Taking inspiration from genius

This month’s picks from the photography book collection:

yearinphotosA Year in Photography – Magnum Archive
The aristocracy of photography featured in another awe inspiring book. A Year in Photography, despite what its title may suggest is not about one single year but about 365 different days spanning over more than 60 years. A weighty book of a square format, this is the ultimate coffee table “brick” that you can open at any page, flick through in any order and find images to spur your imagination. Visual quality on every page. The text is kept to its strict minimum: The photographer, the place, the date.

3 favourites: Alessandra Sanguinetti on 21 May 2002; Trent Park on 29 June 2006; Thomas Dworzak on 15 December 2002. What are yours?

syndetics-lcBrian Brake: Lens on the World
Published to coincide with his retrospective exhibition at Te Papa earlier this year, this is the chance to discover or re-visit Brake’s prolific career, in a quality publication, in photographs and text ordered chronologically. A must read and a great reference book.

Maori Art
To expand on the chapter on Object Photography in the Lens on the World book, Brian Brake’s talent with light is illustrated here in his photographs of Maori artefacts taken from museum collections in the 70s. His work put the spotlight on Maori art, giving it a wider audience and paved the way for some talented photographers of taonga in practice today. A beautiful sample of his craft at work to highlight the craft of others.

syndetics-lcStreet Photography Now
We love to watch ourselves and our fellow human beings. In the context of the urban environment mostly, this book depicts human drama in all its glory and grit, through images from 46 different artists in the field of street photography. Compelling viewing structured in 5 sections introduced by insightful texts. Each section presents a dozen photographers and a succinct selection of their work.  My favourite? There are so many! But I will say that I am particularly partial to Alex Webb’s vibrant and dramatic tableaux of humans in the actions of everyday life. I found the composition of Nick Turpin’s image p206 quite brilliant too. But I could cite many more. Have a look for yourself.

And finally…. The book on techniques.

They tend to be so much less attractive and yet, how do we improve ourselves and take inspiration from all these wonderful displays of genius without some technical guidance?

syndetics-lcUnderstanding Close-up Photography is a very interesting source of useful information on this particular type of photography.
Some dramatic images are presented, technically analysed and shown in their wider context. This book is a mine of technical knowledge, examples are attractive and highly achievable. A brilliant inspiration for close-up experimentation.You will never look at a spider web in the same way again…