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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)


Restropectives and nostalgia – Photography for the New Year

As Daniel Handler ironically comments in Girls Standing on Lawns reviewed below, “None of this is there, not anymore. And yet we are still standing.”. By nature, photography takes us to a past, immediate or more distant, but always makes us observe what has been. In this month’s selection in particular, we ponder about some big names of last century, with nostalgia but also admiration.

Syndetics book coverFamily in the picture, 1958-2013
“Over the past half century, Friedlander has widely exhibited his distinctive images and become one of America’s best-known photographers. He has also published numerous collections of his work and this volume is arguably among his best. Intended as a companion volume to the recently published In the Picture: Self-Portraits 1958-2011, this substantial book includes more than 350 black-and-white images. There is virtually no text, simply a short identifying caption and date. Friedlander begins with pictures of his wife, Maria, and weaves a chronology of the key moments-births, childhood, coming of age, marriage, and death-of their family’s life over the decades. Among the great strengths of the book are its cohesion and personal tone.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSnowdon : a life in view
“A personal and complete retrospective by one of the most important twentieth-century photographers. Elegantly curated by the legendary photographer and his youngest daughter Frances von Hofmannsthal, Snowdon looks back at an exceptional life and features a selection of 175 full-colour and black-and-white stylish fashion photographs and iconic portraits taken throughout his expansive and influential career. Having started photographing at a young age, Snowdon focused primarily on theater, fashion, and society photography before becoming the official Royal photographer and starting a six-decade working relationship with Vogue. In 1960, he married Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, and in 1961 he began his illustrious career with The Sunday Times magazine. Known for his expressive and candid portraits, using both subtle humour and quiet sincerity, Snowdon’s work evokes a sense of familiarity met with extreme beauty.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPhotographers’ sketchbooks
“Find out how Alec Soth constructs his projects, why Trent Parke relies on old-fashioned Polaroids and hand-made books, and how forty-one other photographers experiment with new and old technologies, turn their photo-diaries into exhibitions, and attract audiences of millions via online platforms. This book celebrates the creative processes of the modern photographic era, in which blogs and Instagram streams function alongside analog albums and contact sheets, and the traditional notebook takes the form of Polaroid studies, smartphone pictures, found photography, experimental image-making, and self-published photo-zines. These intimate, one off presentations are accompanied by engaging interviews that reveal how the simple act of pressing a shutter can capture and express a fully realized personal vision.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPhotography : the definitive visual history
“This book covers the history of photography by examining processes, equipment, and artists, moving the reader chronologically from the daguerreotype to today’s smartphone camera technology. Each spread tackles a topic relevant to the time period, and interspersed throughout are profiles of important photographers and in-depth examinations of historically significant photographs. The text is simple yet thorough, but it is the well-reproduced images that will draw in the reader. This volume will appeal to photo enthusiasts and general readers.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe world atlas of street photography
“This book focuses on the abundance of photography that has been created on street corners around the globe; it includes classic documentary street photography, as well as images of urban landscapes, staged performances, and sculptures. From New York to New Delhi, Beijing to Brighton, Havana to Hamburg, and Sydney to Seoul, this magnificently illustrated book presents an international cast of more than one hundred established and emerging contemporary photographers.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverTaking shots : the photography of William S. Burroughs
“Renowned and highly regarded for his experiments with literature, painting, film, and music, William S. Burroughs was also a prolific photographer. However, his photographic work, consisting of several thousand images, has so far received litte critical attention or sustained public exposure. This book reproduces many unseen photographs and offers insights into his photographic practices”. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSue Ford
Features photographs, digital prints, collages and films an significant archival material from Ford’s long career. Texts by Maggie Finch, Virginia Fraser, Shaune Lakin, Marcia Langton and Helen Ennis provide a multifaceted look back to Ford’s career overarching themes in her work: identity, time, feminism, gender issues, Australian history and politics. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHorst : photographer of style
“The first major book to celebrate the entire career of legendary fashion photographer Horst P. Horst. The first comprehensive book on Horst P. Horst, this richly illustrated survey accompanies a retrospective of the photographer’s career, spanning fashion, nudes, portraiture, interiors, and art, at the Victoria and Albert Museum. For an incredible six decades, Horst’s work graced the pages and covers of Vogue, beginning in the 1930s alongside luminaries such as Cecil Beaton and George Hoyningen-Huene. Horst also left his mark on interior and lifestyle photography with his work in House & Garden. This survey traces a career remarkable for its range, daring, and depth.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBailey’s stardust
“It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer, it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.” (David Bailey).
The portraits in this book have been personally selected by Bailey from the wide range of subjects and groups that he has captured so brilliantly over the last five decades: actors, writers, musicians, politicians, film-makers, models, artists and people encountered on his travels to Australia, India, Sudan and Papua New Guinea; many of them famous, some unknown, all of them engaging and memorable. Antonionis cult film Blow-up (1966), about a London fashion photographer, was inspired by Bailey, whose life was also dramatised recently in the BBC film We’ll Take Manhattan (2012), which tells the story of his 1962 New York fashion shoot with the model Jean Shrimpton.”  (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHenri Cartier-Bresson : here and now
“Substantial and inclusive, this volume of artist Cartier-Bresson’s life work positions the photographer as a major 20th century social, political, and artistic force. Cartier-Bresson helped found Magnum Photos, was a pioneer of photojournalism and street photography, and spent a great deal of his life traveling and documenting the shifting political and material contexts of the time with the assistance of his camera. The volume comes in conjunction with the first retrospective of his work following his 2004 death, with Cheroux both curating the Centre Pompidou exhibition and providing the monograph’s text. The expansive range of images presents a smartly nuanced Cartier-Bresson, allowing the text to likewise explore the philosophy, aesthetics, and politics that drove the work.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverGirls standing on lawns
“Handler and Kalman (Why We Broke Up) explore photographs held by the Museum of Modern Art, a selection of mostly black & white vintage snapshots of young women posing on lawns. The girls look decorative, awkward, sometimes grim (like the woman in the grass skirt in front of bare winter trees), sometimes hilarious (a pair of fashionably shod legs stick out of a hedge). Handler’s commentary wanders between the voices of the subjects (“My whole life I have not known where to put my hands”) and that of a wise, older-brotherish commentator (“You don’t have to be self-conscious. We’re all fools”). Kalman contributes her own inimitable paintings: a girl in a dance costume flanked by two terriers, a jaunty woman perched on a gate.” (Syndetics)


