U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: favorite photography books

Re: favorite photography books

Hi Chris,

I have a ton of books that I really love, for many different reasons, but the ones I probably go back to the most (and from which I show the most work in my classes), are the following--in no particular order. (Warning: Way more than 6 here-- and most aren't alt processes. The alt processes are at the bottom-- and all familiar to you, I'm sure. The ones that are, I put a little star beside the title). Thanks, that was fun. Again-- sorry for going over the #6 limit!

The Brown Sisters (Nicholas Nixon) - I just love this book, because it's such an amazingly compelling (though deceptively simple) portrait of so much--most notably, the passage of time. So well done (and a little scary).

The Americans (Robert Frank)

Ralph Eugene Meatyard: An American Visionary
Ralph Eugene Meatyard (An Aperture Monograph) -- I just love those dreamlike images

The Brooklyn Gang (Bruce Davidson): I had a chance to see this work in NYC some years ago. Again, I just think they're such strong images-- about another place and time, and a specific group of people, yet-- in many ways-- so familiar.

Bill Brandt: Behind the Camera - I love these dark grainy images, and unusual perspectives.

A Way of Seeing (Helen Levitt) - I love every image in this book (and wish I'd taken them all!)

Emmet Gowin: Photographs - This book accompanied an exhibit Gowin had at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1990. I saw the exhibit, and bought the book. At the time, it was about $15. I used to take this into classes up until a few years ago. A student wanted to know if the book was still available, so I looked it up. Turns out it's now a collector's item, worth a bundle now. So I don't take it in anymore. ;) But I've always loved his work, particularly the early work with Edith and her family. I just heard him speak again, just a few weeks ago at Duke-- still so impressive-- (the work, too!), and Edith was sitting right there on the front row.

Flesh and Blood: Photographers' Images of Their Own Families (editors: Alice Rose George; Abigail Heyman; Ethan Hoffman) - Wonderful photographs of family members from many different photographers. One of my favorites is the front cover one, by Diana Blok, the portrait of her mother and father.

Frantisek Drtikol: Modernist Nudes - Drtikol, a Czech photographer who did a lot of art-deco inspired work in the 1930's, is one of my very favorite photographers; I had never heard of him before I saw an exhibit of his work in NYC about 14 years ago. He photographed a lot of female nudes, but he stopped using real models at some point, and started using cut-outs. Really beautiful images--all about form and shape, with wonderful use of light-- images also have a dark and dreamlike quality to them.

* The Art of Enhanced Photography: Beyond the Photographic Image (editors: James Luciana and Judith Watts) - Wonderful images (and many very unusual and I haven't seen them anyplace else) of alternative techniques in photography, with interesting bios of the photographers and the way they work. Stunningly beautiful reproductions.

*Angels at the Arno: Eric Lindbloom - lovely images taken in Florence, all with a Diana camera. (Not really alt processes, technically, but all done with a toy camera, so I starred it anyway!) Really one of my favorite books.

*The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes (Christopher James) - In terms of "how-to" books, this is my absolute favorite, which includes great examples and very clear and interesting, down-to- earth, yet smart, writing--terrific detailed instructions, too.

*I also have all of the Post-Factory Journals (should have had them laminated--they're getting dog-eared and dirty now, too--), and Sarah Van Keuren's latest edition-- all really helpful and very clear writing as well.

*Pinhole Photography: Rediscovering a Historic Technique (Eric Renner) - I use this a lot, too. For anyone interested in pinhole, this has everything-- great history, detailed instructions, reciprocity calculation guides--everything you'd ever want or need to know about pinhole--and a wide range of unusual pinhole photographs included as well.