Knowledge makes him young
Creative Commons License photo credit: hapal

It is very much the holiday season, and gifts are often a part of that. As photographers, we like to receive certain types of gifts… sometimes equipment, and sometimes things that inspire or educate us. Equipment can be a difficult gift to give because we’re often very picky about what we want. But photo books and photography books almost always please (and good photo books are great even for non-photographers).

Over the last few years, I’ve reviewed an assortment of books. This post is a gathering of those in-depth reviews. Most of them are photo books (whose main content is the actual photo rather than the paragraph), but I’ve done a few technical/educational books too. So if you’re looking for a gift for a photographer (or anybody with a coffee table really), here are some excellent choices.

PHOTO BOOKS


Reza War and Peace

Reza War and Peace is a book about many things, very deep and emotional. As the title suggests, the book is about war and peace. But it’s so much more than that too. This book is a testimony of humanity — at its worst, and at its best. It is comprised of 30 years of Reza’s work from across the world, and it contains some of the most incredible stories I never knew.

Of all the books I’ve reviewed, this is probably my favorite. Truly great work from a great photographer.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Polar Obsession

Polar Obsession

An intimate view the northern and southern polar regions, including the animals and their environments. Paul specializes in photographing the Arctic and Antarctica with an emphasis on underwater photography, and it would seem that no location is out of his reach.

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44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World

44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World

This book covers the history of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 when the Shah was overthrown and the Islamic Republic was born. The major parts of this event took place in a mere 44 days, and David Burnett was there to capture a big part of it. Everything from mass protests, funerals, killings, the fall and rise of power, and everything else associated with the revolution.

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The Life of a Photograph

This is a collection of work from Sam Abell’s experience in the field as a National Geographic photographer. But the book isn’t about National Geographic or the stories covered by the photos — it’s about Sam Abell, his photos, and how they’ve taken on a life of their own.

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Odysseys and Photographs

This book is a collection of amazing photographs from four historic storytellers, and many of the images have rarely been seen outside of the National Geographic archives. The four photographers featured exhibit a collective work spanning most of the 20th century. Not only is the work extremely artistic, it’s also historic and serves as a permanent record of the World’s past.

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Visions of Paradise

Visions of Paradise is a collective publication from some of the most world renowned photographers of our time. 82 individuals attempt to present the audience with a vision of paradise based on their experience and travels. Each chapter is filled with brilliant and breathtaking imagery as large as life itself. Ranging from one to two page spreads, the photos contained in the book are easily appreciated and adored.

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Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration

Night Vision is a book about urban exploration — or the investigation of man-made places ignored and largely unseen. This includes old “ghost towns” and other sites that have been left to decay out of sight. Troy is a master of urban exploration, and he shares his thoughts and feelings on the topic throughout.

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Live, Laugh, Celebrate

This book is a collection of photographs from all over the Earth taken by many different photographers. This format suits the subject well because it allows for a wide display of imagery that wouldn’t be possible from a single photographer. But even with a diverse set of photos such as this, they’re all similar in the fact that they show people living, laughing, and celebrating. A good quick read and easy to get caught up in the photos.

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Mothers and Children

Mothers and Children

The photos in the book take us on a trip around the world while showing the many expressions and emotions of mothers and their children. This is a good one to have on the bookshelf or the coffee table.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS


What the Duck: A W.T. Duck Collection

What the Duck: A W.T. Duck Collection

Well… it’s a comic strip book. Don’t expect to find any breathtaking photos or golden nuggets of technical advice. The theme of the comic strip is a duck photographer and his journeys in the business. But you don’t have to be a professional to “get it”, since many of the strips are humorous to a wide spectrum of photographers.

Purchase from Amazon.com

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Fundamentals of Photography

Photography is such an expansive subject and it’s quite impossible to cover everything in a single book. Some books focus on very specific topics, but contain in-depth information. Other books are broad, but just skim the surface. Regardless of the style, many informational photography books drone on page after page, leaving the reader in a haze of technobabble and jargon. I don’t know how he did it, but Tom Ang managed to pack an incredible amount of information into this small handbook. Not only is the information valuable, it’s extremely concise and well laid out.

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Complete Digital Photography

Complete Digital Photography

The book focuses on the realm of digital photography, addressing those of us currently involved with digital photography and those looking to become involved. Digital cameras have matured over the last several years, bringing with them professionals and amateurs. Good photography is within reach for many people, and this book helps to lay the foundation for this hobby/profession.

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The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography

The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography

Whether you’re shooting informal family pictures or professional portraits, you’ll likely find new things in this eBook.

Purchase from dPS

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Sony Alpha DSLR A300/A350 Digital Field Guide

This is a great resource book for the Sony A300 and A350 photographer. It covers just about everything you can find in your user manual, plus a whole lot of practical stuff. New users will benefit the most from this book, as the assignments in Part 3 will familiarize them with the camera in-use.

Purchase from Amazon.com

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Do you guys have any other book recommendations? And which books would you like to receive this year?

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What a great list of books! This is a very valuable resource!

December 12, 2009 4:04 pm

Nice post Brian! I remember back in college, scraping up money, and having to decide between camera gear and books…it was always a hard decision: one was to take photos, the other was to LEARN how to take photos! Both equally important.

Andrew
TheDiscerningPhotographer

December 15, 2009 3:00 pm

Comment now!
















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