Models, soldiers and philosophers – New Photography books in March

Models, workers and philosophers are among the people depicted in this month’s photography books as we celebrate 100 years of Vogue on one hand, and the wisdom of philosophers on the other. Contrasting worlds and contrasting views.

41KtHzw3YLL._SX402_BO1,204,203,200_Vogue 100 : a century of style 
“While principally a fashion magazine, Vogue has never been just that. It has assumed a central and vital role on the cultural stage, with a history that spans the most inventive decades in fashion and taste, and in the arts and society. Published to mark the magazine’s centenary, and accompanying the major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, this book celebrates the twentieth century and beyond with an authoritative and discriminating eye. Decade by decade, Vogue 100: A Century of Style celebrates the greatest moments in fashion, beauty and portrait photography.” (Adapted from publisher)

Syndetics book coverTim Walker : pictures
“This is an alternative edition – slightly reduced in trim size but absolutely unabridged – of the 2008 classic, now out of print. This stunning new edition offers us a privileged glimpse into Walker’s artistic process. It is a comprehensive overview that features a wide array of sketches, contact sheets, Polaroids, and source materials normally hidden within the photographer’s studio. The evocative images are rich with textured nuance and intriguing details. Walker gives full reign to his playful side and intersperses collages among the photographs.” (Syndetics summary)

Beyond fashion, here is the rest of this month’s selection:

Syndetics book coverThe 1960s : photographed by David Hurn
“David Hurn is one of the most important British Magnum photographers. This volume is the first anthology dedicated to Hurn during one of his most iconic periods of the 1960s. Included are photo essays from the streets of New York, anti-Vietnam protests and the London Soho scene. Also featured are portraits of some of the coolest characters of the age – like Michael Caine, Quentin Crisp and Julie Christie – and Hurn’s work within the film industry – capturing The Beatles during filming of A Hard Day’s Night and Sean Connery as Bond.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Thames & Hudson dictionary of photography
The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Photography is a landmark publication that encompasses the history, art, and science of photography in a single volume. At a time when information is instantly accessible on the Internet but is often unreliable or uncited, this ambitious project both reasserts the veracity, reliability, and accuracy of scholarly research in reference publishing and offers an immersive, usable, beautifully designed reading experience. Over 1,200 concise yet fully detailed entries describe all aspects of the subject, including photographers, images, agencies, genres, movements, exhibitions, publications, collectors, techniques, and processes.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRodchenko
“For many years, gallerists Peter MacGill, Rudolf Kicken and Edwynn Houk have been collecting Aleksandr Rodchenko’s photographs. This book is a curated selection of these images, most reproduced at their original sizes. The hallmarks of Rodchenko’s inimitable Constructivist-influenced vision are here to see, regardless of whether he is photographing people, architecture or machinery–bold diagonals, abstract shapes and moving objects cutting through space.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHarry Callahan : Retrospektive = retrospective
“Harry Callahan (1912-1999) is regarded as one of the most innovative and influential 20th century American photographers. By amplifying the abstract tendencies of New Vision in a lyrical mode evincing great sensitivity, he was able to overcome the prevailing realist aesthetic in American photography. This retrospective presents Callahan’s multi-faceted photographic oeuvre, the product of tireless and prolific creative labours over the course of nearly sixty years. With nearly 200 works, it shows the entire spectrum of Callahan’s production.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnsel Adams in the national parks : photographs from America’s wild places
“With more than two hundred photographs – many rarely seen and some never before published – this is the most comprehensive collection of Ansel Adams’ photographs of America’s national parks and wilderness areas. The legendary photographer explored more than forty national parks in his lifetime, producing some of the most indelible images of the natural world ever made.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRobert Capa : the definitive collection
“This book represents the most definitive selection of Capa’s work ever published – 937 photographs meticulously selected by his brother Cornell Capa (himself a noted Life photographer), and his biographer, Richard Whelan. The photographs, arranged in chronological order as stories and accompanied by brief commentaries, reveal the dramatic shifts in location and subject matter that Capa experienced from day to day – from war-torn Israel to Pablo Picasso on a sunny beach in France, and from Ernest Hemingway carousing in London to Capa’s historic images of the Allied landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy in 1944.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhilosophers
“Steve Pyke, a photographer whose work is a regular feature of The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, is known for his stunning portraits of prominent authors, artists, actors, and intellectuals. In this riveting collection, which he has been working on for twenty-five years, Pyke presents 100 black-and-white portraits of contemporary philosophers, photographed in his distinctive style. The effect of his technique can be startling but always revealing, showing insight into personality while shedding new light on the philosophical temperament. These fascinating portraits feature virtually every major philosopher working in the West. This volume is the long-awaited sequel to Pyke’s original collection, published in 1993.” (Book jacket)

The Power of the human face – Photography Picks for February

The human face is an eternal subject of fascination which has consumed photographers since the advent of the medium. This month, we start with two books of two diametrically opposed photographers and their take on portraits: a diminutive version of August Sander’s 1920’s black and white portraits in Face of our Time and a larger than life compilation of some of Mario Testino’s garish images in In Your Face. We also marvel at the diversity and intensity of human relations and finish with the wonders of the Australian and New Zealand wilderness.

Syndetics book coverIn your face
“Often imitated and never equaled, Testino is graced with a natural ability to float effortlessly from studio to backstage to after-party, producing stunning shots in any kind of situation. From royals to mega-celebrities, Testino has shot some of the world’s most inaccessible subjects, always with an ease that betrays the complexity of the task. This unorthodox collection of various images chosen by Testino from the span of his 30-year career reflects the diversity of his work.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverFace of our time : sixty portraits of twentieth-century Germans 
“One of the legendary classics among German photography books, August Sander’s Face of Our Time, is now available again. Compiled by August Sander himself, the book was first published in 1929, with a foreword by German writer Alfred Dublin. The sixty shots of twentieth-century Germans represent only a small selection drawn from August Sander’s major work, which he began in 1910. He has approached his task as a photographer from his own immediate observations of human nature and human appearances, of the human environment, and with an infallible instinct for what is genuine and essential.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe lovers
“Inspired by the love letters her grandfather wrote to her grandmother during World War II, Fleishman began recording the love stories of other couples who have been together for more than 50 years. Finding the letters set her off on a long journey of research, starting with couples in New York, where she then lived, and continuing throughout the United States and Europe. Couples from diverse backgrounds provide a candid, and often moving, look at the experience of enduring love.” (Back cover)

Mary Ellen Mark died on May 25, 2015. Shortly before her death, she completed all the work on what would sadly become the last two books conceived and realised by her: Tiny: Streetwise Revisited and Mary Ellen Mark on the Portrait and the Moment as featured here. Both books were printed just before she died.