A plethora of objects and subjects – New Photography books

At this time of gift giving, the first book in our monthly review may be a source of inspiration for the photo enthusiasts. There are other very attractive publications for a wide range of interests and tastes from sports and fashion to wildlife photography, and some interesting guides if you want to improve your photography, use it across media platforms or illustrate your writing.

Syndetics book coverCamera crazy
“This book showcases the most unusual and unique examples of functioning toy cameras – retro analogs, branded novelties, new products from Japan – and the photographs they create. It explores the full range of this incredibly popular and often quirky photography niche. Camera crazy is more than a collection of plastic cameras. It’s the world as seen through a child’s eye: a world of bright color, unexpected results and exciting possibilities.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverMinor White : manifestations of the spirit
“Controversial, misunderstood, and sometimes overlooked, Minor White was one of the great photographers of the twentieth century, whose ideas exerted a powerful influence on a generation of photographers and still resonate today. His photographic career began in 1938 in Portland, Oregon, with assignments for the WPA. After serving in World War II and studying art history at Columbia University, White’s focus shifted toward the metaphorical. With a rich selection of more than 160 images including some never published before, the book accompanies the first major exhibition of White’s work since 1989.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe way we were : the photography of Julian Wasser
“This monograph presents an astonishing panorama of a bygone Los Angeles from photographer Julian Wasser. Some of the images are very well known — Joan Didion leaning against a Corvette Stingray in Hollywood — while many others, such as Jack Nicholson and Angelica Huston at Jack’s Mulholland Drive home, or the Fonda family lined up on the family sofa, paint a picture of a very private Hollywood of the 1960s and 70s, when privacy was possible and celebrity culture had not yet completely consumed the country. Mingled with these iconic faces are pictures of California counterculture such as the Hog Farm Commune in Sunland & surfers in Malibu Beach, and documentation of events such as Robert Kennedy’s campaign and the Watts riots. Wasser’s photographs appeared in some of the major magazines of the time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of sports photography
“Marc Aspland, Chief Sports Photographer of The Times, is one of today’s most prominent photographers in any journalistic genre. This book presents highlights from Aspland’s illustrious career and contains more than one hundred rarely seen images drawn from his personal archive. Some of the most prominent figures in world sport, such as David Beckham, Usain Bolt and Rafael Nadal are captured in penetrating and captivating detail, in action and at ease. Historical moments from some of the most important international sporting events are featured, alongside images that simply show the joy sport brings to societies all over the world.” (Adapted from book jacket)

Syndetics book cover50 years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year : how wildlife photography became art
“This special collection is a celebration of 50 years of the world-famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and of wildlife photography itself. Featuring many of the greatest nature photographs of all time, it charts the development of nature photography, from the first hand-held cameras and the colour film revolution of the 1960s, to the increasingly sophisticated photographs of wild animals and unexplored places that are taken today.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMiles of M.A.C : the collaborative art of M.A.C cosmetics and Miles Aldrige
“This book is the product of a long running relationship and collaboration between M.A.C., a cosmetics company synonym with fashion glamour, who’s founders directed their product line towards professionals in the beauty and fashion industry when all they could rely on was heavy stage make-up, and a world renown photographer courted by the biggest fashion magazines and art galleries, Miles Aldridge (watch a video of Aldridge talk about his work here). As Gordon Espinet, head makeup artist for the company says “The whole point of M.A.C. is to create an environment where people can write their own story”. And this is what Miles of M.A.C is about: the expression of two imaginary worlds colliding to create magical tales. Glossy, glamourous and fantastical. Check also Miles Aldridge : I only want you to love me.

