The Ten Best Photography Books
Bill Wood's Business - ICP/Steidl
Dapper Bill Wood's business was photography - he ran a studio in Fort Worth for more than 30 years, chronicling the lives of ordinary Texans in impressive detail throughout the Fifties and Sixties. An exquisite period piece that will appeal especially to 'Mad Men' fans.
Vanity Fair's Hollywood - Thames & Hudson
There's a slew of lavish photobooks published by the king of the American glossies, but this is the cream of the crop - stars of the silver screen polished, burnished and Photoshopped for your delectation. And the price makes it a real winner.
Magnum Stories - Phaidon
If your taste tends toward photojournalism, these 60-odd tutorials from the archives of the world's most famous picture agency should whet your appetite. Cartier-Bresson, Capa, Inge Morath, Martin Parr - all these and many more share their secrets and explain how they captured their greatest images.
Platon's Republic - Phaidon
British-born and New York-based, Platon is a celebrated magazine photographer with a highly distinctive and informal style. He presents public figures in ways that are at once both familiar and surprising. Ozzy Osbourne cries; George Bush Sr appears rueful as he perches on a Stars-and- Stripes sofa; John McCain practically jumps out of the frame. The commentary's a good read, too.
People in Vogue - Brown
One might expect the chunky, handbag-sized format to cramp these gorgeous portraits, but somehow it doesn't. The breadth and quality of the collection is impressive. One to wallow in, although the (excellent) captions are somewhat let down by being set in very small type.
Light Lines by Ray K Metzker - Steidl
Difficult to categorise, Metzker's work is highly experimental, stretching our expectations and testing our responses. This extraordinary book is a masterclass for anyone seeking to understand black-and-white photography.
Albert Watson, Edited by James Crump - Phaidon
Amazingly for a photographer who has been so successful for so long, Watson has sight in only one eye - hence the title of his first book, 'Cyclops'. That's out of print (and hideously expensive second-hand), but this more modest collection is a decent introduction to his magazine.
Portraits, by Mario Testino - National Portrait Gallery
Testino's work needs little introduction. It's glossy, stylish, and packed with famous faces. This large-format volume, originally published to mark an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, is a sumptuous compilation of Nineties celebdom.
Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography - Thames & Hudson
Steichen's work is highly collectable (one of his earliest images became the world's most expensive photograph when it sold for $2.9m in 2006), and his influence remains profound. This scholarly volume charts his career and tells the story of his life in intricate detail.
Price: £30" >
Portraits of Power By Richard Avedon - Steidl
Published posthumously, this monograph by the master of portraiture charts a turbulent half-century of American political history. The mostly black-and-white collection begins with "William Casby, born in slavery, Louisiana, 1963" and concludes with "Barack Obama, Illinois State Senator, Massachusetts, 2004". Awesome.
Get inspired with our choice of photography books.
>> Click on the image to the right to launch our guide.
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