Syndetics book coverTiny: Streetwise Revisited
“When first published in 1988, Mary Ellen Mark’s Streetwise received critical acclaim for its honest portrayal of life on the streets and introduced us to Tiny, a thirteen-year-old prostitute with dreams of a horse farm, diamonds and furs, and a baby of her own. Since meeting Tiny thirty years ago, Mark has continued to photograph her, creating what has become one of Mark’s most significant and long-term projects. Here the iconic work of the first edition is presented along with Mark’s moving and intimate body of work on Tiny, most of which is previously unpublished.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMary Ellen Mark on the portrait and the moment
“In The Photography Workshop Series, Aperture Foundation works with the world’s top photographers to distill their creative approaches, teachings, and insights on photography— offering the workshop experience in a book. Each volume is introduced by a well-known student of the featured photographer. In this book, Mary Ellen Mark offers her insight on observing the world and capturing dramatic moments that reveal more than the reality at hand.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverJacob A. Riis : revealing New York’s other half : a complete catalogue of his photographs
“Danish-born Jacob A. Riis (1849-1914) found success in America as a reporter for the New York Tribune, first documenting crime and later turning his eye to housing reform. As tenement living conditions became unbearable in the wake of massive immigration, Riis and his camera captured some of the earliest, most powerful images of American urban poverty. This important publication is the first comprehensive study and complete catalogue of Riis’s world-famous images.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverProcess
A photographic record of The New Zealand Dance Company at work in the studio on projects including the company’s debut season Language of Living and Shona McCullagh’s Rotunda. 90 images of dancers in the rehearsal hall showcase the creative process of dance through photography. John McDermott’s images are complemented by an introductory essay from leading New Zealand dancer and choreographer Michael Parmenter.

Syndetics book coverPhotography exposure
Photography Exposure is a comprehensive guide to the theory of exposure, explaining the fundamental relationship between the photographic image and the effects of light intensity and duration. It describes the use of lens aperture and depth of field in relation to exposure and outlines the principles of in-camera and hand-held light meters: their strengths, limitations and correct use in a wide variety of lighting situations. Offering a detailed guide to using exposure for expressive purposes, this is an invaluable reference tool.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAperture magazine anthology : the Minor White years, 1952-1976
“Published on the occasion of Aperture magazines sixtieth anniversary, this is the first anthology of Aperture magazine ever published. Aperture was established in 1952 by a group of photographers, including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Barbara Morgan, and historian-curators Beaumont and Nancy Newhall. Their intention was to provide a forum in which photographers can talk straight to each other, discuss the problems that face photography as profession an art, share their experiences, comment on what goes on, descry the new potentials.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

5Australasian nature photography
“The bioregion that encompasses Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea possesses a unique natural heritage stretching back more than 80 million years, to the break-up of the great southern continent of Gondwana. The South Australian Museum and Australian Geographic focus on enhancing a general knowledge of this extraordinary legacy by encouraging photography of the region’s nature and landscapes, and promoting it in an annual competition to find the Australian Geographic ANZANG Nature Photographer of the Year. Australian Nature Photography is a collection of ANZANG award-winning and shortlisted images from the 2015 competition.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Industrial typologies and super size books for the New Year – New Photography books

We start this year, commemorating the life and work of Hilla Becher who died at the end of last year. From 1966, together with husband Bernd, the German couple created a unique record of industrial structures. Through the distinctive typological grids they developed and what has come to be known as the ‘Becher school’ they influenced generations of documentary photographers and artists. Read her obituary on the Aperture blog and read the latest issue of Aperture magazine on Zinio (and back issues).

We also look at some extra large books that sometimes get overlooked in the library, as they are almost impossible to lug around. In the Central Library, they are kept along the far southern wall on the first floor (you will spot them from the yellow dot on the top of the spine). A couple of tables are standing by the shelves to help you browse through this cumbersome but worthwhile collection. Check it out next time you visit.


Syndetics book coverThe Hollow of the hand
“Between 2011 and 2014 PJ Harvey and Seamus Murphy set out on a series of journeys together to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington DC. Harvey collected words, Murphy collected pictures, and together they have created an extraordinary chronicle of our life and times. The Hollow of the Hand marks the first publication of Harvey’s powerful poetry, in conversation with Murphy’s indelible images.  As PJ Harvey says: ‘Gathering information from secondary sources felt too far removed for what I was trying to write about. I wanted to smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSelf & others : portrait as autobiography
“Created over an almost 20-year span and drawing from 18 bodies of work, this is the first published monograph of Aline Smithson’s work and features her defining series Arrangement in Green and Black: Portrait of the Photographer’s Mother. From black-and-white to hand-painted photographs, this collection of portraits combines humor and family to create a universal expression of motherhood, to capture the essence of childhood, and to examine created realities, the poignancy of childhood, and the pathos of aging and relationships.” (From

Syndetics book coverCloser : Søren Solkær Starbird
” Closer is a collection of the works of Søren Solkær, a Danish photographer who has risen to astronomical heights in the world of international photography. His portraits, ranging from deep and intimate studies to large format cinematic scences shot in mind-blowing locations, have been published on the covers of the worlds leading magazines Q, GQ, Arena, Rolling Stone and Wallpaper.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverArt Kane
“Art Kane was one of the most profoundly influential photographers of the 20th century. A bold visionary, his work explored a number of genres – fashion, editorial, celebrity portraiture, travel and nudes with an unrelenting and innovative eye. Like his contemporaries, Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) and Helmut Newton (1924-2004), Kane developed a style that didn’t shy away from strong colour, eroticism and surreal humour.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAndy Warhol : polaroids 1958-1987“Andy Warhol was a relentless chronicler of life and its encounters. Carrying a Polaroid camera from the late 1950s until his death in 1987, he amassed a huge collection of instant pictures of friends, lovers, patrons, the famous, the obscure, the scenic, the fashionable, and himself. Created in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation, this book features hundreds of these instant photos, many of them never seen before. Often raw and impromptu, the Polaroids document Warhol’s era like Instagram captures our own, offering a unique record of the life, world, and vision behind the Pop Art maestro. (From

Syndetics book coverGrace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue
“The 408-page collection of Grace Coddington’s greatest work as a fashion stylist and sittings editor is not just a monograph of her first 30 years at Vogue, it is also a visual reminiscence of 30 years of British and American Vogue’s best work. Featured photographers include Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Snowdon, Horst, Norman Parkinson, Ellen von Unwerth, Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Arthur Elgort, Steven Klein, Annie Leibovitz, Hans Feurer, Sarah Moon, Peter Lindbergh, Patrick Demarchelier, Peter Knap, Clive Arrowsmith, Sheila Metzner, Terence Donovan, Barry Lategan, Sacha, Alex Chatelain, Duc, Paolo Roversi, and Herb Ritts.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe New York Times Magazine photographs
“For over thirty years, the New York Times Magazine has presented the myriad possibilities and applications of photography. This volume presents some of the finest commissioned photographs worldwide in four sections: reportage, portraiture, style, and conceptual photography, including photo illustration. Diverse in content and sensibility, and consistent in virtuosity, the photographs are accompanied by reproduced tear sheets to allow for the examination of sequencing and the interplay between text and image, simultaneously presenting the work while illuminating its distillation to magazine form.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSawdust mountain
“A culmination of four years of photographing throughout Oregon, Washington, and Northern California, Sawdust Mountain focuses on the tenuous relationship between industries reliant upon natural resources and the communities they support. Timber and salmon are the bedrock of a regional Northwest identity, but the environmental impact of these declining industries has been increasingly at odds with the contemporary ideal of sustainability. Sawdust Mountain records a region affected by historic economic complexities and, by extension, one aspect of our fraught relationship with the environment in the twenty-first century.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverNomad
“Since 1999, photographer Jeroen Toirkens has been documenting the raw reality of the last living nomads of the Northern Hemisphere. Globalisation, draught, poverty and climate change make it increasingly difficult to maintain a traditional way of life. Toirkens’ strong photographs and a heartfelt essay by Jelle Brandt Corstius give a gripping image of twelve journeys to some of the remotest places on earth.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverThe art of discovery : Hollywood stars reveal their inspirations
“This exquisite book, features renowned photographer Jeff Vespa’s intimate portraits and key inspirational moments and stories from Hollywood luminaries including Zach Braff, Jessica Chastain, Tim Daly, Adam Driver, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ashley Greene, Jonathan Groff, Michael C. Hall, Ethan Hawke, Amber Heard, Cheryl Hines, Kate Hudson, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Kidman, Jared Leto, John Leguizamo, Jeremy Renner, Seth Rogen, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Gabourey Sidibe, Kristen Stewart, Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts, Forest Whitaker, Shailene Woodley, and other icons of the entertainment industry.” (Syndetics)

For a preview of the images, visit Jeff Vespa’s portfolio.