And for the budding young fashion photographers out there, here is a title you will find in the Children’s collection:

Syndetics book coverFashion photographer / Justin Dallas with Rebecca Rissman
“Do you like taking photos of people? Do you like fashion? Maybe you could be a fashion photographer! Justin Dallas takes photos in some pretty cool locations and gets to meet interesting people and travel along the way. In this book you’ll find out all about his amazing job!” (Syndetics summary)

And finally, some titles to guide you to using photography in your everyday life.

Syndetics book coverPhotography for writers
“Digital photography has made photography accessible to all and, even if you have a mobile phone camera, it is possible to take publishable pictures. Photography for Writers explains the basics of digital photography, the different markets available to writers with a camera, how to submit their images, what to do with their images afterwards, how to use photography for research purposes, and even how to get photos to illustrate your articles if you don’t have a camera.” (From

Syndetics book coverArt of everyday photography : move toward manual & make creative photos
“In this easy-to-understand book, Susan Tuttle encourages the reader to get her camera out of “auto mode” and finally learn how to use its features to create beautiful photos capturing the everyday moments of life, including portraiture, landscape, still-life scenes, food, pet photography, street photography and more. In addition to camera basics, Susan includes many tips and techniques for getting the most out of smartphone cameras and photo apps.” (From

From cookery to sociology, photography is everywhere

Let’s start our photography book review with a book you’ll find in the cookery section, about literary food accounts! Confused?

Syndetics book coverFictitious dishes : an album of literature’s most memorable meals
“Fictitious Dishes serves up a delectable assortment of photographic interpretations of culinary moments from contemporary and classic literature. Showcasing famous meals such as the madcap tea party from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the watery gruel from Oliver Twist, the lavish chicken breakfast from To Kill a Mockingbird, the stomach-turning avocado-and-crabmeat salad from The Bell Jar, and the seductive cupcakes from The Corrections, this unique volume pairs each place setting with the text from the book that inspired its creation. Interesting food facts and entertaining anecdotes about the authors, their work, and their culinary predilections complete this charming book, which is sure to whet the appetites of lovers of great literature and delicious dishes.” (Back cover)

Another title that doesn’t exactly fall into the Photography category and that you will actually find in the cookery section was worth adding to this month’s photography collection as it is as much an art book as it is a cookbook, featuring exquisite photography in a beautifully designed book.

Syndetics book coverDabbous : the cookbook
“Occupying an urban space in London’s Fitzrovia, DABBOUS is the restaurant that has stunned critics and diners since it opened in 2012. Behind the sheet-metal door, Ollie Dabbous creates light, modern dishes that are both delicate and deceptively simple: jewel-like creations that are in stark contrast with the restaurant’s industrial décor.” (Inside cover)

Syndetics book coverShe who tells a story : women photographers from Iran and the Arab world
“Clearly, women photographers from the Arab world are underrepresented voices in the art world. However, interest is at an all-time high since September 11 and the Arab Spring. Published on the occasion of an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, this catalogue seeks to address this problem by celebrating 12 women photographic and video artists who encompass wide-ranging photographic metaphors and imaging practices. Some artists, like Shirin Neshat, are well-known and highly acclaimed. Though most are virtually unknown, their works are no less powerful. These women artists should be seen and heard.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverFashion photography next
“Here is an exciting new survey of more than 30 young photographers from 14 countries who will have a pivotal role in shaping the fashion of the future. From Axel Hoedt’s bold graphic experimentation and fascination with traditional costume, to the colour-saturated, hyperreal images by Daniel Jackson, or the cool, neutral aesthetic of Hanna Putz’s photographs, the work is diverse, striking, sometimes shocking. This book embraces the fashion worlds obsession with freshness and youth: it looks beyond what is now and showcases what comes next.” (Syndetics)

Following last month’s first volume, I have lived in East London for 86 1/2 years, in a new series of diminutive photo books on East London, we now have two new titles added to our collection, completing the picture of the fascinating people living in this colourful part of London

