My Photography Bookshelf

When we asked Yousef Khanfar, guest editor of our March 2013 issue, to come up with a list of his favorite photography books, he sent us the following list of thirty-two essential titles. These are in addition to the many books by the twenty professional photographers he chose for inclusion in the March issue, whose work captures some of the most powerful and iconic images of our time.

Don McCullin

Don McCullin, by Don McCullin

An account of most of the major conflicts of the twentieth century. I consider McCullin the godfather of war photography.

 

 

Half Past Autumn

Half Past Autumn, by Gordon Parks

Not only a biography of a legendary photographer, but also a collection of civil right moments and the human touch.

 

 

Visual Symphony

Visual Symphony, by Bruce Barnbaum

I believe Barnbaum is one of the few living photographers who consistently produces landscape masterpieces.

 

 

Enchanted Landscape 

The Enchanted Landscape, by Wynn Bullock

Maybe one of the most seductive fine-art photography books of all time. A collection of Bullock’s images between 1940 and 1975 along with poems by Ursula K. Le Guin.

 

 

 Migrations

Migrations, by Sebastião Salgado

A human migration and movement phenomenon that exhibits suffering, dignity, and courage. Very powerful.

 

 

Minor White: The Eye That Shapes

Minor White: The Eye That Shapes, by Peter C. Bunnell

A retrospective of one the most influential figures in photography and one of the founders of Aperture magazine.

 

 

Irving Penn: Small Trades

Irving Penn: Small Trades, by Virginia Heckert and Anne Lacoste

One of the world’s preeminent photographers, Irving Penn captures portraits of regular people practicing their trades on a daily basis.

 

 

The Eternal Body

The Eternal Body, by Ruth Bernhard

Acclaimed for its originality and importance. A collection of fine-art nude photography.

 

 

Italy:In the Shadow of Time

Italy: In the Shadow of Time, by Linda Butler

A timeless collection of the spirit of Italy that includes architecture, antique objects, and evocative landscapes.

 

 

Dombrovskis: A Photographic Collection

Dombrovskis: A Photographic Collection, by Peter Dombrovskis

Some of the most powerful images of Australia from a lifelong activist for the environment.

 

 

Decisive Moment

The Decisive Moment, by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Ranked as one of the most important and influential photographers of our time, Cartier-Bresson discusses his theory of seizing the split-second image.

 

 

My Faraway One

My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz

It is always fascinating to read some of the intimate letters of these two giants and let their words seep into your soul.

 

 

I Dream a World

I Dream a World, by Brian Lanker

Portraits of black women who changed America. I visit this book very often.

 

 

Paris by Night

Paris by Night, by Brassaï

Stunning collection of true glimpses of the people, streets, architecture, and laborers of late-night Paris.

  

 

Let us Now Praise Famous Men

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee and Walker Evans

Two artists explore the daily lives of sharecroppers in the South. Recognized by the New York Public Library as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century.

 

 

Observations

Observations, by Truman Capote and Richard Avedon

A collection of Avedon’s famous celebrity portraits along with insightful words from Capote.

 

 

In and Out of Fashion

In and Out of Fashion, by William Klein

In one of the most important books on fashion, the legendary photographer takes us on a journey of fashion trends from the 1950s to the 1990s.

 

 

In the Moment

In the Moment: The Sports Photography of Tom Jenkins

Some of the most stunning sports photography of all time—second to none.

 

 

Women

Women, by Annie Leibovitz and Susan Sontag

Leibovitz presents iconic female portraits while Sontag writes about the spirit of women. A very fruitful collaboration.

 

 

Subway

Subway, by Bruce Davidson

This first book on people’s lives in East Harlem shows human beauty mixed with the struggle of daily life.

 

 

An American Exodus

An American Exodus, by Dorothea Lange

A sensitive work of the migration of families from Dust Bowl states to California. One of the most influential books that changed attitudes around the country.

 

 

Karsh

Karsh: A Sixty-Year Retrospective, by Yousuf Karsh

By far the largest collection of the portrait master Karsh, including nearly two hundred powerful portraits of our time, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton.

 

 

The Creation

The Creation, by Ernst Haas

This remarkable book is the result of years of work by one of the truly great photographers. Incredible images that magnificently represent the elements, the seasons, the animal world, and man.

 

 

Eikoh Hosoe: Embrace

Embrace by Eikoh Hosoe

Features Hosoe’s iconic, nearly abstract, formal studies of physical intimacy between men and women.

 

 

The Americans

The Americans, by Robert Frank, with an introduction by Jack Kerouac

The influential masterpiece by a photographer who traveled across America capturing the daily lives of people. A book that revolutionized photography.

 

 

Bazan Cuba

Bazan Cuba, by Ernesto Bazan

A photographer’s journey through Cuba after the collapse of Soviet communism, the U.S. embargo, and years of isolation.

 

 

Children at Work

Children at Work, by Lewis Hine

Powerful and disturbing images depicting children working barefoot, under harsh conditions, for long hours and only pennies.

 

 

Arnold Newman

Arnold Newman: Five Decades, by Arnold Newman

A true master of environmental portraiture exhibits his most famous portraits of powerful people from around the world.

 

 

Exiles

The Exiles, by Josef Koudelka, with an essay by Nobel laureate Czesław Miłosz

Images that penetrate and reflect the nature of alienation. One of the masters of photography revealing the spiritual and physical state of exile.

 

 

Jazz

Jazz, by Ed van der Elsken

One of the most collectible photography books capturing the essence of jazz, before rock became the new music of choice for young people.

 

 

Josef Sudek

Josef Sudek, by Anna Fárová

A collection of Sudek’s best photographs, one of the most celebrated Czech photographers. His images swing between the outside world and inside himself.

 

 

Marc Riboud: Fifty Years of Photography

Marc Riboud: Fifty Years of Photography, by Annick Cojean

Once the president of Magnum, Riboud turns to freelancing and travels the world to capture some of the most moving images of China, Japan, Vietnam, and more.

February 2013

Yousef Khanfar (www.yousefkhanfar.com) is an award-winning author and photographer of Palestinian origin whose work has been collected and exhibited in galleries, cultural centers, and museums worldwide. He is the author of three books, Voices of Light (2000), In Search of Peace (2006), and Invisible Eve, forthcoming from Rizzoli in spring 2013. In 2003 Khanfar was selected as one of the world’s top landscape photographers by RotoVision in London, and his work is included in the permanent collection of the International Photography Hall of Fame, where he serves as exhibits chairman. In 2009 the Fulbright Center for Peace in Washington, D.C., selected In Search of Peace as the honor book for the Global Symposium of Peaceful Nations.

 


Recommended Reading: