I've bought a few photography books lately. I no longer buy, nor feel the need for, tutorial books; those that teach you how to improve techniques or use the camera. My recent buys have been collections of works by photographers I admire or just enjoy. Viewing excellence in photography is akin to reading the masters in literature in order to be a better writer. Look closely enough and you can recognize the technique, the use of light and composition. Study enough and you can learn.
My focus on buys has been, in part, to find photographers new to me, usually amateurs, and buy their books in order to, in some small way, support and acknowledge them and their work. The work still has to strike me, I'm not a philanthropist, nor rich.
Two that have stuck with me are: Colin Bell's Healing and Paul Hart's Truncated
I think if I could deliver a book worthy of a Joe Cornish Foreward I'd just stop photographing and rest on those laurels for the remainder of my life. The book is well deserving, it's a beautiful work, a professional and well constructed book full of imagery from the English countryside where the light appears with a perfect glow on birches, ponds, mountains and meadows. I wish the silver birch grew in southern California, we have aspens farther north and cottonwoods here but the silver birch in the UK always seems to come with a layer of perfectly lit fog. Those who know me know I have a penchant for UK photographers and the landscapes they're privy too. Spend some time with Colin Bell and you'll see why.
The cleverly titled Truncated is one of those books that make me want to do B&W work and only B&W work. It contains a wonderful set of images of stately trees, manicured forests, textured bark and woodland goodness. I'm a big fan of tree photos. I have galleries devoted to the trees I find but I've nothing to build a book upon that compares to this work. The portraits are all in their natural setting with similar lighting and toning which gives the collection a wholeness that for me is very appealing. I want to walk these woods! I found this book through Black+White Photography magazine where they did a profile of his companion book Farmed. I bought the two together but it's Truncated that draws me back to the shelf time and again.