Syndetics book coverEast London swimmers
“Madeleine Waller’s intimate portraits of swimmers – both dressed and in their swimsuits -are set against personal stories that reveal the inner life of people who escape the city to swim in all conditions.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverA portrait of Hackney
“Hackney, though crime-ridden, poor and dilapidated, is also now London’s trendiest neighbourhood, and was home to the 2012 Olympics. Zed Nelson, a renowned photojournalist who both resides and grew up in the area, looks at some of the bizarre, often painful, contradictions caused by this rapid gentrification.” (Syndetics summary)

And before we leave East London, another recent publication documents commuter life in the 70′s

Syndetics book coverUnderground
“While working as projectionish in a porn cinema in the 1980s, Bob Mazzer began photographing on the tube during his daily commute, creating irresistibly joyous pictures alive with humour and humanity. His pictures are published here for the first time.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKnown unknowns : a new book
“100 individual essays illustrated with 198 arresting photographs tackle subjects as varied as the tattoo habits of Russian criminals, the Vatican’s favourite Barbie, North Korean traffic jams, American gun legislation and the world’s richest animal. Behind each poignant, startling and often disconcerting image lies a treasure trove of hidden histories. Drawing on a career that has seen him produce and collect some of the most iconic images of modern times, Charles Saatchi presents his own unique perspective on contemporary culture.” (

Syndetics book coverThe unforgettable photograph : 228 ideas, tips, and secrets for taking the best pictures of your life
“Renowned photographer George Lange’s work is guided by one simple truth: An unforgettable photograph is not about what the subject looks like, but what it feels like. In this entirely new kind of photography guide, written by Mr. Lange and Scott Mowbray, magazine editor and longtime amateur photographer, the rest of us will learn how to take photographs that don’t just document life but celebrate it. No fancy equipment required. Just hundreds of simple, inspiring ideas and lessons organized around the six essential principles of seeing like a photographer.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe photographer’s master guide to colour
“Color is key in photography, but very few photographers actually understand how it works – and new software and ever-improving camera sensors have now given them an infinite number of options. Finally, here is a thorough course on color and the role it plays in digital photography. The latest book by best-selling photographer Jeff Wignall will give you a new understanding of the important role color plays in the creation of successful photos, and let you take outstanding color photographs with any digital camera.” (Syndetics)

East London & Soho as photographic backdrops – September Photography books

London is the subject and background for three of our selected books this month, a sure testament to the strong relationship between the city and the medium over the course of photographic history. Among others, we also have a range of how-to books that will guide you through better family, wedding and personal photographic projects and how to make the most of social media’s visual potential to showcase your creations.

Syndetics book cover I’ve lived in East London for 86 1/2 years
“For about twenty years I made suitcases. My foreman was a bastard. Apart from that it was OK. But if I was less heavy…you know what I’d like to be? I’d like to be a ballet dancer. That would be my dream.” This is one of the many quotes you’ll find in this diminutive, yet larger than life book on Joseph Markovitch, who was born, lived and died in Shoreditch, not long after this heartfelt collection of photos and reflections on life was published. A little treasure!

brick laneBrick Lane / Phil Maxwell.
“Phil Maxwell is the photographer of Brick Lane. Over the last thirty years, no-one has taken more pictures there than he and his astonishing body of work stands unparalleled in the canon of street photography, both in its range and in the quality of human observation that informs these eloquent images. Here are more than two hundred dramatic black and white photographs of Brick Lane in the East End of London in chronological sequence, telling the story of volatile social change on one of Britain’s most celebrated streets from 1982 until the present day” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverUnder the influence : John Deakin, photography and the lure of Soho / Robin Muir.
“Considered to be one of the greatest of postwar British photographers, Deakin was renowned for his penetrating portraits, haunting street scenes and striking fashion work. Though he flourished briefly at Vogue, it was the lure of nearby Soho with its pubs, clubs and subterranean watering holes that captured his interest most. Loved and loathed in equal measure by friends and drinking companions, Deakin was a legendary member of the quarter’s maverick crowd of artists, writers, poets and assorted characters and misfits. As its most famous chronicler with a camera, he is inextricably linked to Soho’s bohemian heyday in the two decades following the War. Exhibition: Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK (11.04-13.07.2014).” (Library catalogue)