NZ life & humans of the world – Photography Picks for December

Starting with three photography books about New Zealand, this month’s selection will fill your eyes and your imagination with photographic reflections on the world that surrounds us and the people that make it so interesting, from New Zealand children and their pets to skateboarders of the world, residents of New York or craftspeople of London. We also read about the lives of famous photographers and get a fresh insight into Lois Greenfield’s body of work. No review would be complete with some how-to’s which this month focus on smartphone photography.

Syndetics book coverSee what I can see : New Zealand photography for the young and curious
“Photography was invented in France in 1839 – the year before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in New Zealand. Within a few years, cameras were charting the life and times of people at this end of the planet. See What I Can See is a celebration of that remarkable, well-travelled, ever-changing invention – the camera – the New Zealand that it captured, and the artists who wielded it. See What I Can See is an introduction to New Zealand photography that will appeal to young and curious photographers, students of New Zealand art history, or anyone who wants to sample the extraordinary range of images made in this country by our photographers.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverVernacular : the everyday landscape of New Zealand
“As long as people have lived in New Zealand, they have left traces of all kinds upon the land: stone walls, sculpted earthforms, urban benches, farm fences, boardwalks, walls, steps and drains. These everyday parts of our landscape form the backdrop to our lives, but are a frequently overlooked and underappreciated part of our cultural legacy. Landscape designer Philip Smith and photographer David Straight have travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand to document a wonderful diversity of forms and objects that make up our everyday landscape.” (Adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverLittle loves : New Zealand children & their favourite animals
“Rachael Hale McKenna’s stunning photographs catch the joy and delight that exist between children and animals and show off the amazing New Zealand landscape, whether it be coast, country, or city. There are many cute and funny stories about the children’s relationships with their favourite animals. As well as kittens and puppies, there are all sorts of pets, such as horses, rabbits, goats, pigs, chickens, and even eels!” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLives of the great photographers
“In the history of photography, the lives of the major personalities behind the lens are often as captivating as the images they have left behind. Yet, while certain photographs have become world famous, the stories of the photographers have been all too often distorted, obfuscated, or overlooked, and their social and political environments misunderstood or forgotten. With entries on Margaret Bourke-White, Brassai, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, André Kertész, Eadweard Muybridge, Edward Steichen, and many others, Lives of the Great Photographers captures from a new angle the contributions of some of the most masterful image-makers in history.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMoving still
“Rather than shooting literal moments from a dance, Greenfield captures split-second movements created specifically for her camera. Her astonishing images of dancers in mid-flight appear to defy all laws of physics, with her performers seeming to levitate and assume incredible sculptural forms. Moving Still charts Greenfield’s shift to colour photography and from shooting with a film camera to a digital camera. Greenfield herself, through commentaries on the photographs, offers fascinating insights into her creative process behind the camera and the challenges she faces in shooting these images.” (Adapted from book jacket)

Syndetics book coverSkate the world : photographing one world of skateboarding
“Hit the streets with 200 exhilarating photographs of the world’s greatest professional skateboarders in action. In this dynamic collection, award-winning photographer Jonathan Mehring takes us from New York to Hong Kong to Istanbul and beyond. Featuring stars like Tony Hawk, Nyjah Huston, and Eric Koston, Mehring invites us along on his exhilarating photo adventures across six continents.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe bag I’m in : underground music and fashion in Britain 1960-1990
“Youth subculture in twentieth-century Britain was a unique phenomenon. Throughout the decades, young people sought to define themselves sartorially, reflecting their identity in terms of regionalism, class and crucially, musical taste, through their clothes. This book is a comprehensive survey of forty-five “tribes” that roamed the streets of Britain from the ’60s to the ’90s. From Mod to Skinhead and Rocker to Rudeboy, the look of each movement is captured in meticulously researched, previously unpublished archive photography.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe sartorialist : X 
“Schuman’s boldest collection yet, The Sartorialist: X shares the visual and cultural diversity of the world that surrounds us all. It is a thrilling, human adventure from Marrakesh, Dubai, Johannesburg, Milan, Cusco, Paris, Bangkok, Jodhpur, New York, Lima, Rome, Naples, Mumbai, Madrid, Varanasi, Bali, Kiev and London to rural Bhutan, Poland and Pennsylvania. The Sartorialist: X is an invitation to free your imagination with every turn of the page.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMakers of East London
“East London is the creative hub of one of the world’s most dynamic cities and is seeing a resurgence of craftspeople breathing life back into traditional practices. This reflects a global interest in a return to handmade products created with individual passion. This book takes an intimate look at the people behind the craft, their studios and their practices to see what it takes to be a maker in a world of increasing mass production.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHumans of New York : stories
“In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project -to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. In 2013, his book Humans of New York, based on that blog, was published and immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List where it has appeared for over forty-five weeks. Now, Brandon is back with the Humans of New York book: Stories presents a whole new group of people in stunning photographs, with a rich design and, most importantly, longer stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe mobile photographer : an unofficial guide to using Android phones, tablets and apps in a photography workflow
“It’s been said that, with smartphones, everyone is a photographer. There is a snide implication here that camera phones aren’t ‘real’ cameras and that the people who use them aren’t ‘real’ photographers. In this book, Robert Fisher proves that today’s Android devices offer cameras that are remarkably powerful and more than capable of producing images that rival those made with more ‘serious’ equipment. From hardware and software, to uber-geeky apps, this book provides a solid foundation for creating artistically masterful shots with an ever-available, affordible device.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe smartphone photography guide : shoot, edit, experiment, share
“Thanks to our smartphones, we’ve all become camera-carrying photographers, able to snap a photo whenever and wherever we want. But how can we realize the full potential of this powerful tool? Complete with “Pro Tips,” “Try This” panels, jargon-buster explanations of technical terms, and advice on video settings, this smart guide will help you take, create, manipulate, and share your phone images like an expert.” (Syndetics)

Pictures of the world – November Photography picks

Starting with an important new publication on the history of New Zealand photography, this month review offers a wide range of titles from anthologies, monographs, how-to guides for young and old, digital and film photography manuals, a film by French image maker Raymond Depardon, an ebook from our eLibrary collection and the latest online magazines issues from Zinio.

