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Best Photo Books for Christmas

Best Photo Books for Christmas
Best Photo Books for Christmas
Here is a selection of photo books that, in my opinion, should be in your library! It is of course a very subjective choice and if I could, I would have chosen at least 50 of them. This collection will help you to draft your 'wish list' or to find the perfect gift for someone who enjoys photography. Happy Holidays!

Minkkinen by Arno Rafael Minkkinen
Kehrer Verlag - 280 pages
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Now spanning five decades of non-stop continuity, Finnish-American photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen's (b.1945) unmanipulated self-portraits aim to create a balance between the naked human form and the natural and urban worlds wherein we exist. Whether he is working along lakeshores or beaches, in cities or forests, from majestic mountaintops or buried in the snow, Minkkinen reminds us that we are foremost beings without clothes. Photographed in more than 30 countries and 20 American States, the results can be surreal, spiritual, and transformative, often tinged with a profound sense of humor.

Poetic and sometimes magical, the viewer is captivated by the acrobatic visuals and the photograph's physical performance. A must have for any photography lover and an excellent gift for -almost- the entire family.

Arno Rafael Minkkinen

© Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Arno Rafael Minkkinen

© Arno Rafael Minkkinen

The Fire Next Time by Steve Schapiro & James Baldwin
Taschen, 276 pages
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All the grief, grit, and unassailable dignity of the civil rights movement are evoked in this illustrated edition of James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, with photographs by Steve Schapiro. Together, Baldwin's frank account of the black experience and Schapiro's vital images offer poetic and potent testimony to one of the most important struggles of American society.

Steve SchapiroX

© Steve Schapiro

Steve SchapiroX

© Steve Schapiro



MASK by Chris Rainier
Insight Editions, 264 pages
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For over thirty years, Chris has been in search of the meaning of the mask. What began as a thorough visual documentation of the traditional mask rituals of New Guinea developed into a voyage of discovery that took him around the globe photographing traditional mask traditions. From the steppes of Mongolia to the jungles of South America, from the deserts of West Africa to the continent of India and the high Himalayan mountain monasteries of Tibet and Bhutan, from Day of the Dead Festivals in Mexico to the lands of the First Nation tribes of North America and from Sri Lanka to modern Europe, Chris has documented hundreds of different rituals of the tradition of the mask, both on still film and video.
The MASK book explores the origins of the mask with over 130 images as well as text by both Chris Rainier and Pico Iyer, the highly respected author of Video Nights in Kathmandu and the TED book The Art of Stillness.

Chris Rainier

© Chris Rainier

Chris Rainier

© Chris Rainier



Blue Alabama by Andrew Moore
Damiani, 180 pages
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Moore's photographs of the Black Belt honor its complicated histories but depart from them, avoiding stereotypes and finding the hope, resilience and creativity that animate this place. With the photographer acting "as a listener at history's doorstep," Blue Alabama offers a tender, surprising portrait of the South - a region marked by economic, social and cultural divisions, but also a love of history, tradition and land. The book includes a previously unpublished story by award-winning American novelist Madison Smartt Bell.

Andrew Moore

© Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore

© Andrew Moore



Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Hiroshi Watanabe
Unicorn Publishing Group, 128 pages
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Kwaidan presents the complete text of Hearn's classic 1903 book of Japanese ghost stories, collected during travels in his adopted homeland and presented in English for consumption by Western audiences. This edition pairs the original stories with twenty-eight photographs from celebrated photographer Hiroshi Watanabe, as well as an introduction from horror expert Paul Murray. Watanabe's photographs provide illumination and illustration for these eerie tales. This new edition of a classic text is likely to appeal to worldwide fans of Japanese folklore, supernatural stories, and contemporary photography.

