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2008 Photo Book Survey – PixSylated's First Annual | PixSylated

As photographers, we are visual creatures. We need to feed that vision by spending a lot of time looking at the works of other photographers. No, I’m not thinking of Flickr. I’m thinking of photography books –  books OF photographs, not books about the how-to of photography.

There are hundreds of photo books published each year (actually thousands if you count the photo books micro-published through Blurb and the rest). Here’s a round-up of titles that have caught my attention over the past year.

Consider this to be the First Annual PixSylated Photo Book Survey. As it’s the first, I’m taking the liberty of dipping into 2007 as well. The second annual list will be just photo books published in 2009 – I promise. Don’t read anything into the sequence – after the first handful.

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Wisdom by Andrew Zuckerman
Zuckerman photographed 50 compelling people – all over the age of 65. Each shares their wisdom for succeeding generations. A few of the subjects are: Chinua Achebe, Madeleine Albright, Dave Brubeck, Clint Eastwood, Jane Goodall, Henry Kissinger, Graham Nash, Desmond Tutu… Includes a DVD of the documentary by the same name. Hardcover, 206 pages, Oct. 2008, $32

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The Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally
OK. Even though Joe’s newest book won’t be out until sometime after the New Year, it’s still at the top of my list. Don’t know Joe McNally? Then, check out his first bestseller, The Moment It Clicks and my review. Joe has circled the globe almost as many times as Santa. His photographs and his stories are always memorable. Paperback, 272 pages, Feb. 2009, $27

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Annie Leibowitz At Work by Annie Leibowitz
Regardless of whether you love her or despise her, Annie Leibowitz is one of the most iconic photographers of our time. Annie Leibowitz At Work is the most how-to of all the books on this list. No, you won’t find lighting diagrams. Instead you’ll be regailed with rich photographs, stories of their creation and thoughts on the journey of a photographer. Hardcover, 240 pages, Nov. 2008, $24

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Over: The American Landscape at the Tipping Point by Alex MacLean
I’m fascinated with aerial photographs. Given that Alex MacLean has been making them for more than 30 years, there’s no doubt that he’s in the pilot’s seat when it comes to the creation of a photo book that comments on the interface of natural and manmade environments. Beautiful and environmentally challenging at the same time. Hardcover, 336 pages, Oct. 2008, $28

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Vanity Fair: The Portraits by Graydon Carter
Vanity Fair Magazine
has published compelling portraits for nearly a century. Their list of contributing photographers includes such luminaries as Edward Steichen, Herb Ritts, Annie Leibowitz and David LaChapelle. This thick volume presents a broad collection of stunning Vanity Fair portraits through the ages. Hardcover, 374 pages, Sept. 2008, $41

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Joyce Tenneson: A Life in Photography 1968-2008 by Joyce Tenneson
I had the good fortune to run into Joyce Tenneson while attending a workshop in Santa Fe a couple of years ago. Her work is enchanting and ephemeral. The book is the first retrospective collection of Tenneson’s work and presents works from many of her well-known series along with early photographs, self-portraits and writings. Hardcover, 160 pages, Apr. 2008, $21

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American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country photographs by Paul Mobley
Paul Mobely photographed 300 farmers in 35 states for this project. Some are nearly broke. Others are very wealthy. Some farm a small patch. Others farm thousands of acres. Books like this remind me that every bit of food that crosses our lips was produced by a farmer – somewhere. Hardcover, 276 pages, Oct. 2008, $32

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Inside Iran by Mark Edward Harris
It’s too easy to “evilify” an entire country when you’ve never been there. LA-based photographer Mark Edward Harris follows up his 2007 Inside North Korea with Inside Iran. Both are beautifully photographed and worthy of your time. Harris goes well beyond the stereotype created by our mass media and intimately captures life in each country. No doubt – both have oppressive governments. That does not mean that the country is not filled with warm-blooded humans. Hardcover, 208 pages, Jul. 2008, $35

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Life: The Classic Collection by Editors of Life Magazine
A large format book that presents a wide range of Life’s most classic photographs. Large pictures with relatively little text. A unique feature is that 25 iconic images are perforated for removal and framing – with a second copy each permanently bound in the book. Hardcover, 144 pages, Oct. 2008, $19

