I’m often asked for recommendations about photography books. Not, mind you, books about photography, but books of photographs. Here are my current favourites. They of course represent my own tastes and lean heavily toward black and white documentary photographs, but you can learn from all photography, and I think black and white images are simpler, allowing us (often) to get to the heart of them more quickly.
So here in no particular order are the books that are currently on my own shelves that I turn to over and over again, and that I would (and do) recommend to my friends and students. Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. Any of these would be a good choice as a gift for the photographer in your life (you, for example) and will last much longer, and have much more impact on your photography, than any of the needless plastic stuff out there. The best money I ever spend is on books. No idea which one to pick, just choose one – they’re all amazing.
Magnum Contact Sheets (I love this one!)
Anything by Bruce Davidson but this one: Inside Outside is fantastic (and really big!)
While we’re talking about really big collections, this collection of the work of Gordon Parks is amazing (though I am shocked to see how expensive it is now!)
Pilgrims & Nomads, David duChemin. Since this list first came out I published my latest limited edition fine art book, Pilgrims & Nomads, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it here. I’m fiercely proud of this book and the 12 years of work it took to complete it. There are only a few of the 500 signed and numbered books left and when they’re gone, there will be no more. Click here to find out more.
Others if you can get them: anything by Fan Ho, Pentti Sammallahti, Sam Abell. These 3 are among my favourite photographers ever.
Do you have a favourite photography book (a book of photographs as opposed to books about photography)? I’d love to hear about it! Have you spent time with any of the books above and second my recommendation? I’d love to hear about that too.
For the Love of the Photograph,
PS – Want more like this? I send these articles out every two weeks to photographers around the world who want to improve their craft and explore their creativity and I’d love to include you. Tell me where to send it and I’ll send you a copy of my best-selling eBook Make Better Photographs, as well bi-weekly articles, first-glimpse monographs of my new work, and very occasional news of resources to help you keep moving forward in this craft we love.
“Each and every one of your emails inspire and motivate me to want to jump right out of my chair away from my computer and shoot for the love of it . Thank you David.” – Millie Brown