As we have just commenced the year of 2015, I would like to wish you a very happy new year and share with you 12 of the top photography books I have come across that were published in 2014.
Some I chose purely on the merits of their photographic beauty. Others were chosen because of the moving stories told through their photographs.
You can click on the book title link for more info on Amazon about each of the books and where you can also order any of them online with free shipping if you like:
1- Leon Levinstein. American street photographer Leon Levinstein is much admired within the photographic community, but little known outside of it. Levinstein’s fearless and unsentimental black-and-white images, whether shot in New York City, Coney Island, Haiti, Mexico or India, possess in Metropolitan Museum of Art Curator of Photographs Jeff Rosenheim’s words, “graphic virtuosity–seen in raw, expressive gestures and seemingly monumental bodies–balanced by an unusual compassion for his offbeat subjects.” In 1975, at the age of 65, Levinstein received a grant from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His intention, in his own words, was “to photograph as wide a spectrum of the American scene as my experience and vision will allow.” This long-awaited book fulfills this ambitious goal.
2 – Horst: Photographer of Style. The first major book to celebrate the entire career of legendary fashion photographer Horst P. Horst. The first comprehensive book on Horst P. Horst, this richly illustrated survey accompanies a retrospective of the photographer’s career, spanning fashion, nudes, portraiture, interiors, and art, at the Victoria and Albert Museum. For an incredible six decades, Horst’s work graced the pages and covers of Vogue, beginning in the 1930s alongside luminaries such as Cecil Beaton and George Hoyningen-Huene. With equal admiration for the physical ideals of classical sculpture and the surrealism of Salvador Dali, Horst crafted some of fashion’s most iconic images. Newly researched essays follow the photographer as he captured—and mingled with—the great thinkers, designers, and muses of his day, among them Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel. Known first as a master photographer of French and British couture, Horst also left his mark on interior and lifestyle photography with his work in House & Garden. This survey traces a career remarkable for its range, daring, and depth.
3 – Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas. Hiroshi Sugimoto (born 1948) began his four-decade-long series Dioramas in 1974, inspired by a trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Surrounded by the museum’s elaborate, naturalistic dioramas, Sugimoto realized that the scenes jumped to life when looked at with one eye closed. Recreated forestry and stretches of uninhabited land, wild, crouching animals against painted backgrounds and even prehistoric humans seemed entirely convincing with this visual trick, which launched a conceptual exploration of the photographic medium that has traversed his entire career. Focusing his camera on individual dioramas as though they were entirely surrounding scenes, omitting their frames and educational materials and ensuring that no reflections enter the shot, his subjects appear as if photographed in their natural habitats.
4 – LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Notion of Family. In this, her first book, LaToya Ruby Frazier (born 1982) offers an incisive exploration of the legacy of racism and economic decline in America’s small towns, as embodied by Braddock, Pennsylvania, Frazier’s hometown. The work also considers the impact of that decline on the community and on her family, creating a statement both personal and truly political–an intervention in the histories and narratives of the region that are dominated by stories of Andrew Carnegie and Pittsburgh’s industrial past, but largely ignore those of black families and the working classes.
5 – Danny Clinch. Danny Clinch has established himself as a premier photographer of the popular music scene, photographing a wide range of artists from Johnny Cash and Tupac Shakur to Björk and Dave Matthews. His photos have appeared on hundreds of album covers, as well as in publications such as Vanity Fair, Spin, Rolling Stone, and the New Yorker, and his ad campaigns for John Varvatos have adorned city streets and billboards. This lavish monograph chronicles Danny Clinch’s illustrious career with more than 200 photographs of the most important musicians of all time, along with his personal anecdotes and a written contribution by Bruce Springsteen. With images ranging from backstage shots at the Grammys to intimate candids, Still Moving is the ultimate gift for music lovers.
6 – Art Kane. Art Kane was one of the most profoundly influential photographers of the twentieth century. A bold visionary, his work explored a number of genres – fashion, editorial, celebrity portraiture, travel, and nudes with an unrelenting and innovative eye. Like his contemporaries, Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) and Helmut Newton (1924-2004), Kane developed a style that didn’t shy away from strong color, eroticism and surreal humor. This is the first time Kane’s work has been collected into one, breathtaking volume. Beautifully curated, it is a fitting tribute to one of photography’s most original and creative forces.