Syndetics book cover New Zealand photography collected
New Zealand Photography Collected illuminates the richness of New Zealand’s photographic tradition, from nineteenth-century portraits and dramatic landscapes to the latest contemporary art photography. The book showcases more than 400 arresting and memorable photographs from the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, accompanied by richly informative descriptions. Featured photographers include James Bragge, Leslie Adkin, Burton Brothers, John Pascoe, Brian Brake, Frank Hofmann, Ans Westra, Eric Lee-Johnson, Marti Friedlander, Laurence Aberhart, Ann Shelton, Glenn Jowitt, Anne Noble, Yvonne Todd and many others.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBeaton : photographs
“Cecil Beaton’s career is unparalleled in its historical breadth. By mid-century he had produced an astonishing array of portraits of the greatest creative figures of his time, including Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. In contrast to the flamboyance and artifice of his early work, Beaton later displayed an almost minimalist eye. The book is drawn mostly from the 100,000 prints and negatives of the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s and follows the definitive monograph of his work during the war years, Theatre of War, published in 2012.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe dawn of Technicolor, 1915-1935
“Published to coincide with Technicolors centennial in 2015, The Dawn of Technicolor recounts the beginnings of one of the most widely recognized names in the American film industry. Following its incorporation in 1915, Technicolor developed a series of two-colour processes as necessary steps toward full-colour photography and printing, persevering against daunting odds to create the only commercially viable colour process for motion pictures. The authors chart the making of pivotal films in the process, from the troubled productions of Ben-Hur (1925) to the early short films in Technicolors groundbreaking three-color process: Walt Disneys animated Flowers and Trees (1932) and the live-action La Cucaracha (1934).” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMakers of East London
“East London is the creative hub of one of the world’s most dynamic cities and is seeing a resurgence of craftspeople breathing life back into traditional practices. This reflects a global interest in a return to handmade products created with individual passion. This book takes an intimate look at the people behind the craft, their studios and their practices to see what it takes to be a maker in a world of increasing mass production.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverEyes open! : 100 years of Leica photography
“A workshop log proves that at the latest in 1914, Oskar Barnack put the finishing touches on the first working model of a compact camera for 35 mm standard cinema film. He had not merely invented a new camera – the Leica, not introduced until 1925 due to the war, it in fact ushered in a paradigm shift in photography. The Leica made it easier for amateurs, newcomers, and emancipated women to take pictures, but it also enabled a whole new way of seeing. Just in time to mark Leica’s centenary, this volume offers 800 images showcasing a wide artistic and cultural history.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMy digital photography for seniors
“The perfect book to help anyone 50+ learn digital photography – in full color! My Digital Photography for Seniors is an exceptionally easy and complete full-color tutorial on digital photography, visual storytelling, and image sharing. No ordinary “beginner’s book,” it approaches every topic using meaningful examples, step-by-step tasks, large text, close-up screen shots, and a custom full-color interior designed for comfortable reading. Professional photographer and top-selling author Jason R. Rich covers all you need to know to take great photos with your smartphone or tablet, manage and organize your digital photo library, safely exchange your images with family and friends, tell compelling stories and chronicle your memories with digital images, and share your creations in print and online.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPhotos for OS X and iOS : take, edit, and share photos in the Apple photography ecosystem
“For anyone who’s taken photos, you know the frustration of trying to find and manage your snapshots on your iPhone, camera, or Mac. With Photos for OS X, Apple has made it possible to have at your fingertips all your photos. In the Photos for OS X and iOS book, best-selling author Jeff Carlson shows you how to tame your photo collection with Apple Photos for OS X app. He shows how to convert your existing iPhoto and Aperture libraries to Photos and how to import new photos from your iPhone and other sources. You’ll learn how to work with photos in the Apple iCloud service as well as edit images on your phone, Mac, and in the cloud.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHow to Take Great Photographs With a Film Camera
“This is a simple-to-follow manual for film camera enthusiasts wishing to improve their skills, devised by one of the world’s leading photography professionals. It explores a range of classic 35 mm, medium and large format film cameras, from simple automatic and disposable cameras to single lens reflex (SLR) cameras. It features over 400 photographs designed to highlight and clarify every tip and technique. The use and understanding of traditional film equipment and accessories is treated in detail, from lenses and filters to flashes and autofocus. The book is an essential reference source for everyone interested in learning the techniques of classic film photography.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverJournal de France 
“Travelling alone, internationally acclaimed photographer and film-maker Raymond Depardon spent six years capturing his home country with a large format camera. This long, solitary road trip provided fertile ground for the creation – with his long-time partner and collaborator Claudine Nougaret – of an extraordinary travel journal. The journey returned Depardon to important places from his past as a reporter – Chad, Venice, Cannes – and to a wealth of previously unseen footage from his archive – an interview with Jean-Bedel Bokassa, a film of Jean-Luc Godard, extraordinary glimpses of private and public life.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverFocus and filter : 100 photography tips from inside the studio and out in the field
“With camera phones ubiquitous and digital cameras more popular than ever, taking and sharing pictures has become an integral part of daily life. Focus and Filter is an essential compendium of professional secrets for novices looking to improve any shot-from the planned portrait to the cell-phone snap to the selfie. How to take a spectacular shot of a city skyline through a window without the reflection? How to get a pic of sushi that’s mouth watering? And how to snap a selfie worthy of being the best profile pic ever? All of these questions and more are addressed in this must-have photography primer.” (Syndetics)

And don’t forget to check out this month’s photography titles on Zinio

November 07, 2015 issue of Amateur PhotographerDecember 01, 2015 issue of D-PhotoSeptember 01, 2015 issue of ApertureMarch 01, 2015 issue of American PHOTODecember 01, 2015 issue of Digital Camera WorldDecember 01, 2015 issue of ShutterbugNovember 01, 2015 issue of Digital SLR Photography

Memories, human and canine – New Photography books in October

The power of photography to depict the past, distant or immediate, has made it an essential tool in understanding our histories and our worlds. The result can be serious, reflective, playful, enchanting or striking, informative, entertaining or moving as this month’s selection will prove. And naturally, we include one title on the technique, as every tool requires expertise.

