5 great books to give to a photographer

magnum contact sheets

[T]he last post was lighthearted and fun, but these gifts would not really do for someone with a deep sense of photography, so here are 5 gifts for the serious photographer.

Magnum Contact sheets

magnum contact cover

I believe that there is nothing more intimate to a photographer than his or her contact sheets. Not only this book reveals the contact sheets but also the process and editing behind them. This is a groundbreaking book that is a must have. This is the number one gift I and many others can think of that would truly be special to a photographer. Studying the contact sheets will reveal how the photographer worked the scene and what they did to obtain the final edit. A must have. Get in on Amazon. Price: $89. See this great post on the thinking behind the cover.


The mercy project / Inoshi

mercy project inoshi

the mercy project inoshi

The mercy project starts with a simple enough premise: Ask photographers around the world to show which of their photographs says “Mercy”. this beautiful book contains work from hundreds of photographers and contains deep, poignant photographs, some more famous than others. Get it at Photoeye. Price: $80

Dream Street

dream street

eugen smith pittsburg steel worker

Eugene Smith's Pittsburg project is his magnum opus along with his Jazz Loft, but I have a softer spot for his dream street. Pittsburg is a month long assignment that turned into 3 years seeking perfection. Smith is considered the master of the photo essay (Country Doctor, Nirse midwife…) and this photo book presents the cut that the photographer himself considered the synthesis of his 11.000+ negatives. Get in on Amazon. Price: $20

Workers (Sebastiao Salgado)

sebastia salgado workers cover

I have a certain affinity to photographs of people working. Eugene Smith's photographs of the Steel workers from his Pittsburg are amongst my favorites. This superb photo book by Sebastio Salgado, Workers contains his superb photography with very interesting compositions. This book reveals what we usually don't see, the other side of the moon, the workers that make theworld go round. The book is divided in categories of work like food and construction, $63 on Amazon


Vivian Maiers: Street Photographer

vivian maiers street photographer

Vivian Maiers need no introduction, she was a nanny by day and at nigh a superhero. Hum, I mean she was a nanny but was a great street photographer in disguise. Her work would have sunk into oblivion if it was not found and resuscitated by post mortem benefactors. A great street photography book. $25 on Amazon. Check out this great post on what you can learn from her as a photographer.

Bonus: Lenswork magazine


Lenswork is a pure photography magazine that only focuses on the photographs and the craft. Lenswork features photographers, interviews, portfolios, and great articles. Lenswork is now available on 1 DVD with all the first 100 issues in PDF, a great ressource. Get it at Lenswork for $195

Bonus: The Complete National Geographic DVD or HDD

complete national geographic

National Geographic is linked to photography, within it's pages are stories of the world but more importantly great photography. National Geographic contains superb photography from different genres, landscapes, street, documentary, underwater, etc. Now you can get the whole collection of NatGeo on DVDs or in a Hard Disk Drive, over 1400 issues since the first. A great gift to anyone but will be much appreciated by a photographer. The DVD collection is on sale for $25 , the Hard Drive (very convenient) is $200 in NatGeo store. You can always make digital DVDs on a hard drive but the program will ask you to mount each DVD when it needs it.

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