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Good Reads

I thought I’d put together a personal list of recommended and inspirational books for you to consider. Most are photographic publications but not all.  If you would like to recommend any books you feel others would be interested in feel free to email them to me.

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Photographing Shadow and Light Paperback

Serious amateurs and pro photographers get a master class in lighting and portrait techniques with this behind-the-lens guide from acclaimed young photographer Joey L. Photographer Joey L, the most exciting young talent in professional photography today, lifts the curtain on his unique 21st-century approach to portraiture, sharing anecdotes, technique notes and lighting diagrams for a wide range of his commercial and personal work.

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Tìr a’ Mhurain: The Outer Hebrides of Scotland Hardcover

Tìr a’ Mhurain is a collection of photographs that reflects the impressions gathered by Paul Strand and his wife Hazel during their 3-month visit to the Hebrides in 1945. Juxtaposing people and landscape, Strand’s beautifully sequenced photographs depict the perfect complicity he saw between nature and habitation in their wild terrain. Whether it is a view of the rocks and the sea or a grinning shepherd boy; scuddling clouds hanging over seaside house or the wrinkled face of an old lady framed by a knitted shawl, Strand’s images transcend the ephemeral. This extended portrait captures the essence and complexity of a singular place. This is a true masterpiece of photography.

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Why It Does Not Have To Be In Focus: Modern Photography Explained

Why take a self-portrait but obscure your face with a lightbulb (Lee Friedlander, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (1968)? Or deliberately underexpose an image (Vera Lutter, Battersea Power Station, XI: July 13 , 2004)? And why photograph a ceiling (William Eggleston, Red Ceiling , 1973)? In Why It Does Not Have To Be In Focus , Jackie Higgins offers a lively, informed defence of modern photography. Choosing 100 key photographs with particular emphasis on the last twenty years she examines what inspired each photographer in the first place, and traces how the piece was executed. In doing so, she brings to light the layers of meaning and artifice behind these singular works, some of which were initially dismissed out of hand for being blurred, overexposed or badly composed. The often controversial works discussed in this book play with our expectations of a photograph, our ingrained tendency to believe that it is telling us the unadorned truth. Jackie Higginss book proves once and for all that theres much more to the art of photography than just pointing and clicking.

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20th Century Photography Hardcover

From Ansel Adams to Piet ZwartThe Museum Ludwig’s handbook of photography in the 20th century
“Defining images of photographic art in this century which kept me turning the 750+ pages with enthusiasm for many an hour.” Photo Art International, United Kingdom
The history of photography began nearly 200 years ago, but only relatively recently has it been fully recognised as a medium in its own right. Cologne s Museum Ludwig was the first museum of contemporary art to devote a substantial section to international photography. The L. Fritz Gruber collection, from which this book is drawn, is one of the most important in Germany and one of the most representative anywhere in the world, constituting the core of the museum s holdings.
This book provides a fascinating insight into the collection s rich diversity; from conceptual art to abstraction to reportage, all of the major movements and genres are represented via a vast selection of the century s most remarkable photographs. From Ansel Adams to Piet Zwart, over 850 works are presented in alphabetical order by photographer, with descriptive texts and photographers biographical details, providing a comprehensive and indispensable overview of 20th century photography.
Edited by the Museum Ludwig Cologne

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Unseen Vogue: The Secret History of Fashion Photography

UNSEEN VOGUE goes beyond the cliches and often repeated ‘greatest hits’ of fashion photography and tells a completely new story. Drawn from the archives of British Vogue, an immense resource of over 1,000,000 images, the book presents hundreds of images never seen before – the killed pictures, rejects and out-takes – to form a fresh, new history of fashion photography. Featuring the first attempts of many now internationally famous photographers, great pictures by forgotten masters, out-takes from famous shoots and many other extraordinary and sometimes controversial pictures. By showing contact sheets and unedited film UNSEEN VOGUE opens up the process of making fashion images, previously the reserve of fashion’s inner circle.