Hiroshi Watanabe

© Hiroshi Watanabe

Hiroshi Watanabe

© Hiroshi Watanabe



The Pillar by Stephen Gill
Nobody, 224 pages
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A pillar knocked into the ground next to a stream in a flat, open landscape, trees and houses visible in the distance, beneath a vast sky. That is the backdrop to all of Stephen Gill´s photographs in this book. We see the same landscape in spring and summer, in autumn and winter, we see it in sunshine and rain, in snow and wind. Yet there is not the slightest monotony about these pictures, for in almost every one there is a bird, and each of these birds opens up a unique moment in time. We see something that has never happened before and will never happen again. That it takes place in the midst of a landscape characterised by repetition, in which time is cyclical, sets up a keen existential dynamic: on the one hand, everything has happened before, there's nothing new under the sun; on the other, every moment is unique and carries the hallmark of the miracle: what happens happens only once and never again. But this wasn't what I thought about the first time I looked at these photographs. In fact, I barely thought at all, for I was shaken, as a person so often is when confronted with an extraordinary work of art. I'd never seen birds in this way before, as if on their own terms, as independent creatures with independent lives. Ancient, forever improvising, endlessly embroiled with the forces of nature, and yet indulging too. And so infinitely alien to us. - Karl Ove Knausgård.

Stephen Gill

© Stephen Gill

Stephen Gill

© Stephen Gill



Lost and Found by Bruce Gilden
Éditions Xavier Barral, 164
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In the thick of New York: Bruce Gilden raw and unseen After recently moving house, Bruce Gilden discovered hundreds of contact prints and negatives in his personal archives, from work undertaken in New York, his native city, between 1978 and 1984. From these thousands of images, most of which are new even to their author, Gilden has selected around a hundred. Extending from the desire to revisit the work of his youth, this historic archive constitutes an inestimable treasure. An extraordinary New York is portayed here, revealing an unknown facet of Gilden's oeuvre. With all the energy of a young man in his thirties, and with no flash (before Gilden became famous for its almost systematic use), Gilden launched an assault on New York in a visibly tense atmosphere. In this extraordinary gallery of portraits, the compositions―mostly horizontal―simmer with energy, bursting with the most diverse characters, as though Gilden intended to include within the frame everything that caught his eye. In this book, we see the guiding tropes of the work that was to make Gilden famous: sustained movement and tension, unrivalled spirit, and an instinctive and irreverent affection for his subjects, perfectly in cahoots with his city.

Bruce Gilden

© Bruce Gilden

Bruce Gilden

© Bruce Gilden



Brooklyn, The City Within: Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb
Aperture, 208
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Brooklyn is one of the most dynamic and ethnically diverse places on the planet. In fact, it's estimated that one in every eight US families had relatives come through Brooklyn when settling in the country. Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb have been photographing this New York City borough for the past five years, creating a profound and vibrant portrait. Alex Webb has traversed every corner of the borough, exploring its tremendous diversity. This parallels his work made in the past forty years, traveling to photograph different cultures around the world―all of which are represented in the place he now calls home. Contrasting with this approach, Rebecca Norris Webb photographed “the city within the city within the city,” the green heart of Brooklyn―the Botanic Garden, Greenwood Cemetery, and Prospect Park, where Brooklynites of all walks of life cross paths as they find solace. Together, their photographs of Brooklyn tell a larger American story, one that touches on immigration, identity, and home.

Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

© Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

© Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb



The Meeting: Nadav Kander
Steidl, 324 pages
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Regardless of his sitter—whether family member or influential celebrity—the portraiture of London-based photographer Nadav Kander (born 1961) shows what makes that particular individual human. His aim is to move beyond capturing an accurate likeness—to access the emotions within, the uncertainty, the shadow as much as the light, the complex sense of self that otherwise lays hidden. “Revealed and concealed, beauty and destruction, ease and disease, shame and shameless,” explains Kander, “These paradoxes are essential to all my work and represent what is common to all my varied subject matter.” This collection, the first book dedicated to his portraiture, shows the range and nuance of Kander's work. His enigmatic depictions of actors, artists, musicians, authors, sports icons and political leaders—from Barack Obama, John le Carré and Alexander McQueen to Tracey Emin, Robert Plant and Prince Charles—are layered and penetrating, revealing unexpected moments of reverie and vulnerability.

