I'm moving into a new house, and as I pack up all my stuff I realize that some of my heavier possessions are my photography books. I have too many. My photography books inspire me, instruct me and help me recall why I love the craft of photography.
If you are looking for inspiration, examples of exceptional photography or stories about interesting photographers, here are a few in my collection worth investigating.
¢ "Personal Exposures" by Elliott Erwitt
Any book by Erwitt is worthwhile, but this one is a solid collection from his career in journalism, fashion and print advertising. His black-and-white candid photographs capture the humorous and the ironic in everyday situations. He took the infamous 1959 "Kitchen Debate" photo of Khrushchev and Nixon engaged in an argument in front of a Macy's department store model kitchen.
¢ "Looking for the Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott" by Paul Hendrickson
Wolcott was one of the Farm Security Administration photographers during the Great Depression. This biography includes many of her photographs as well as stories from her three years of solo travels on the road documenting the Deep South. In 1941, at the age of 31, Marion Post abandoned photography, her greatest passion, to pursue marriage and motherhood, having produced a remarkable body of work in only three years.
¢ "Steam Steel and Stars," by Tim Hensley and O. Winston Link
In the late 1950s, Link documented the last steam railroad left, the Norfolk and Western Railway. Using elaborate setups of synchronized flashbulbs, Link would capture amazing night photographs of steam trains passing through rural America. A well-known image by Links shows people in their cars at a drive-in theater while a steam engine passes through in the background.
¢ "Why People Photograph" by Robert Adams
This small book by the noted American West photographer is a collection of essays on photography and Adams' firm belief in the importance and relevance of art. I return to this book often for inspiration and motivation in my own work.
¢ "Stay This Moment: The Photographs of Sam Abell" by Robert Gilka and Sam Abell
This is a retrospective of Abell's life and career in photography, largely with National Geographic. I attended a photography workshop by Abell and was impressed by his photography as well as his teachings on the process of photography and how to make it meaningful in your life. Abell's photographs display simplicity of technique and vision.