From Irving Penn to David Bailey, from Cecil Beaton to Mario Testino – the new book will be an authoritative addition to the documented history of fashion photography.

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Ways of Seeing (Penguin Modern Classics)

Based on the BBC television series, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing is a unique look at the way we view art, published as part of the Penguin on Design series in Penguin Modern Classics.

‘Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.’

‘But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but word can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.’

John Berger’s Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the Sunday Times critic commented: ‘This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures.’ By now he has.

John Berger (b. 1926) is an art critic, painter and novelist.born in Hackney, London.
His novel G. (1972) won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Booker Prize.

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Helmut Newton: Private Property

Through their inimitable mixture of eroticism, subdued elegance and decadent luxury, Newton’s pictures reflect in the highest aesthetic quality an obsession with human vanity – from female exhibitionism to male voyeurism. With technical perfection, an extremely detailed style and a relentless directness, Newton staged the neverending psychodrama that contrasts glamour with the need for admiration, self-confidence with the desire for self-presentation, and Eros with Thanatos. Private Property was originally a three-part portfolio containing 45 b&w photographs. It includes Newton’s best work from the period 1972-1983 – an exquisite assortment of fashion shots, portraits and erotic motifs which are all based on real location and luxurious lifestyles. The entire sequence of pictures from the Private Property portfolio is included in our book which first appeared in 1989.

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Langford’s Basic Photography: The Guide for Serious Photographers

This seminal photography text, now in its 10th edition and celebrating its 50th anniversary, has been revamped, reorganized, and modernized to include the most up-to-date, need to know information for photographers. Ideal for students, beginners, and advanced users wanting to brush up on the fundamentals of photography, this book is a must have for any photographer’s bookcase. The heart of this text, however, retains the same comprehensive mix of scholarly and practical information.

The new edition has been fully updated to reflect dynamic changes in the industry. These changes include:

an expansion and overhaul of the information on digital cameras and digital printing;

an emphasis on updating photographs to include a wider range of international work;

replacement of many diagrams with photos;

overhaul of the analogue sections to give a more modern tone (ie exposure measurement and film and filters with some more dynamic photo illustrations).

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Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

“This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people; essentially–statistically speaking–there aren’t any people like that. Geniuses get made once-a-century or so, yet good art gets made all the time, so to equate the making of art with the workings of genius removes this intimately human activity to a strangely unreachable and unknowable place. For all practical purposes making art can be examined in great detail without ever getting entangled in the very remote problems of genius.”
—from the Introduction

Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn’t get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. The book’s co-authors, David Bayles and Ted Orland, are themselves both working artists, grappling daily with the problems of making art in the real world. Their insights and observations, drawn from personal experience, provide an incisive view into the world of art as it is expeienced by artmakers themselves.

This is not your typical self-help book. This is a book written by artists, for artists — it’s about what it feels like when artists sit down at their easel or keyboard, in their studio or performance space, trying to do the work they need to do. First published in 1994, Art & Fear quickly became an underground classic. Word-of-mouth response alone–now enhanced by internet posting–has placed it among the best-selling books on artmaking and creativity nationally.

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Hebridean Images Hardcover 

Well worth the £4.22 price tag!

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The Beatles: Photographs from the Set of Help!

The Beatles first movie filmed in colour, Help! is a madcap adventure featuring cinematography and film sequences widely considered to be hugely influential to the modern performance-style music videos of today. Specialist set photographer Emilio Lari was invited by director Richard Lester to shoot stills of the production at Twickenham Studios and document behind-the-scenes larking about as the band relaxed in their hotel between takes. With an introduction by Lester and intimate, never-before-seen images, The Beatles: Help! provides new and fascinating insights into the band that changed the history of music and the world.