photo forum at 40PhotoForum at 40 : counterculture, clusters, and debates in New Zealand
“PhotoForum at 40 commemorates, reflects and celebrates a wide body of New Zealand photographs that have been published in the photography journal PhotoForum, and displayed in their exhibitions. It offers an unwritten history of the communities, relationships, and events that have shaped photographers and the images they make. This book brings together some significant images and portfolios (Peter Peryer, Murray Cammick, Anne Noble, Fiona Clark), and highlights the most pertinent and illuminating critical thinking and explosive debates about photographic practice in articles and reviews published in PhotoForum journal.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPhotography today
“In this utterly absorbing volume, Durden examines the impact of over 100 photographers who have risen to prominence since the 1960s. Artfully divided into 11 chapters-covering topics including the rise of copying and appropriation, faces and masks, color photography, street photography, landscapes, atrocities, the body, documentary, and the self-each chapter provides insight into how these photographers fit into a larger whole. The final chapter, “Photography Tomorrow,” deals with the death of film and the mass proliferation of digital representation. All major artists and movements are represented and Durden’s considerable research can be seen in the biographies and the book’s index.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAvedon : women.
“This book accompanies the Fall 2013 exhibition of Richard Avedon’s photography to be held at Gagosian Gallery Beverly Hills. Over his sixty-year career, photographer Richard Avedon was renowned for his distinctive, transformative eye. What might have been pictured as prosaic or unattractive through another photographer’s lens was presented by Avedon as unconventional, surprising, and sometimes revelatory. Through approximately 120 images, Avedon: Women explores Avedon’s unique artistic perspective.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverEye to eye : photographs by Vivian Maier
“Since her death in 2009, Vivian Maier has become internationally famous because of her heartbreaking story and brilliant photography. Virtually invisible to others, she died alone and in poverty but left a wealth of photographs-more than 100,000 images. For over a half-century Maier wandered the streets of New York and Chicago and journeyed through Asia and elsewhere making incredible photographs. Few knew of Maier’s pursuit during her lifetime, and her great talent went unrecognized. But since the body of her life’s work-a treasure trove of prints and negatives-was rescued from a storage locker and thrift shop, she has been acknowledged as a great artist.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAmerican jukebox : a photographic journey
“Immersed in the cultural landscape, filmmaker and photographer Felver (Beat) compiles moments both candid and posed from the past 25 years of American musical history. Framed by a brief personal narrative of the artist’s social life in diverse countercultural milieus, as well as forewords by David Amram and Lee Ranaldo, the book quickly proceeds to striking images of luminaries such as Emmylou Harris, Ozzy Osbourne, Odetta, Taj Mahal, and Eartha Kitt. Felver possesses a unique skill, presenting the artists in moments that suggest a personal connection and unveiling of celebrity, while maintaining a firm grounding in the act of musical creation.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverJust one more– : a photographer’s memoir
“In 1975 Gemma Levine boldly entered the world of professional photography, as an amateur, to chronicle the work of the sculptor Henry Moore. They forged a unique bond, and under Moore’s tutelage she went on to develop her own striking photographic style, building a diverse and unexpected career that took her from the deserts of Israel to Buckingham Palace as one of Britain’s leading portrait photographers: ‘With a camera in my hand, I have come to see the world as full of infinite possibilities.’ Containing more than 150 stunning images from a rich body of work that spans nearly four decades, this beautiful volume relates her special relationship with Moore.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverDecade - Alexi Lubomirski
Over the last ten years, Alexi Lubomirski has become an established name within the fashion industry, shooting for such publications as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and GQ. Decade is a collection of Lubomirski’s fashion and portrait work from 2003-2013. Containing studio photography and narrative fashion spreads in exotic locations, this book also features portraits of actors and celebrities such as Cate Blanchett, Victoria Beckham, Heidi Klum, Kirsten Dunst, Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor against a broad array of backdrops.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPicture perfect social media : a handbook for styling perfect photos for posting, blogging, and sharing
“Whether using a smartphone, a toy camera with quirky special effects, a versatile point-and-shoot, or a sophisticated DSLR-these tips and advice focus on stylistic and compositional tricks that can help you get the best shot with the equipment you’ve got.
For blogs that rely on images to tell the story, the quality of those images can be the difference between a blog that simply exists, and a blog that reaches thousands of readers. Picture Perfect Social Media gives you the skills to stand out in a competitive and ever evolving blogosphere, proving that you don’t need to be (or hire) a professional stylist or photographer to have stunning and unique images on your blog.” (From

Syndetics book coverThe new art of capturing love : the essential guide to lesbian and gay wedding photography
“Most wedding photographers naturally assume they should employ the same strategies they use for hetero couples when photographing same-sex couples. This guide quickly dispels that notion, addressing subjects such as asking each spouse which gender pronouns they prefer, and avoiding poses that make the couple appear as “friends or siblings.” Most importantly, Hamm and Dodds stress that photographers get to know their clients and find out details, such as what rituals will be featured in the ceremony, and what attire will be worn. Though some of tips and tricks are common sense for anyone in the wedding business, the guide offers a host of specific strategies, such as how to pose brides with two bouquets, and what to do if the grooms are the same height.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverYour child in pictures : the parent’s guide to photographing your toddler and child from age one to ten
“Celebrated photographer and best-selling author Me Ra Koh provides step-by-step instruction on photographing your family and taking pictures of your child. As a companion book to Your Baby in PicturesYour Child in Pictures helps you learn to capture your child’s special moments with 40 beautiful “photo recipes” that anyone can do, with any camera. From first haircuts to first days of school, from snuggly teddy bears to favorite dress-up clothes, the toddler and childhood years are full of precious days that disappear all too soon.” (

New photography books in July – ANZAC memorials, NZ street style, New York dogs & French cats

As the centenary of New Zealand’s participation in the First World War gets under way, a touring photography exhibition will be marking the commemoration of the conflict and its impact on New Zealand. Published to coincide with the exhibition is one of this month’s featured photography books – “ANZAC – photographs” by Laurence Aberhart.