Syndetics book coverKorea : ein fotoprojekt = Korea : a photo project
“In 2006, the German architecture photographer Dieter Leistner had both the opportunity and official permission to photograph public spaces in Pyongyang. His images show bus stops with long lines of people waiting, spruced up government buildings, bronze statues of Communist heroes, and wide avenues with only a few cars and people. In 2012, Leistner visited Seoul, where he sought and found similar locations with a very different feel. In Seoul, for example, the bus stops looked like oversized televisions, the bronze statues were of kings of the long-gone Korean empire, and the streets were choked with cars and people. This “visual concordance” speaks for itself and needs no commentary. In addition to its striking selection of images, Korea-Korea contains excerpts from two diaries. The first is by Philipp Sturm, who grew up in East Germany, the second is by Hehn-Chu Ahn, who was born in Germany to Korean parents and has regularly visited Seoul since her childhood.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe memory of time : contemporary photographs from the National Gallery of Art
“Photography’s remarkable ability to represent the past in the present is frequently invoked as one of the medium’s essential characteristics. Yet, as many contemporary photographers acknowledge, its relationship to the past is by no means straightforward. Organized thematically, the exhibition The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art explores the work of contemporary artists who investigate the richness and complexity of photography’s relationship to time, memory, and history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhotograph / Ringo.
“From behind the drums to behind the lens, in Photograph Ringo Starr opens his archives to share memories of his childhood, The Beatles and beyond. Rare and unseen photographs taken by Ringo, with others reproduced from his family albums, are showcased here for fans of The Beatles and anyone passionate about modern music. Accompanied by Ringo’s original manuscript of over 15,000 words, Photograph gives unprecedented insight into the life of one of the world’s greatest musicians. From Pwllheli to Delhi, obscurity to superstardom, join Ringo on his travels in his photographic memoir.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverDog years : faithful friends, then & now 
Dog Years is a heartwarming look at the lives and stories of 30 dogs. By presenting portraits of each dog as a puppy and again as an older dog, photographer Amanda Jones reveals the unique spark of personality that lasts a lifetime. These beautiful images of breeds ranging from golden retrievers and Great Danes to pugs and French bulldogs are accompanied by reflections from loved ones on the lives they share with their furry companions. The result is a celebration of each dog and a tribute to the relationships we share with our four-legged friends.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverStudio 54
“In 1977, at the height of the disco craze, a club opened at 254 West 54th Street in New York City. Studio 54 was – and, arguably, remains – the worlds most renowned and legendary disco. Regularly attended by celebrities such as Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones, Michael Jackson, Calvin Klein, Elton John, John Travolta, Brooke Shields and Tina Turner, the club fostered an atmosphere of unadulterated hedonism for New York’s art and fashion set. Almost 35 years after the club’s unceremonious and sudden closure, this beautiful hardback volume superbly documents the zeitgeist.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBackstage : Cirque du Soleil
“As Cirque du Soleil celebrates its thirtieth anniversary, it opens the doors to a world usually reserved for the initiated. Backstage Cirque du Soleil is the fruit of a collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and the photographer Véronique Vial, who through her unique lens has examined the world behind the curtains for more than twenty years. With touching humanity, Vial’s photographs invite the reader into an intimate universe distilled to its most essential element: behind each character there is an artist. This luxurious volume features a preface by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverDavid Leventi : opera
“In his series Opera, photographer David Leventi whose work has been widely published in “Time,” “The New York Times Magazine,” “Condé Nast Traveller” and “American Photography” captures the interiors of more than 40 opera houses spanning four centuries and four continents. Shot meticulously over five years, Opera presents a typology; each empty hall is seen from the place at center stage where the singers would stand. The large-format camera reveals these temples of music in their wealth of architectural detail and acoustic design; the body of work historically documents landmarks that serve as symbols of their nations’ wealth and grandeur, their dedication to the promotion of the arts and to bringing communities together.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe big picture.
“This is Arthur Elgort’s first comprehensive book, showing his world-renowned fashion imagery alongside his personal work. The Big Picture spans Elgort’s five-decade career and illustrates his longevity as an emulated fashion photographer. His lively and casual shooting style is intriguingly influenced by a lifelong love of music and dance, particularly jazz and ballet. Elgort subsequently rose to fame working for distinguished magazines such as American, French and Italian Vogue, Interview, GQ, Life and Rolling Stone, and shooting advertising campaigns for fashion labels including Chanel, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBrassaï : Paris nocturne
“Brassai (1899-1984) was the first and is still the most famous photographer to chronicle Paris after dark. Born in Hungary, he came to the French capital in 1924, working first as a journalist and then embracing photography, but it was the Paris of the 1930s that forms the bedrock of his body of work. Walking the city’s streets at night, Brassai captured a previously unseen world on camera. This book brings together some of the best-known images from Brassai’s classic Paris After Dark and The Secret Paris of the 30’s, showcasing them alongside previously unpublished photos and archive material.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCreatures of the night
“The secret world of nocturnal wildlife is seldom observed, even by the keenest of nature enthusiasts. This unique book offers a window into the lives of little-known and studied creatures and their remarkable behaviour and adaptations in order to optimise their ability to go about their business in the hours of darkness. Nocturnal creatures from around the world are covered by the series of stunning images. Extended captions explain interesting facts about the creatures and behaviours shown, and also give advice on photography.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverDigital photography complete course
Digital Photography Complete Course will help you build your photography skills step-by-step, with an independent photography course that guides you through every aspect of digital photography. The book uses a combination of tutorials, step-by-step demonstrations, practical assignments, and Q&As to help you understand and use your camera to its full potential. Choose your own pace to work through the modules — the program is totally customizable to your schedule.” (Adapted from Syndetics)


Capturing the moment in Wellington or Afghanistan – New Photography books in August

Starting our photographic journey in our backyard, we look at two New Zealand publications featuring fleeting moments between strangers in one, and capturing the essence of iconic figures of the New Zealand cultural and political scene in the other. We add a volume to our Ellen Mark collection, following her death earlier this year. We also reflect on the significance of the captured moment in photography.

Syndetics book coverDaylight hours
Daylight Hours, by New Zealand photographer Hans Weston, explores the life, light and colour of the urban environment. Fleeting moments like a couple’s hands that unknowingly imitate each other or a child admiring her reflection as she passes a large window, to a pair of brightly lit religious icons waiting expectantly on a car dashboard, are caught in the lens. Wellington is the backdrop for the majority of this collection, yet there are no location boundaries for Weston, who always takes a camera along for the ride. Daylight Hours is about noticing the world immediately around us, one that for most, passes unnoticed in our busy, distracted lives.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverFace to face : conversations with remarkable New Zealanders
“Stimulating, humorous, sometimes controversial and always revealing, Face to Face offers intimate portraits of the lives of twelve remarkable New Zealanders. Through conversations with Paul Moon, one of the country’s most acclaimed historians and cultural commentators, and through the lens of award-winning photographer Jane Ussher, we get to know these extraordinary Kiwis like never before. Face to Face is a rare survey of the diversity of talent that contributes to the character of our country. Sir Richard Hadlee, Patricia Grace, Sir Robert Jones, Hone Harawira, Fiona Pardington, Sir Peter Gluckman, Michael Houstoun, Sir Miles Warren, Dame Alison Holst, Sir Lloyd Geering, Tim Finn, Mai Chen” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMary Ellen Mark
“Mary Ellen Mark began working as a freelance photographer in the mid-1960s. In the 1970s, Mark worked on several bodies of work for which she gained her reputation as one of the most provocative documentary photographers, ensuring her legendary status in the history of photography. In 1976, she documented the women’s maximum security ward of Oregon State Mental Hospital, and in 1978 she photographed the prostitutes in the brothels of Falkland Road in Bombay.  She was a member of prestigious photographic agency Magnum from 1977 to  1982. She then decided to work independently. In the 1980s and 1990s, she photographed and published books on homeless teenagers in Seattle, a holiday camp for children with cancer in California, Mother Teresa, circuses, and most recently, twins in America.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCapturing the moment : the essence of photography
“One of photographers true greats, Henri Cartier-Bresson, nailed photography perfectly when he coined the phrase the decisive moment. So perfectly, in fact, that it has foiled all attempts to escape the single, crucial idea of what photography, and photography alone, can do. It has spawned the inevitable contrary terms, such as Geoff Dyer’s Ongoing Moment and Gary Winogrand’s Indecisive Moment, but these simply continue to reinforce the idea that there are indeed perfect instants in the world we see in front of us. This book deals with the unique power of photography to capture slices of times and life. What it is not is a book about shutter speed. It is about gesture, expression, things just touching and others about to happen.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverUnderstanding a photograph
“John Berger’s writings on photography are some of the most original of the twentieth century. This selection contains many groundbreaking essays and previously uncollected pieces written for exhibitions and catalogues in which Berger probes the work of photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and W. Eugene Smith – and the lives of those photographed – with fierce engagement, intensity and tenderness. The selection is made and introduced by Geoff Dyer, author of the award-winning The Ongoing Moment. How do we see the world around us? This is one of a number of pivotal works by creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision for ever.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLight, paper, process : reinventing photography
Light, Paper, Process features the work of seven artists–Alison Rossiter, Marco Breuer, James Welling, Lisa Oppenheim, Chris McCaw, John Chiara, and Matthew Brandt–who investigate the possibilities of analog photography by finding innovative, surprising, and sometimes controversial ways to push light-sensitive photographic papers and chemical processing beyond their limits. A panoply of practices emerges in the work of these artists. Trial and error contribute to an understanding of the materials and their potential, as do the attitudes of underlying curiosity and inventive interrogation. The results are stunning.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverIt’s what I do : a photographer’s life of love and war
“War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir It’s What I Do is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others.  She photographs the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war. Watching uprisings unfold and people fight to the death for their freedom, Addario understands she is documenting not only news but also the fate of society.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWilliam Helburn : Seventh and Madison : mid-century fashion and advertising photography
“William Helburn was the go-to photographer for many of the top advertising agencies in New York in the 1950s and 1960s. Shock value and an unrelenting hunger for success helped Helburn to a pioneer’s share in the revolutionary era of advertising and his work would also appear on the editorial pages and covers of major magazines. He worked with the top models of the day, from Dovima and Dorian Leigh to Jean Patchett and Barbara Mullen to Jean Shrimpton and Lauren Hutton. This is the first book to survey the photographic work of William Helburn and gives viewers a taste of the vivid reality that the television series Mad Men seeks to evoke. In addition former colleagues Jerry Schatzberg, George Lois, Sunny Griffin, and Ali McGraw offer insights into the lusty, creative spirit of William Helburn.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe big picture
“This is Arthur Elgorts first comprehensive book, showing his world-renowned fashion imagery alongside his personal work. The Big Picture spans Elgorts five-decade career and illustrates his longevity as an emulated fashion photographer. His lively and casual shooting style is intriguingly influenced by a lifelong love of music and dance, particularly jazz and ballet. Elgorts 1971 debut in British Vogue created a sensation in the fashion world where his soon-to-be iconic snapshot style and emphasis on movement and natural light transcended norms of fashion photography.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBabe
“Curated by one of today’s most sought-after photographers, this collection of work by young female artists captures the voices and visions that are shaping a generation of women. 21-year-old Canadian photographer Petra Collins is leading the way in a contemporary girl power revolution that proves feminism and sexuality aren’t mutually exclusive. Babe includes work by Collins as well as over 30 artists who have been part of her online collective The Ardorous. Though their work is aesthetically varied, it all represents a current zeitgeist characterized by explorations of female identity, scrutinization of the role of the Internet and social media, and a penchant for pastel colors.” (Syndetics)