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National Geographic: The Photographs

The Photographs offers readers an inside look at National Geographic and a sharp-eyed view of the world. The book showcases the skill and imagination of such notable Geographic photographers as David Doubilet, William Albert Allard, Sam Abell, Jim Stanfield, Jodi Cobb, Jim Brandenburg, David Alan Harvey, and many more. They share their techniques, as well as personal and colorful anecdotes about individual images and their adventures in the field—sometimes humorous, sometimes terrifying, always vividly compelling. Author Leah Bendavid-Val writes about the photographers’ achievements from technical, journalistic, and artistic perspectives.

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Hunger TV and magazine (website)

If you’re looking for some inspiration and cutting edge creativity I can thoroughly recommend the Hunger TV website and their magazine.

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Love Magazine

Another inspirational publication

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The History of Photography: From 1839 to the Present

Since its first publication in 1937, this lucid and scholarly chronicle of the history of photography has been hailed as the classic work on the subject. No other book has managed to relate the aesthetic evolution and technical innovations of photography with such an absorbing combination of clarity, scholarship and enthusiasm. For this fifth edition the entire volume has been completely revised and expanded, and over half of the photographs have been newly selected. Through more than 300 works by such master photographers asWilliam Henry Fox Talbot, Timothy O’Sullivan, Julia Margaret Cameron, Peter Henry Emerson, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange,Walker Evans, Ansel Adams, Brassaï, Henri Cartier- Bresson, Harry Callahan, Robert Frank and Diane Arbus, the author presents a fascinating, comprehensive study of the significant trends and developments in the medium since the first photographs were made 1839. New selections added to this fifth edition include photographs made in colour, from handtinted daguerreotypes to autochromes by Steichen to works by such contemporary masters as Eliot Porter, Ernst Haas,William Eggleston, Stephen Shore and Joel Meyerowitz.

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Lady Clementina Hawarden : Studies in Life 1859 – 1864: Studies from Life, 1857-64

This biography of Lady Hawarden, a pioneering photographer from the 1860s, draws on the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection of 775 of her pictures. The introduction by Marina Warner emphasises the immediacy of her work and sets it in the context of the other arts of the period.

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On Photography (Penguin Modern Classics) by Susan Sontag

Photographs are everywhere. From high art to family albums to legal evidence, they capture and document the world around us. And whether we use them to expose, reveal or remember, they hold an enduring power.

In this essential and revelatory volume, Susan Sontag confronts important questions surrounding the power dynamics between photographer and subject, the blurred boundary between lived events and recreated images, and the desires that lead us to record our lives.

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Albert Renger-Patzsch: Joy Before the Object

The great German photographer Albert Renger-Patzsch was a contemporary of Moholy-Nagy and Brecht and a close friend of Hermann Hesse, yet his work is little known in the English-speaking world. Born in Wurzburg in 1897, Renger-Patzsch was a member of the movement that came to be known as Neue Sachlichkeit (“New Objectivity”). His most famous book Die Welt ist schon (The World is Beautiful), published in 1928, immediately established him as one of the leading photographers in Germany. This volume brings together sixty-five of Renger-Patzsch’s photographs, many of them never before published. Together they help trace the life, career, and influence of one of the century’s most important photographers, and will be an essential resource for scholars, social historians, and students of photography

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Don McCullin: The New Definitive Edition

McCullin’s reputation has long been established as one of the greatest photographers of conflict in the last century. In the fourteen years since the first publication of the book, McCullin has shed the role of war photographer and become a great landscape artist. He has also travelled widely through Africa, India, the Middle East and among the tribes living in Stone Age conditions in Indonesia. His journey from the back streets of north London to his rural retreat in the depths of Somerset is unparalleled. It includes a passage through the most terrible scenes of recent history, for which his stark views of the West Country offer him some redemption.

