There’s no better way to improve your photography than to look at other photographs, particularly the life’s work of the masters. You can take all the workshops, read how-to books and magazines and spend a lifetime on forums, but there are really two ways to get better. The first, and most important, is to get out there with your camera and shoot. Shoot with purpose and shoot lots. A photographer I admire said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” There’s no other way to improve other than to shoot and shoot some more. The second best way is to look at what the masters have done and that brings me to the first part of the BlackRapid Holiday Gift Guide. These are some suggestions for great books with some amazing photographs. This list is not comprehensive, but rather some books that I own myself and can endorse wholeheartedly! There are little to no words in these books. They are books of photographs to be studied and enjoyed in awe.
Galen Rowell: A Retrospective – An adventure photographer with amazing landscapes published in National Geographic and other places.
Sam Abell: The Life of a Photographer – The breadth and beauty of Sam Abell’s images can’t be expressed with words. He shoots everything from portraits to landscapes.
Ernst Haas: The Creation – Incredible book of a photographic interpretation of the story of creation.
Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs – Needs no introduction
Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best – One of the all-time greats! His photographs and street photography defines the 20th century. A must!
Michael Kenna: A 20 Year Retrospective – If you want to see landscapes that give you an absolute sense of place, this book is for you. His photographs are often atmospheric and eery like nothing you’ve ever seen. Gorgeous.
Sebastiao Salgado: Workers – An Archaeology of the Industrial Age – You will not believe these images. Honestly, any book of Salgado’s work is mandatory. Incredible portraits of workers from all over the world. Amazing!!!
Sebastiao Salgado: Genesis
Arnold Newman: Masterclass – filled to the brim with absolutely gorgeous portraits as well as cityscapes and architecture.
Andreas Feininger: That’s Photography – Sweeping cityscapes from the former photo editor of Life Magazine during the 40s and 50s.
Jay Maisel: Jay Maisel’s New York – Jay’s name is synonymous with the name New York. Nobody has captured New York City over the past 50 years like Jay Maisel.
Arthur Meyerson: The Color of Light – Arthur is my personal mentor and his work captures the humanity, color and emotion of the human spirit like I can only hope for.
David Duchemin: Seven – Vancouver photographer whose work spans seven continents in this beautifully constructed book.
David Duchemin: Within the Frame & Photographically Speaking – Okay, I broke the rule here. These are the only books in the list that are not photo books (though the images in the book are stunning). David writes, not about technique, but about how to find and feed your vision. These two books are, without a doubt, the best written books on photography that I’ve read.