Remembering Mary Helen Mark – Photography in July

Mary Ellen Mark, who has died aged 75, was one of the greatest documentary photographers of all times. A humanistic photographer, she documented the struggles of the poor, disposessed and marginalised. Her work was published in countless magazines and numerous books. She started shooting on the streets of Philadelphia where she grew up and was later involved in documenting political movements of the times such as the anti-Vietnam war protests and the women’s rights’ movement demonstrations. She was totally at ease engaging with people she met and photographed: “I just took a walk and started making contact with people and photographing them, and I thought: ‘I love this. This is what I want to do for ever.’”

You can browse our Life magazine collection in the Central Stack and discover some of her work in context.

Aperture magazine, which you can read in our libraries but also online with Zinio has recently published a blogpost in memory of this great photographer.


Also published by Aperture, is this first book in our selection:

Syndetics book coverMary Ellen Mark on the Portrait and the Moment : The Photography Workshop Series
“In The Photography Workshop Series, Aperture Foundation works with the worlds top photographers to distill their creative approaches, teachings, and insights on photography offering the workshop experience in a book. Their goal is to inspire photographers of all levels who wish to improve their work, as well as readers interested in deepening their understanding of the art of photography. In this book, Mary Ellen Markwell – known for her pictures’ emotional power, be they of people or animals, offers her insight on observing the world and capturing dramatic moments that reveal more than the reality at hand. Through words and pictures, she shares her own creative process and discusses a wide range of issues, from gaining the trust of the subject and taking pictures that are controlled but unforced, to organizing the frame so that every part contributes toward telling the story.” (Syndetics summary)

You can also view a selection of Mary Ellen Mark’s best photos in this Guardian Gallery.

Here are some further suggestions of new photography books in our collection this month:

Syndetics book coverVivian Maier : a photographer found
“Photographer Vivian Maier’s allure can be explained by the mystery that surrounds both her life and her work. The story of Maier—the secretive nanny-photographer who became a popular sensation shortly after her death—has only been pieced together from a small selection of the images she made and the handful of facts that have surfaced about her life. Vivian Maier: A Photographer Found is a striking, revelatory volume that unlocks the door to the room of a very private artist who made an extraordinary number of images, chose to show them to no one, and, as fate would have it, succeeded brilliantly in fulfilling what remains so many people’s secret or unrealized desire: to live in and see the world creatively.” (Inside jacket)

VMFinding Vivian Maier (DVD)
“Now considered one of the 20th century’s greatest street photographers, Vivian Maier was a mysterious nanny who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that went unseen during her lifetime. Vivian’s strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never-before-seen photos, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her.” (Syndetics)

Watch the trailer, (including an appearance from Mary Ellen Mark) HERE  

Paul StrandPaul Strand : master of modern photography
“Through his amazing variety of innovative images, photographer Paul Strand (1890–1976) played a crucial role in establishing the medium’s significance as a modern art form. Celebrating the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s recent acquisition of the core collection of Strand’s prints from the Paul Strand Archive, this stunning book comprehensively reassesses the artist’s career in light of current scholarship and critical debates about his work. Featuring more than 250 plates, the catalogue includes many of Strand’s iconic early photos such as Wall Street and Blind Woman alongside lesser-known master prints from all phases of his career. ” (Inside jacket)