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Unreasonable Behaviour: An Autobiography

‘He has known all forms of fear, he’s an expert in it. He has come back from God knows how many brinks, all different. His experience in a Ugandan prison alone would be enough to unhinge another man – like myself, as a matter of fact – for good. He has been forfeit more times than he can remember, he says. But he is not bragging. Talking this way about death and risk, he seems to be implying quite consciously that by testing his luck each time, he is testing his Maker’s indulgence’ – John le Carre

‘McCullin is required reading if you want to know what real journalism is all about’ – The Times

‘From the opening…there is hardly a dull sentence: his prose is so lively and uninhibited… An excellent book’ – Sunday Telegraph

‘Unsparing reminiscences that effectively combine the bittersweet life of a world-class photojournalist with a generous selection of his haunting lifework… A genuinely affecting memoir that reckons the cost and loss involved in making one’s way on the cutting edge of conflict’ – Kirkus Reviews

‘If this was just a book of McCullin’s war photographs it would be valuable enough. But it is much more’ – Sunday Correspondent

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Edward Weston: FO

Uncompromising Passion The sensuality and straight photography of Edward Weston Few photographers have created such a legacy as Edward Weston (1886 1958). After a decade of successfully making photographs with painterly soft-focus techniques, he became the driving figure behind a group of West Coast artists dubbed Group f/64, which pioneered the sharp, precise school of Straight Photography. With that stylistic leap, Weston s career moved into high gear, creating photographs of extraordinary sensual realism, perfectly poised between compositional stillness and searing intensity. With nudes, nature studies, and myriad perspectives on the dramatic Californian landscape, Weston s works aimed to locate the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself. In this concise monograph, we gather some of the finest Weston works to explore how he pursued and achieved this aim whether with a landscape, shell, or naked body.Text in English, French, and German”

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American Wilderness Hardcover 

The late nature photographer and environmentalist speaks out on the necessity for preserving the wilderness areas of the world.

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Terry O’Neill: Every Picture Tells a Story Hardcover

For the first time in book form, Terry O’Neill one of the greatest photographers of the last 60 years reveals the stories behind his most iconic images. From the morning he spent with Faye Dunaway at the pool in Beverly Hills, to walking around Vegas with Sean Connery dressed as James Bond, a chance encounter with Bruce Springsteen on the Sunset Strip, to taking Jean Shrimpton to a doll hospital – these are the stories behind the images as only Terry O’Neill can reveal

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Helmut Newton. Work

Helmut Newton (1920-2004) is remembered as one of the most prolific photographers of the 20th century, channeling the sensuality and erotic power of his subjects with panache, precision, and impact. His aesthetic was uniquely his, while at the same time establishing a new way of photographing fashion and glamour. Joining TASCHEN’s illustrious collection of Helmut Newton titles, including Helmut Newton: Polaroids, Pages from the Glossies, and the spectacular Helmut Newton: SUMO, this fresh edition of Helmut Newton: Work spans an impressive stretch of Newton’s career, including some of his most striking shots from the ’60s through to his golden heyday. From shadowy street to hotel boudoir, it’s a collection that showcases Newton’s suggestive storytelling throughout his fashion, editorial, or personal pictures.

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The Great LIFE Photographers Paperback

The best work of every LIFE magazine staff photographer, as well as that of a handful of others closely affiliated with the magazine, is on display in this book. Here are the portfolios by over 100 great photographers, including Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White, Carl Mydans, Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith, Robert Capa, Ralph Morse, Nina Leen, Harry Benson, Philippe Halsman, and Joe McNally, whose memorable work for LIFE in the aftermath of September 11 was in the finest tradition of the magazine.

This is the most comprehensive anthology of LIFE photography ever assembled, and illustrates the strengths that made many of these individuals famous – and LIFE magazine great. An enormous international success in hardback – now available in a new, compact, paperback edition.

In this landmark book, the subjects come alive, and so do the men and women behind the lens. Short biographical profiles, along with portraits of all the photographers, accompany the portfolios, which are arranged alphabetically, making the book an indispensable reference.

This is a volume of living history – the history of our times, as seen by the photographers who captured it.