Syndetics book coverANZAC / photographs by Laurence Aberhart.
“In almost every town you care to visit in either New Zealand or Australia, you will find a memorial to those killed in the Great War of 1914-1918. These memorials were commissioned and built in the years shortly after the conflict, but communities, families and comrades who returned from battle, eager not to forget their dead, or their sacrifice. Given their sheer number, these monuments are so familiar, and seemingly so familiar to one another, that nowadays we may barely give them a second look. Laurence Aberhart has made a career out of taking a second look. This book presents seventy magnificent photographs by one of New Zealand’s leading artists, with an introduction by historian Jock Phillips. It is published to coincide with a major touring exhibition, opening at Dunedin Public Art Gallery.” (Book jacket).

Syndetics book coverFoureyes : New Zealand street style 
“Four guys (Danny Simmons, Mino Kim, Chin Tay and Alex Blanco) who love fashion, people, and photography. This book is a collection of some of their favourite photographs that they have taken on the streets of New Zealand along with a few from their travels abroad.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWorld Press Photo 13 
“Every year since 1955 an international jury has convened in Holland under the auspices of the World Press Photo Foundation to choose the finest press photographs of the year. Universally recognized as the definitive competition for photographic reporting, it draws submissions from photojournalists, newspapers, and magazines throughout the world. Publishing the results of the most recent competition, this book contains the most haunting and inspiring photographs from 2012 & 2013 ;some 150 pictures selected from more than 100,000 images submitted. These prize-winning works capture the most powerful, moving, and sometimes disturbing events of the year.” (Syndetics)
To check our collection of yearly World Press Photo Publications, click on this link.


World Press Photos 2012World Press Photos 2008World Press Photos 2006

World Press Photos 2009World Press Photos 2010World Press Photos 2011


Syndetics book coverThe photobook : a history. Volume III / Martin Parr and Gerry Badger
“Parr and Badger present the third and final volume in their series covering the photobook, with highlights from over 200 titles spanning the post-WWII era to the present, many of which were self-published or whose makers remain anonymous. Topics vary widely, from propaganda and protest to sex, identity, and memory, to found photography. All 200 covers and several interior pages from each photobook have been reproduced, resulting in an incredible visual feast of styles and subject matter from around the globe. Further, each volume is meticulously described, as is its photographer, in accompanying essays. Highlights include Ken Schles’s haunting images from Invisible City, Todd Hido’s groundbreaking House Hunting, and Sophie Calle’s recent book about her mother’s death, Rachel, Monique. While many books deal with death, war, and atrocities, there are several humorous gems, such as Joachim Schmid’s volume of found photographs, Size Matters, and Jiao Putta’s government-produced food shots in Catalogue of Meat Products. Contemporary art and photo lovers will appreciate Parr and Badger’s wealth of knowledge about modern photography.”(Syndetics)

The previous two volumes are also available in our collection (click on the images to check availability):

The Photobook a history Vol 1 The Photobook a history Vol 2

Syndetics book cover“The French cat 
“Photographer and ailurophile Hale (101 Cataclysms), born in New Zealand and living in France, offers a gorgeous love letter to her adopted country, its cities and famous light, and most of all-its cats. Cats are adored in France, she finds. Even the “gutter cats” are cherished, fed by villagers and “allowed to remain singular, self-contained, standoffish.” Photographing felines wherever she can find them-basking on the docks, posing on a “baronial staircase”-becomes a sort of shorthand for her process of observing, parsing, and celebrating French culture and the land. Her methods also make for fun reading, how she travels with cat toys to attract the attention of her skittish subjects and to lure them into the frame (not always successfully; one cat rewards her with a vicious bite) .” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe New York dog
“McKenna (Smitten; 101 Salivations: For the Love of Dogs) has a well-established brand in animal photography, with work that includes greeting cards, calendars, and posters. This collection of portraits moves from France (The French Dog) to the United States in celebration of New York’s pooches. A foreword from Georgina Bloomberg, featured with her five rescue dogs, sets the tone of dedication to the city and its canine inhabitants. While some humans are included with their pets, the focus is on the animals in their environments. From Valentino and Geisha in Manhattan to Oscar in Queens, the dogs’ stories are as varied as New York’s neighborhoods.” (Syndetics)

Photography in June: Check out our online magazine collection


We have been reviewing new books on photography and I thought it was time we turned our attention to another great source of photography news, information and inspiration, available through our online library.