graphisGraphis photography annual.
“A collection of the year’s best work from top photographers in the industry. We introduce the work of nine Graphis Platinum winners: Bill Diodato, Frank P. Wartenberg, Henry Leutwyler, Mark Zibert, Colin Faulkner, Marcin Muchalski, RJ Muna, Heinz Baumann and Terry Heffernan. This book also includes Q&A’s with RJ Muna, a cutting edge photographer from San Francisco, and Heinz Baumann, a Swiss conceptual and still life photographer. Also included are descriptions of the assignment, approach and results of work, which offers insight into the creative process of the featured photographers. Additional medalists include Tatijana Shoan, Toshiaki & Hisa Ide, joSon, Dimitri Scheblanov, Adam Voorhes and Erik Almas, among many others.” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverThe Tolstoys in the 21st century 
“The Tolstoys in the 21st Century is a photographic portrayal of the modern day Tolstoy dynasty, as photographed by Oleg Tolstoy-Miloslavsky, a relation of one of the world’s greatest writers. Tolstoy-Miloslavsky, who trained in London and whose work has been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery amongst other renowned venues, wanted to pay homage to his illustrious forefather. When the far-flung clan gathered at Tolstoy’s country estate for a family reunion, Tolstoy-Miloslavsky photographed his relatives in a room that contained Tolstoy’s personal effects. The result is a stunning collection of photographic portraits that are both intimate yet engaging, as they capture the diaspora of a family whose name is synonymous with culture, creativity and the proud heritage of Russian literature. ” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLight, paper, process : reinventing photography
“From its beginnings, photography has been shaped by the desire to understand and explore the essence of the medium. Light, Paper, Process features the work of seven artists–Alison Rossiter, Marco Breuer, James Welling, Lisa Oppenheim, Chris McCaw, John Chiara, and Matthew Brandt–who investigate the possibilities of analog photography by finding innovative, surprising, and sometimes controversial ways to push light-sensitive photographic papers and chemical processing beyond their limits. The results are stunning. This lavish publication accompanies an eponymous exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from April 14 to September 6, 2015.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverStreet photography : the art of capturing the candid moment
“The book includes discussions of why photographers are drawn to street photography, the different styles of street photography, and what makes a great street photograph. From city streets to fairs to beaches, Lewis discusses the impact different environments have on the process of street photography. Lewis gives readers practical advice on everything from cameras and lenses to camera bags and clothing. Lewis also delves into the techniques and approaches that will help novices master the art of street photography. No matter your style, Lewis offers ideas on how to capture fascinating moments in time that may exist for only a fraction of a second, but can leave a lasting impression of the wonders, challenges, and absurdities of modern life.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPhotography and the art of chance
“Photography has a unique relationship to chance. Photography and the Art of Chance transforms our understanding of photography and the work of some of its most brilliant practitioners. From the introduction of photography in 1839 to the end of the analog era, practitioners such as William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred Stieglitz, Frederick Sommer, and John Baldessari built upon and critiqued one another ‘s work in their struggle to reconcile aesthetic aspiration and mechanical process. Could such an automatic mechanism accommodate imagination? Could it make art? Photography and the Art of Chance reveals how daring innovators expanded the aesthetic limits of photography to create art for a modern world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFigure fantasy : the pop culture photography of Daniel Picard
“Figure Fantasy: The Pop Culture Photography of Daniel Picard is a wholly unique collection of meticulously composed images, showcasing a variety of comic book and movie icons in realistic and often hilarious everyday settings. Using fan-favorite figures from Sideshow Collectibles, celebrated photographer Daniel Picard gives these classic heroes and villains a fresh twist, presenting them in a perfectly arranged, to-scale environment that create believable scenes and tongue-in-cheek parodies.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStudio anywhere : a photographer’s guide to shooting in unconventional locations
“What’s your definition of a photo studio? The reality is that you may have an outdated DSLR with two decent lenses (which took you several years to save up for), and all you have at your disposal is an unfinished basement, your garage, or the empty conference room at your office. That’s where Studio Anywhere comes in. With photographer Nick Fancher as your guide, you’ll learn how to get portfolio-ready photos while working in some of the most problematic scenarios imaginable. Whether shooting a corporate portrait, a test shoot with a model, or a promo shoot with a band, you’ll discover that most of the time, there’s no need for an expensive studio-you just have to get creative.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMacro photography : from snapshots to great shots
“Close-up and macro photography is one of the most popular types of photography among digital photographers today. After the big-range zoom, a macro lens is typically one of the next purchases considered by outdoor and amateur photographer. Yet hobbyist photographers struggle. Even more advanced photographers find challenges working with depth of field, dealing with light, and using different focal lengths up close. This guide by pro photographer Rob Sheppard will help you conquer the fundamentals and capture stunning pictures.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhotography visionaries
Photography Visionaries is an inspiring guide to 75 of the most influential photographers from c.1900 to the present. Entertainingly written by an expert on photography, it provides a fascinating insight into the lives and careers of men and women working in a medium which perhaps more than any other in the visual arts has been deeply affected by technological change. With the aid of an arresting selection of photographs, some well-known and others less so, this book offers a unique and engaging perspective on the development of photography through some of its most inventive practitioners.” (Syndetics)

Seminal works and technical guides – June Photography picks

On the path to better photography, we can learn a lot from studying the photography of great artists and their own influences (looking to other photographers themselves but also painters, designers, filmmakers). This month’s selection comprises some excellent restrospectives to delve into for pure enjoyment or creative inspiration but also some engaging technical & artistic guides that will teach you the secrets of looking for light, lines, and moments.

Syndetics book coverHold still : a memoir with photographs
“In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Sally Mann’s preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed. Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: “deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land . . . racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder.” In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs, she crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverTwo
“A visual and literary exploration of the unique dynamic of two. Two, a stunning collection of ninety images by award-winning photographer Melissa Ann Pinney, is a provocative, nuanced visual investigation of the relationship between two beings, whether they are relatives, friends, teammates, lovers, or strangers. With an introduction by bestselling novelist Ann Patchett, this beautiful volume contains exclusive literary contributions from ten of our finest contemporary writers on some aspect of two. Together, Pinney’s powerful work and these extraordinary prose pieces present the multifaceted connection between beings that is at once wholly unique, yet universally understood.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverJoel Meyerowitz : retrospective
“Alongside William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld and Mitch Epstein, New York-born and bred Joel Meyerowitz is one of the most important representatives of the New Color Photography movement of the 1960s and 70s. This retrospective traces his entire oeuvre, from his street photography to his light experimentations made during “the blue hour” in Cape Cod, and includes famous series such as “Cape Light,” “After September 11: Images from Ground Zero,” “Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks,” in addition to the artist’s much-loved early work-his first trip to Europe in 1967. The New York native  became an early advocate of color photography and was instrumental in transforming a general resistance to color film into an almost universal acceptance.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLouis Vuitton fashion photography
Louis Vuitton Fashion Photography is an unprecedented visual history of the company, seen through its presence in photographs. This exceptional album features over two hundred images by the most important modern and contemporary photographers, including David Bailey, Henry Clarke, Patrick Demarchelier, Karl Lagerfeld, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, David Sims, Bert Stern, Juergen Teller, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe Haight : love, rock, and revolution : the photography of Jim Marshall
“Covering one of the most unforgettable moments in modern history-and including images of Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsburg, and more- The Haight is an indispensable gallery of legendary photographer Jim Marshall’s Sixties-era San Francisco photography. Widely regarded as the cradle of revolution, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury grew from a small neighborhood to a worldwide phenomenon-a concept that extends far beyond the boundaries of the intersection itself. Renowned for his portraits of some of the greatest musicians of the era, Marshall covered Haight-Ashbury with the same unique eye that allowed him to amass a staggering archive of music photography and Grammy recognition for his work.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCindy Sherman
“Cindy Sherman (b. 1954) is her own subject matter. One of the most celebrated contemporary female artists she has, for a period spanning more than thirty years, used make-up, prosthetics and props to present herself in the guise of numerous different personae, placed in contexts that draw on the visual conventions of film, television and the media. This book introduces some of Sherman’s most important works, from her seminal 1970s series Untitled Film Stills, to her progression into colour photography in the 1980s series Centerfolds. It also presents her most recent pieces – large-scale murals and photographs, in which more ambiguous identities are played out within epic landscapes.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHow to photograph everything : simple techniques for shooting spectacular images
“The world is full of breathtaking images just waiting to be captured, from soaring views of architecture to photos of nature’s many splendors, from meaningful portraits of loved ones to exhilarating, gravity-defying action shots. How to Photograph Everything is the gorgeous guide to creating these images and more, providing photographers of all levels with vital gear advice, cutting-edge technical guidance, and brilliant image-editing tips from the experts at Popular Photography. Plus, hundreds of dazzling, inspired images reveal what’s possible when you harness the power of your camera and the creativity of your mind.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverComplete guide to digital photography
“Are you intent on capturing the perfect sunset? A budding photojournalist? Or ready to take your holiday snaps to the next level? The Complete Guide to Digital Photography is your definitive guide to taking, processing and printing sharper, more colourful and better looking pictures. Ian Farrell’s expert tips take you from the basics of using your camera to advanced darkroom techniques with 52 step-by-step projects including portraits, landscapes, still-life images, fast-moving objects and photographing live events. Easy-to-follow instructions introduce you to the latest software, allowing you to retouch blemishes, restore old photographs or adjust the colour to transform washed-out pictures into professional-quality photographs.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe visual toolbox : 60 lessons for stronger photographs
“Simply having a certain camera or lens isn’t going to make you a better photographer. So, what will? Understanding your camera. Thinking differently. Looking to painters, designers, and others who work in two dimensions and learning from them. Relentlessly looking for light, lines, and moments. Making photographs-thousands and thousands of photographs. There’s no magic bullet to achieving success, but in these pages you will learn the value of studying, practice, and remembering that your most important assets as an artist are imagination, passion, patience, receptivity, curiosity, and a dogged refusal to follow the rules.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCapture the moment : the modern photographer’s guide to finding beauty in everyday and family life
“Clickin Moms is the photography industry’s largest social network of female photographers, boasting a booming members-only community of more than 16,000 professional photographers, aspiring professionals, and women passionate about capturing their families’ everyday lives. This guide captures the spirit of the community by featuring a compilation of stunning member-contributed images paired with photography tips progressing from elementary to advanced, leaving no skill level unserved.” (Syndetics)

