Things I Love

Things I Love: My Photography Books

Some of my favorite photography books

Some of my favorite photography books

I love looking at other photographers’ work: in books, online, in homes, you-name-it. Don’t you?

I look for storytelling inspiration; new ways to capture a scene with creative compositions, and the use of ambient light—all the things I need to work on.

On my living room coffee table, I have a small collection of books that are the beginning of what I hope will be an extensive library. It’s relatively new, this growing archive, I used to feel that all I needed was the Internet and a great retina display, but it’s not true. I like my oversized books, with their rich colors and thick paper that make a whoosh sound when I turn the pages.

Here are some of my favorites –

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Himalayan Odyssey by David Samuel Robbins: David was the lead on trips I went on to Bhutan and Myanmar, and I thought it would be great to have his book after discussing it with him during our travels.

Why I like it: The book is oversized making the most of Robbins’ images. The colors are rich and warm, and having been in the Himalayas, I connect with subject matter. I especially like various photos that have unique compositional qualities.

Photo: Timothy Allen

Photo: Timothy Allen

Human Planet: Nature’s Greatest Human Stories, photographs by Timothy Allen: A complement to the renowned BBC documentary series, Human Planet travels the globe detailing the lives of some of the world’s most remote cultures.

Why I like it: I saw a photo by Timothy Allen two years ago and I’ve been dazzled by his work ever since. He was named Cutty Sark’s 2013 Travel Photography of the Year for good reason. I seriously covet his talent, and pretty much every photograph in the book is fantastic, honest.

Photo: John Isaac

Photo: John Isaac

Vale of Kashmir by John Isaac: A new friend of mine, John has become a mentor. He’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met and has lived an extraordinary life. He was the chief photographer for the United Nations for decades, went on tour with Michael Jackson, and now shoots wildlife, the tigers of India being a particular favorite.

Why I like it: John’s gentle soul is the lens by which he shoots Kashmir. His images are beautiful and intimate, and express the love he has for his subjects.

Photos: Brandon Stanton

Photos: Brandon Stanton

Humans of New York  by Brandon Stanton: A New York Times bestseller, Humans of New York is a photographic phenomenon. Stanton’s Facebook page alone has over 3 million active followers who love his New Yorker portraits paired with a perfect quote or story, gleaned from insightful conversations with his muses.

Why I like it: Brandon’s photography alone is not on my top ten list by any means, but In a city where people are moving so fast that they often miss what’s right in front of them, Stanton has a knack for “seeing” and communicating the compassionate, wild, wacky, wonderful, sad, crazy and extreme personalities that grace New York’s five boroughs. I sat at my local haunt one night and paged through the book. I’m pretty sure that the people in the bar thought I was nuts because I was smiling, laughing, and tearing up all by my lonesome in the space of hour.

Photo: Sebastiao Salgado

Photo: Sebastiao Salgado

Africa by Sabastião Salgado: Considered one of the most talented photographers of all time, whenever I speak to professionals about their favorites, Salgado invariably comes up. After the 100th time I felt it was time to get one of his books, and I am so glad I did.

Why I like it: Salgado’s gorgeous black and white photography is a tribute to the beauty and savagery found in Africa. Often bleak and heartbreaking, his images of the countless men, women and children who have suffered at the hands of man, and natural disasters, are particularly poignant.

Photo: Greg du Toit

Photo: Greg du Toit

Awe: African Wildlife Exposed by Greg du Toit: Named 2013 Wildlife Photographer of the Year by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, Greg du Toit’s book was a surprise gift from photographer friends from Wild Eye in South Africa, the group that hosted me in Kenya last September. (For consideration: Greg will lead a trip in June to Kenya’s South Rift Valley for Wild Eye. It will be a mix of conservation, culture and photography. )

Why I like it: Greg’s dedication to his work – he once spent several months shoulder deep in an African watering hole, hoping to capture the shot which ended up on the book’s cover – is very inspiring and reminds me that many times photography is all about patience. He has some fantastic motion and night shots, as well as some macro images of birds and insects that will blow your mind.

In case you’re interested: more Things That I Love

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