7 – Brazil by Olaf Heine. A Brazilian proverb states, “Those who leave will take longing on their journeys.” However, translating saudade with “longing” doesn’t do the term justice. Olaf Heine’s photographs convey impressions that are hard to put into words. Since 2010, the renowned photographer has captured the soul of Brazil. Presenting the land of Carnival and Copacabana in black-and-white is not as paradoxical as it might first seem. Heine’s photographs are as deeply melancholic as they are sensual. With a keen sense for shapes and textures, he also exemplifies Oscar Niemeyer’s words: “The whole universe is made of curves.” These curves appear in architecture and human bodies, and also permeate the Brazilian lifestyle. From the intensity of its passions to the lightness of its shapes, Olaf Heine portrays a fascinating country in all its diversity and beauty.
8 – The Seventh Dog by Danny Lyon. Danny Lyon is one of the 20th century’s most influential documentary photographers. In The Seventh Dog, Lyon tells the story of his personal photographic journey, beginning in the present day and moving back in time through the 1950s. Beautifully produced, this unique photo book features Lyon’s own writings, collages, letters, documents, and color and black–and–white photographs – many published here for the first time.
9 – Richard Renaldi: Touching Strangers. Since 2007, Richard Renaldi has been working on a series of photographs that involve approaching and asking complete strangers to physically interact while posing together for a portrait. Working on the street with a large format eight-by-ten-inch view camera, Renaldi encounters the subjects for his photographs in towns and cities all over the United States. He pairs them up and invites them to pose together, intimately, in ways that people are usually taught to reserve for their close friends and loved ones. Renaldi creates spontaneous and fleeting relationships between strangers, for the camera, often pushing his subjects beyond their comfort levels. These relationships may only last for the moment the shutter is released, but the resulting photographs are moving and provocative, and raise profound questions about the possibilities for positive human connection in a diverse society.
10 – Everything: The Black and White Monograph by Christopher Makos. Everything is a comprehensive survey of Mako’s photographic work from 1973 to the present. As Peter Wise writes, it is a collection of images “so distinctly of a particular moment that a whole context is encapsulated” that communicate “something singular about a cultural moment.” This compilation, the first volume in a projected series, is unbound by “categories, themes, or specific subject matter.” Instead, it serves as a period piece, a vision of a particular time and place assembled by the man Doston Rader says is “widely considered the most important and gifted photographer of his generation.”
11 – Banksy in New York by Ray Mock. Photographer Ray Mock takes you along on his exciting hunt for new Banksy work during the famous Better Out Than In project in his new book Banksy in New York. This personal narrative offers a day-by-day account of Banksy’s first New York residency, chronicling works that include Sirens of the Lambs and the Central Park stand at which original works by Banksy were sold for only $60. Mock’s work captures not only Banksy’s artwork but the reactions of the public and media frenzies that often accompanied it, giving fans a direct window into the frenetic scavenger hunt that took over New York City in October 2013. Banksy in New York offers a closer look at Banksy’s witty and irreverent art and the varied responses it received, while lending insight into the artist’s sharp social commentary. This book is a must-have for those new to the scene and Banksy fanatics alike.
12 – Angels by Russell James. The Victoria’s Secret Angels have become an iconic representation of female beauty and sensuality that is unparalleled in popular culture. Russell James has spent 15 years being the primary photographer for the lovely and fascinating women who have been featured by Victoria’s Secret over the years. The list certainly is an impressive one, including such headline names as Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima, and Alessandra Ambrosio, to name a few. This ample volume showcases these heavenly representations of womanhood in all their splendor. Subtly provocative in a tastefully seductive manner, these portraits capture each model’s individual blend of physical attractiveness and beguiling personality. The array of images reflects playfulness and adventure, and the innovative compositions and technically perfect photography add to the overall captivating effect.