Coco Chanel & Chimps, an unlikely combination – New Photography books in April

From monographs to anthologies, from contemporary photographers to historical shows, this month has a wide choice of fine art and documentary photography, concluding with a fantastic little book for the time-poor from the 30-second collection.

Our first featured book this month reached our shelves almost on the day of  its author’s highly anticipated film premiere at the Berlin film festival. Sam Taylor-Johnson is indeed the director of the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Slightly less under the spotlight is this small but perfectly formed book portraying Coco Chanel’s Paris apartment.

Syndetics book coverSecond floor : the private apartment of Mademoiselle Chanel : 31 rue Cambon
“When Sam Taylor-Johnson climbed the famous mirrored staircase of Chanel’s headquarters at 31 rue Cambon, Paris, she did not quite know what to expect. Her destination was Coco Chanel’s private apartment on the second floor; her mission, to photograph it. Through the door marked “MADEMOISELLE PRIVÉ,” Taylor-Johnson entered Coco Chanel’s secret world-exactly as she had left it at her death in 1971. Taylor-Johnson captures the mysterious, eerie presence of Coco’s ornaments and furniture: a golden lion, a bejewelled birdcage, leather-bound books, Chinese lacquer screens, crystal chandeliers. Ultimately we are left with a sense of beautiful emptiness-Coco’s touch is everywhere, but everywhere is haunted by her absence.” (From

Syndetics book coverHair
Influential and inspirational to professional hairstylists and kids on the streets alike, this is Guido’s visionary view of hair in the new millennium. “As the constantly-called-upon pro for designers like Calvin Klein, Alexander Wang, and Marc Jacobs, Guido is known for setting trends with a flick of his brush.” —The New York Times T Magazine. Revered by his peers and followers as the leader of hair design, Guido is an artist in his own right. On the runway, his hair creations generate such buzz that his styles often turn into that season’s look. His avant-garde creations have led him to work with the world’s most important designers, photographers, magazines, and brands, and his styles have turned into fashion focal points equal to that of the designer dress being worn. With seventy unique looks created especially for the book, Hair is a captivating visual tour of inspired creative styling and a testament that beauty lies in the details…this monograph is a hair bible that will be coveted by the fashionable and stylish.” (From

You can watch an interview of Guido Paulo talk about his new book here.

Syndetics book coverWomen photographers : from Julia Margaret Cameron to Cindy Sherman
“This thorough and accessible introduction to the greatest women photographers from the 19th century to today features the most important works of 55 artists, along with in-depth biographical and critical assessments. Since the inception of photography as an art form nearly 200 years ago, women have played an important role in the development of the genre, often pushing boundaries and defying social convention. Each artist is profiled in spreads featuring splendid reproductions of key works and an in-depth overview of her career and contributions to the art of photography.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPhoto show : landmark exhibitions that defined the history of photography
“From photography’s earliest days, the thrill and immediacy of the new medium were defined at the first public exhibitions.
Half art, half science, photography captured the attention of everyone from eager technophiles to curious painters: the art of representation was about to change. This is the first book to study the history of photography via international exhibitions. Edited by Alessandra Mauro, with contributions by and interviews with a host of international photography experts, this will be required reading for anyone with a serious interest in photography and curating, and provides the most informative and wide-ranging survey available of the era’s defining medium.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHipgnosis : portraits
“At the zenith of the rock era, Hipgnosis established themselves as the most important design collective in music history. Their innovative cover art defines the albums of the biggest names of the late 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. Their iconic designs – including Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and Peter Gabriel’s eponymous suite – grace a staggering number of major releases. In rejecting the posed, conventional band photography of the day and embracing the possibilities of the vinyl gatefold format, they changed album design forever and created a vast array of sublime portraits… Hipgnosis | Portraits is narrated throughout by Po – the last living member of the triumvirate – whose uncanny recollections put paid to the myths surrounding the genesis of these seminal works.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe photographer’s vision : understanding and appreciating great photography
In The Photographer’s Vision, Michael Freeman examines the work of some of the world’s greatest photographers, explaining how to look at photographs, and how to learn from looking at them. The featured work includes some of the most distinguished names in photography’s history: Frans Lanting, Nan Golding, Cindy Sherman, Paul Strand, Horst Faas, Robert Adams and many more, making this book visually stunning as well as intellectually authoritative.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverTales from Gombe
“Half a century ago, Jane Goodall made history by observing the lives of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park in Tanzania, Africa. Goodall documented their complex behavior, including tool use, and her practice of naming the chimpanzees and describing their personalities gave her readers an emotional connection to the chimps. This title by photographers Shah and Rogers returns years later to the same community of chimpanzees. Through extraordinary images and vivid descriptions, the authors chart the lives of the Gombe chimpanzees from 2001 until the present.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPatient : portraits from a doctor’s surgery
“Patient is a unique photographic collection of portraits taken by a GP of his patients at the end of their consultation. For two years, Dr Chris Reid, who is also a photographer, asked his patients whether they would be happy having their photograph taken. His intention was to capture their personality, not their ‘illness’, and the project evolved into a study of life, people, culture and the spectrum of illness that we and our families all face. Patient is the result, a collection of moving photos, accompanied by the sad, humorous and poignant stories associated with the subjects.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book cover20th century photographers : interviews on the craft, purpose, and the passion of photography
“This book is a compilation of interviews and essays that cover a broad range of photographers and photographic disciplines. Each had a distinct “style,” creative approach, dedication to the craft, point of view about themselves and the world. These interviews were conducted during a seminal period in the shift from film to digital and from print reproduction to global distribution on the Internet. Just like their photographs continue to inspire today, now these pros’ words can live on as an invaluable reference for the photographers of the future. – Listen to the audio of many of the featured interviews on the book’s companion website!” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book cover30-second photography : the 50 most thought-provoking photographers, styles and techniques, each explained in half a minute
“Who invented photography first? Who got the patent? Who are the greatest photographers and what have their contributions been? This book takes the 50 most important aspects of photography; both the major styles and the key technical aspects that make them possible, and explains each in two pages, 300 words and one picture. Whether you pick it up for 30-seconds at a time or from cover-to-cover, this book will have you thinking about your own and other peoples photography in a whole new way.” (Syndetics)