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Planet Earth by Alastair Fothergill
This is the coffee table book produced after the Discovery Channel / BBC series of the same name. The DVDs are a favorite here in the Arena household. Beautifully photographed and insightfully narrated. The book is equally well produced and features more than 400 photographs. Hardcover, 312 pages, Mar. 2007, $27

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Performance: Richard Avedon by John Lahr & others
Avedon was synonymous with celebrity portraiture. More than 200 of the 20th-century’s most famous and infamous entertainment personas are presented in this bold retrospective of Avedon’s work. The hardcore Avedon enthusiast will appreciate the insights shared by a critic and four artists who knew him well. Hardcover, 304 pages, Oct. 2008, $45 [Avedon fans should also check out Portraits of Power – a retrospective look at his work with politicians and political events – both mainstream and alternative. Hardcover, 298 pages, Oct. 2008, $39]

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The Americans by Robert Frank / intro by Jack Kerouac
The 50th anniversary reissue of this classic looks at America in the mid-50s. Financed by a Guggenheim grant, Robert Frank traversed the continent and captured the hearts and souls of Americans from all walks of life. Contains 83 tri-tone plates – each re-scanned and re-cropped by Frank. Hardcover, 180 pages, May 2008, $27

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Creature by Andrew Zuckerman
It’s not often that you can have an entire zoo on your coffee table. Andrew Zuckerman’s Creature features 150 studio portraits of wild animals. Graham Nash, a pioneer in digital print making, wrote the forward. Fascinating and beautiful. Hardcover, 200 pages, Nov. 2007, $60

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Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs by Ansel Adams
As a photographer, I grew up in the era and under the aura of Ansel Adams. A portrait of Adams, taken by Henry Wilhelm, hangs above my desk. This large collection is presented in chronological sequence and grouped into five eras of Adams’ career. A great way to become acquainted with one of the most beloved and controversial photographers of the 20th-century. Hardcover, 440 pages, Oct. 2007, $27

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My Last Supper by Melanie Dunea
My friends know that I love food more than I love photography. ‘My Last Supper’ brings both worlds together. Melanie Dunea asked 50 famous chefs to describe their final meal. Their stories and recipes are savory. Dunea’s portrait of each is like a rich, butter-cream icing. Wish I’d thought of this project. Hardcover, 224 pages, Oct. 2007, $27

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Discoveries: Henri Cartier-Bresson by Clement Cheroux
Here’s another book on the list that’s not been published. I have to confess, this is one that I know virtually nothing about. But hey, it’s Cartier-Bresson. Any new book on this influential photographer is worth keeping on the radar. Paperback, 160 pages, Dec. 2008?, $11

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Athlete by Walter Iooss
With 300 or so Sports Illustrated covers to his credit, Walter Iooss is among the most legendary of legendary sports photographers. Iooss pairs the best shots from his 50-year career with anecdotes about their creation. A must-have for the sports shooter and armchair athlete. Hardcover, 236 pages, May 2008, $24

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Nurse: A World of Care by Peter Jaret and Karen Kasmauski
Insightfully written and beautifully photogaphed. Jaret and Kasmauski were Pulitzer-nominees in 2003 for Impact: From the Frontlines of Global Health. Their new book continues the standard for excellence. Kasmauski’s photographs have been featured in more than 30 Nat. Geo. articles. Hardcover, 238 pages, April, 2008, $30

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Tim Walker Pictures by Tim Walker
It’s not often that mere mortals can get inside the head and heart of a top fashion photographer. This large and thick edition provides just that opportunity. Known widely for his work in Europe, Walkers photos and insights won’t disappoint readers on the other side of the Atlantic. Hardcover, 363 pages, June 2008, $79

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Meditations In Silver: Photographic Studies by Paul Caponigro
When I was coming of age as a photographer in the ’80s, my trinity was Ansel Adams, Paul Caponigro and Minor White. Of the three, Caponigro’s work resonates with me some 25 years later. His still lifes, the subject of this book, are often superficially simple, yet complex and provocative beneath. Meditations In Silver is the volume that accompanied the solo exhibition of Caponigro still lifes at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art earlier this year. Hardcover, 69 pages, July 2008, $50.