Our newest eLibrary addition, Zinio, is a great new collection including over 140 current magazine titles. Members of Wellington City Libraries can borrow as many as they like for free, and keep them as long as they want – with no overdue fees.   There’s a wide range of magazines – including a number of international photography titles.

And with overseas magazines titles, there’s no waiting for these digital copies: the magazines are available at the same time or sooner than their print editions appear in UK or US, with the same layout on the screen as they have in print, complete with photographs, graphics and even interactive content.  If you missed a previous issue, these are available for most titles as well.

So. whether you are looking to develop your editing skills, learn about gif images, want to research the latest photography equipment or keep up with fine arts photography exhibitions and publications, our magazines will keep you in the know at the swish of a screen.

Watch our Slideshare presentation to see how you can set up your two Zinio accounts (and one for the app).

May Photography

In a field still dominated by men, photography of women and by women feature more than usual in this month selection. Serendipitous,  refreshing and inspiring.

Syndetics book coverWomen of vision : National Geographic photographers on assignment / foreword by Ann Curry ; introduction by Chris Johns.
“For 125 years, National Geographic has documented the world and all that is in it with stunning photography that captures the soul of a story beyond the words on a page.
Some of the most powerful narratives of the past decade have been produced by a forward-thinking generation of women photojournalists as different as the places and the subjects they have covered. But they all share the same passion and commitment to storytelling that has come to define National Geographic.
Women of Vision was curated by National Geographic Senior Photo Editor Elizabeth Krist, who had the challenging task of choosing a selection of images to best represent the broad portfolios of the 11 extraordinary photographers.
Women of Vision is a tribute to the spirit and the ambition of these journalists and artists who have created riveting experiences for millions through the insightful, sensitive, and strategic use of a camera. From the last great wildernesses of Africa to the tumult of the Jersey Shore, these stories explore the realities of our world and the depths of what it means to be human in the 21st Century. These women of vision have taken millions with them on assignment through the pages of National Geographic–and in the process have set a new standard for excellence that will continue to inspire for decades to come.” (From book jacket)

Syndetics book coverVisible : 60 women at 60 / photography by Jenny O’Connor.
“Photographer Jenny O’Connor was born in 1952, the year that the highest number of births was recorded in New Zealand. She, and the women who feature in Visible, are part of the ‘baby boom’ generation. In 2011, as Jenny headed toward her 60th birthday in 2012, she began to wonder how other women nearing this same milestone felt about themselves, how society saw them and what their thoughts about their future were. Jenny’s desire to explore these questions was how this book began; by talking to 60 women who were 60 when she took their photograph. The words are theirs, writing whatever each wanted to say about themselves.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe New Yorkers / Robert Herman ; foreword by Sean Corcoran ; essay by Stella Kramer.
“The New Yorkers is a glorious look at a city bursting with color and life. It is a body of work full of frozen moments, serendipity and reflection. Through Robert Herman s work we recognize the New York we knew and the New York we still know today. His street photography freezes people and places in this city at decisive moments, with spontaneity and authenticity. In The New Yorkers the city waves at us, looks us right in the eye and brushes past us, without seeing. It layers images upon images like the best graffiti–always renewing and reforming itself. Stella Kramer, Pulitzer prize-Winning Photo Editor.
The New Yorkers is Robert Herman s astounding collection of photographs of New York City, shot between 1978-2005 on Kodachrome. The book immortalizes the transformation of Soho, Little Italy, Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side. These photos tell an authentic story of New York City: real New Yorkers living and working in their own neighborhoods. In Herman s bold use of light and composition, he effectively transforms everyday subject matter into vibrant, emotion-filled images. But beyond the stunning photography, it also tells another story: that of Herman s battle with bipolar disorder. A physical representation of the empathy Herman had for his subjects while struggling with his own sense of outsiderness is what makes The New Yorkers of interest to all who know and love the city as well as those who want to know it.” (From

Syndetics book coverFrançois Halard / texts by François Halard and Isabelle Dupuy Chavanat ; edited by Beda Achermann and François Halard.
“This extravagant volume is the magnum opus of today’s most celebrated interiors photographer. One of François Halard’s first assignments, to photograph Yves Saint Laurent’s legendary Paris apartment when he was in his early twenties, cemented his reputation as one of the most original eyes of our era. His unique photographic sensibility—old-world elegant and bohemian, accessible and personal—is instantly recognizable. Thirty years later, Halard still captures our imagination with his breathtaking photographs.Included in this highly anticipated volume are Halard’s images of the glorious homes of the most important tastemakers, artists, and designers of the twentieth century: Axel Vervoordt, Roger Vivier, Richard Avedon, the Duchess of Devonshire, Julian Schnabel, Schiaparelli, Carlo Mollino, Balthus, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, and many more, including Halard’s own homes in New York, Paris, and Arles. Photographed in his inimitable “grand manner,” often for Vogue, this book also shows for the first time the more intimate “house portraits” that Halard would photograph for himself, where his personal vision shines through. François Halard will be a coveted, indispensable resource for all lovers of interior style and a master class in visual education.” (From

