JWSmith Photography | Books of Note

Books of Note

April 21, 2018  •  1 Comment

A few weeks ago Richard Wong posted a selection of books that are influential in his photography career.  I love books, books of all kinds and have to refrain from buying anything and everything that sparks a new interest or fuels a current one.  I've stopped buying "How To" photography books and focus now on an artist's collection of his or her works.  I also enjoy writings that consider photography an art form and not just a collection of pretty pictures.  So, as of today here are the works I return to regularly and that continue to inspire me in a variety of directions.  

Keith Carter:  I first discovered Keith in a Santa Fe Workshops inspirational video on YouTube.  They have a series that's well worth binging.  I then saw Ted Forbes do a review of his books and finally got to see Ted do a video interview with him as part of his "Artists Series."  Keith Carter is a joy to listen to and has an intriguing style that attracts me.   I bought his book Twenty Five Years and love it.  His style is not for everyone, it's quirky, all monochrome film, various print and development techniques and always compelling.  Watch Keith's Santa Fe Workshops video here:  Keith Carter

Joe Cornish: I have a penchant for the UK landscape and the photographers who capture it.  Joe is at the top of any list of landscape photographers, not just those from the Isles. As described in This Land, he uses a variety of equipment, film and digital, and I close this book feeling both inspired and deflated.  Do a search on YouTube and watch him work in his calm and quiet way, just like his landscape.  

Sabastio SalgadoGenesis, everything about these images is inspiring.  I can't come up with anything new about Salgado.  If you have any appreciation for B&W documentary and landscape photography then this will be your standard.  The film about his life "Salt of the Earth" covers the book and is a bit depressing at first due to the subject matter but it picks up and is well worth watching.  Genesis is a very large volume, prepare to spend an hour or two and use a sturdy table. 

MIchael Kenna:  I came to appreciate minimalist landscapes through Kenna's work.  Like Cornish he's a soft spoken, humble guy who creates magic in the field.  I have his Forms of Japan book but the first book of his I purchased was A Twenty Year Retrospective and I do feel I get more from it than the Japan volume.  Again, it's a variety of B&W or toned images from film so if you're looking for colorful sunsets you need to look elsewhere.  

Two other books I regularly return to are Fan Ho's Hong Kong Yesterday and Truncated by Paul Hart. My impressions of these can be found by following the links connected to their titles. 


Todd Henson(non-registered)
I have a real passion for books, as well. I do still sometimes purchase how to, but have been slowly transitioning more towards monographs and similar collections. Salgado's Genesis is a true work of art. I love that book and it's near the top of my favorites. I also love Michael Kenna's work. I only have one book of his so far, Images of the Seventh Day, but I very much would like to pick up more examples of his work. I had been leaning towards Forms of Japan because I love that aesthetic, but I'll have to also take a look at A Twenty Year Retrospective. I don't have anything by Keith Carter but I have seen him in Ted Forbes videos, really enjoyed those. Joe Cornish is new to me, I'll have to look him up. Your words about him did bring to mind two British photographers I enjoy, David Noton and Bruce Percy.

Here's to a large and varied collection of photography books!
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