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A Camera, Two Kids and a Camel by Annie Griffiths Belt
As one of the first female photographers for the Nat. Geo., Annie Belt would have an interesting story to share. Add to that a couple of kids, a sense of humor and a world-class portfolio and you have a marvelous photo book.  Hardcover, 224 pages, March 2008, $24

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Storm Chaser: A Photographer’s Journey by Jim Reed
When it comes to photos of tornados and hurricanes, I defintely want to be a voyeur. Fortunately, for more than 15 years, Jim Reed has chased extreme weather with his camera. Reed’s images remind me that natural power, devistation and beauty often go together. Hardcover, 192 pages, Oct. 2007, $24

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Beautiful Sheep photographed by Paul Farnham
It’s one thing to make beautiful pix of fashion models. It’s entirely another to make beautiful photographs of sheep. Paul Farnham’s shots are proof that you don’t have to be beautiful to be beautifully photographed. Hardcover, 112 pages, Nov 2008, $14

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Hungry Planet: What the World Eats photographedby Peter Menzel
Photojournalist Peter Menzel surveyed the globe for eating habits. He covers 30 families in 24 countries. Each family purchased a typical week’s groceries. Each family was photographed with all of the food spread around them. Insightful, beautiful and challenging. Paperback, 287 pages, Sept. 2007, $17

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The Oxford Project by Stephen Bloom & Peter Feldstein
You’ve heard of Oxford, right? Oxford, Iowa that is. In 1984, Peter Feldstein managed to photograph nearly every person in his hometown – population 676. Twenty years later he returned to make new photographs. Author Stephen Bloom adds the insights gained from the subjects about the passage of time and the changes in their lives. One of the most popular photography books this year. Hardcover, 264 pages, Sept, 2008, $32

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National Geographic: The Photographs by Leah Bendavid-Val
If you need a small-format (6″ x 6″), encyclopedic collection of Nat. Geo. photography for the guest bedroom or to park on top of the loo, this is the volume for you. Hardcover, 336 pages, Sept. 2008, $12

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Brought To Light: Photography & The Invisible 1840 to 1900 by Corey Keller & others
I almost passed over this book, until I noticed that it was produced by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Over 200 vintage photographs from the 19th-century remind us that all we take for granted was once new and, perhaps, revolutionary. Hardcover, 208 pages, Nov. 2008, $32

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The Best Photo Book Store… Period.

All of the links above will take you to the easy-to-use-beheamoth Amazon. If you are looking for a rare, out-of-print or otherwise special photo book, I suggest you check out Photo-Eye. Should you find yourself in Santa Fe, consider Photo-Eye a must-visit shop.

The PixSylated Wishlist At Amazon.

I’ve heard that my family members periodically take a peak at PixSylated. So, to all of you, the quick answer is “No, I haven’t snuck out and bought all of these books.” I have, however, tarried in every bookshop I’ve come upon in the past year. Here’s the PixSylated Wishlist at Amazon.

5 Responses to 2008 Photo Book Survey – PixSylated’s First Annual

  1. My wishlist this year is this trip book, this is an Quebec actor, which his father was a cameraman and since he was a kid Jean-Michel had always had a camera in his hands. This book is about his Voyages (trips) it’s all written in french, but the images are simply amazing. totally worth it eventhough you can’t read french 🙂

    http://www.archambault.ca/store/Product.asp?mscssid=&sku=002125870&type=5

  2. […] Speaking of books – and since it’s neigh Christmas time ALREADY – Syl from Pixsylated has a great review of books to consider as gifts this year in his first annual survey of photography […]

  3. […] A nice follow-up piece to my tutorials last week on making photo books, comes from Syl Arena who did a survey and research about photo book sources. Worth checking out (here’s the link). […]

  4. No quibbling with the list, but the book I really enjoyed was Peter Brown’s West of Last Chance.

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