5110VVQEl8L__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Butch / Kanithea Powell ; photography by Beverli Alford.
“From award-winning film-maker Kanithea Powell, Butch is a lavish book that attempts to redefine the concept of “butch” through a series of photographs shot in a sleek fashion studio style, challenging traditional butch identity and shedding some new light on what it means today.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLegendary : inside the house ballroom scene / photographs by Gerard H. Gaskin ; with an introduction by Deborah Willis, and an essay by Frank Roberts.
“Gerard H. Gaskin’s radiant color and black-and-white photographs take us inside the culture of house balls, underground events where gay and transgender men and women, mostly African American and Latino, come together to see and be seen. At balls, high-spirited late-night pageants, members of particular “houses”—the House of Blahnik, the House of Xtravaganza—”walk,” competing for trophies in categories based on costume, attitude, dance moves, and “realness.” In this exuberant world of artistry and self-fashioning, people often marginalized for being who they are can flaunt and celebrate their most vibrant, spectacular selves.From the quiet backstage, to the shimmering energies of the runway. to the electricity of the crowd, Gaskin’s photographs take us to the ball. Legendary, comprised of photos taken at events in the New York city area, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Washington, D.C., is a collaboration between Gaskin, a camera-laden outsider who has been attending balls for twenty years, and the house members who let him enter the intimate world of ball culture. In addition to an introduction by Deborah Willis, Legendary includes an essay, “The Queer Undercommons,” by Frank Roberts.” (Dust jacket)

Syndetics book coverUnderwater photography : art and techniques / Nick Robertson-Brown.
“Capture an underwater world of glorious colours, extraordinary creatures and mysterious depths.
Underwater photography is a challenging discipline. To capture stunning images you must have confidence in your diving abilities and be very comfortable with your camera. This practical book explains and offers advice to the reader on both the art and the science involved in capturing underwater shots.
Nick-Robertson-Brown is passionate about marine wildlife. Having trained as a diving instructor, he now teaches underwater photography and regularly contributes to the photographic press.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverKen Duncan : life’s a journey : the adventure continues / Ken Duncan.
“This spectacular volume has been more than thirty years in the making. Featuring many never-before-seen photos, plus a host of stories untold until now, Ken Duncan: Life’s a Journey is a magnificent and yet passionate “commentary on life” from one of the world’s great photographers.
Part autobiography, part travelogue and part reflection, this is a book of wonderful variety and range. There’s humour, drama, anecdote and heart-searching. Every spread is illustrated by Ken’s superb images: from the Aussie outback to Africa, from Antarctica to China – and much more.
This book is in many ways a follow-up to Ken’s acclaimed 2008 volume Ken Duncan: Life’s an Adventure. That book surprised and thrilled readers, who read for the first time many of the stories behind Ken’s career. For Ken, the greatest accolade came when he heard of a farmer whose life had (quite literally) been saved by reading the book. Ready to take his own life after two years of destructive floods, the farmer had happened upon Ken’s volume in the farmhouse; he’d been completely turned around by Ken’s personal story of chaos leading to hope.
Ken Duncan: Life’s a Journey continues in this tradition, telling more – much more – of the unique Ken Duncan story. Ken’s passion is to speak honestly to his own generation – in the midst of a world often gripped by fear of financial crisis, terrorism or environmental catastrophe.
As Ken writes: “Daily we have choices to make: Will we live our lives in faith or fear? I choose faith. Who will join me in this peaceful revolution?”” (From dust jacket)

Syndetics book coverTransformational imagemaking : handmade photography since 1960 / Robert Hirsch.
“Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960 is a groundbreaking survey of significant work and ideas by imagemakers who have pushed beyond the boundaries of photography as a window on our material world. These artists represent a diverse group of curious experimentalists who have propelled the medium’s evolution by visualizing their subject matter as it originates from their mind’s eye. Many favor the historical techniques commonly known as alternative photographic processes, but all these makers demonstrate that the real alternative is found in their mental approach and not in their use of physical methods. Within this context, photographer and photography historian Robert Hirsch outlines the varied approaches these artists have utilized to question conventional photographic practices, to convey internal realities, and to examine what constitutes photographic reality. Hirsch explores the half-century evolution of these concepts and methodologies and their popularity among contemporary imagemakers who are merging digital and analog processes to express what was thought to be photographically inexpressible.” (Back cover)

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