Nadav Kander

© Nadav Kander

Nadav Kander

© Nadav Kander



The Other Side: Nan Goldin
Steidl, 140 pages
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"This is a book about beauty. And about love for my friends." –Nan Goldin This is an expanded and updated version of Nan Goldin's seminal book The Other Side, originally published in 1993, featuring a revised introduction by Goldin, and, for the first time, the voices of those whose stories are represented. Published at a time when discourse around gender and sexual orientation is evolving rapidly, The Other Side traces some of the history that informs this new visibility. The first photographs in the book are from the 1970s, when Goldin lived in Boston with a group of drag queens and documented their glamour and vulnerability. In the early 1980s, Goldin chronicled the lives of transgender friends in New York when AIDS began to decimate her community. In the '90s, she recorded the explosion of drag as a social phenomenon in New York, Berlin, Bangkok and the Philippines. Goldin's newest photographs are intimate portraits, imbued with tenderness, of some of her most beloved friends. The Other Side is her homage to the queens she has loved, many of whom she has lost, over the last four decades.

Nan Goldin

© Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin

© Nan Goldin



Sunshine Hotel: Mitch Epstein
Steild, 264 pages
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America, as a place and an idea, has occupied Mitch Epstein's art for the past five decades. With the first photographs he made in 1969 at the age of 16, Epstein began confronting the cultural psychology of the United States. Although he started working in an era defined by the Vietnam War, civil rights, rock and roll, and free love, he responded hardily to each radically different era that followed―from Reaganomics to surveillance after 9/11, to the current climate crisis and resurgence of white supremacy. More than a single era or issue, it is the living organism of American culture that engages Epstein; no matter how much the country changes, he describes something mysteriously and persistently American.
Conceived of and sequenced by Andrew Roth, Sunshine Hotel assembles 175 photos made between 1969 and 2018―more than half of them previously unpublished. Yet the book is not simply a retrospective. It traces both the evolution of an artist and the development of a country, revealing Epstein's formal and thematic shifts in tandem with America's changing zeitgeist and landscape. Sunshine Hotel is a visual immersion that forgoes linearity and a classical layout, as it sets forth Epstein's evolving understanding of his country's pathologies and promise.

Mitch Epstein

© Mitch Epstein

Mitch Epstein

© Mitch Epstein



Lions: Laurent Baheux
teNeues, 192 pages
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The French photographer Laurent Baheux dedicates his new book to the "King of the Animals"--the lion. Breathtaking black-and-white images create a powerful portrait of one of the most majestic and endangered species in the world. Think of lions and one might think of the powerful member of the "Big Five," with a roar that echoes across the planes, and a merciless pursuit of its prey. One might think of the pack animal, surprisingly playful and affectionate within its pride. Or one might think of the endangered lion--long the target of hunters and trophy collectors. In this new photo book, Laurent Baheux journeys across Africa to capture the lion in all its intricate facets. The result is a sensitive and intimate photo portrait that shows the big cat in all its nuance: at once powerful, fragile, and tender. Baheux's stunning black-and-white lion photographs show this feline animal with the precision and texture of a studio portrait--its many different movements, postures, behaviors, and expressions captured with startling intimacy. Playing among the pride, out hunting its prey, or eyeing us directly from the page, Baheux's lion photography is as much a tribute to the lion's character, power, and feeling as it is a haunting reminder that this most impressive of animals is also among the most endangered wildlife on earth.

Laurent Baheux

© Laurent Baheux

Laurent Baheux

© Laurent Baheux



Conversations on Conflict Photography by Lauren Walsh
Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 376
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In today's image-saturated culture, the visual documentation of suffering around the world is more prevalent than ever. Yet instead of always deepening the knowledge or compassion of viewers, conflict photography can result in fatigue or even inspire apathy. Given this tension between the genre's ostensible goals and its effects, what is the purpose behind taking and showing images of war and crisis?
Conversations on Conflict Photography invites readers to think through these issues via conversations with award-winning photographers, as well as leading photo editors and key representatives of the major human rights and humanitarian organizations. Framed by critical-historical essays, these dialogues explore the complexities and ethical dilemmas of this line of work. The practitioners relate the struggles of their craft, from brushes with death on the frontlines to the battles for space, resources, and attention in our media-driven culture. Despite these obstacles, they remain true to a purpose, one that is palpable as they celebrate remarkable success stories: from changing the life of a single individual to raising broad awareness about human rights issues.
Opening with an insightful foreword by the renowned Sebastian Junger and richly illustrated with challenging, painful, and sometimes beautiful images, Conversations offers a uniquely rounded examination of the value of conflict photography in today's world.

Conversations on Conflict Photography

© Lauren Walsh

Alexander Joe

© Alexander Joe

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