not just an image designed to look cool. Physiognomy is a showcase of some of his most engaging portraits. Each image draws you in and makes you ask questions about the subject, and in turn creates a connection between you, the viewer, and the subject, via Mark Seligers carefully crafted portraits.
Caravaggio- The Complete Works
So this isn’t a book of photos. This is the paintings of the master of chiaroscuro. For anyone wanting to understand and speak the language of light in visual storytelling, Caravaggio is the first artist to study.
Chris Knight- The Dramatic Portrait
I put this after the Caravaggio work, because Chris Knight is a portrait photographer who excels at taking the lessons of masters like Caravaggio and Vermeer, and applying them to the craft of Portrait photography. His photos are executed with clarity of vision and an understanding of lighting that is not just learned, but is instinctive and intuitive.
Roberto Valenzuela- Wedding Story Telling (Vol 1)
I’m a wedding photographer. While everything peripheral that I read ultimately informs my work and influences my craft, sometimes my learning needs to be more explicitly focussed and just all about wedding photography. This is my current read, as Roberto details his processes and approaches to the art of telling a wedding story.
So thats what I am bouncing between at the moment. I have just finished Allard completely, and will most likely be jumping on Amazon and tracking down a copy in the next few weeks, as I know that this is a book that willl unveil something new to me each time I read it, and each reread will make me a better photographer.