If you’re looking for interesting gifts for photo enthusiasts, we’ve gathered these must-have gifts for a photo lover. Below, you can find both new and classic photography publications that are sure to inspire everyone even slightly interested in photography.
If you’re looking for something else besides publications only, check out this list of photography gifts.
It’s safe to say photography books are a true source of inspiration and can last for decades, but they’re also an intriguing decor element when walking into a space you can sit down and dive into them.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration to your own photography practice or just appreciating photography in general, these photo books will open your creative side.
Must-Haves for Photography Lovers
Leibovitz drew on more than 40 years of work, starting with the photojournalism she did for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s through the conceptual portraits she made for Vanity Fair and Vogue. She selected iconic images―such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono entwined in a last embrace―as well as portraits that had rarely, if ever, been seen before. There is 550 pages of exquisite photos. Great addition to the book collection for anyone who loves photography.
This book is a juicy adventure that radiates from every photo, every detail, every fragment. Everything is vital, whether in the center or on the edges, even where the light doesn’t show them so much.
A pleasant chance to experience all layers of time and ontological characters in their magnificent expressions. Of course, only Annie Leibovitz has this unfailing sensitivity in capturing them.
Nan Goldin: The Other Side
This book is from a photographer Nan Goldin; a seminal book The Other Side, originally published in 1993.
When Goldin lived in Boston in the 1970’s, she was surrounded by a group of drag queens and she began documenting their glamour and vulnerability.
In the early eighties, Goldin chronicled the lives of transgender friends in New York when AIDS began to decimate her community. In the nineties, she recorded the explosion of drag as a social phenomenon in New York, Berlin, Bangkok and the Philippines, photographing their public personas while showing their real lives backstage.
Goldin’s newest photographs are intimate portraits, imbued with tenderness, of some of her most beloved friends. The Other Side is her homage to the queens she’s loved, many of whom she’s lost, over the last four decades.
The Photographer’s Playbook
The Photographer’s Playbook is filled with photography assignments but also ideas, stories from many talented photographers and photography professionals.
Whether you’re planning on improving your craft or wanting to learn from scratch, these assignments will inspire you to be more engaging with photography as a medium and understand the photographic process.
Inside you will find advice for better shooting and editing, creative ways to start new projects, games and activities, and insight into the practices of those responsible for our most iconic photographs—John Baldessari, Tina Barney, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jim Goldberg, Miranda July, Susan Meiselas, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Tim Walker, and many more.
The assignments and project ideas in this book are indispensable for teachers and students, and great fun for everyone fascinated by taking pictures.
Alec Soth: Sleeping by the Mississippi
One of the most intriguing publications of the photo-book era, Alec Soth’s Sleeping by The Mississippi is a body of work from the recent history of photography.
Becoming a series of road trips along the Mississippi River between 1999 and 2002, Sleeping by the Mississippi captures America’s iconic yet often neglected ‘third coast.’
Alec Soth used a large-format 8 x 10 inch camera to build his descriptive colour photographs, presenting a mix of individuals, landscapes, and interiors that he discovered along the river’s path.
Sleeping by the Mississippi merges a documentary style with poetic visual language. Soth seeks out the reality of ‘middle America’ and often looks to those living outside of social conventions. His honest portraits do not flatter or patronise those they capture; instead they are laced with tenderness.
PhotoWork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice
What truly comes first – the image or the concept?
How important is style and how do photographic series evolve?
PhotoWork is a collection of interviews by forty photographers about their approaches to making photographs and a sustained a body of work, revealing that there is not only one way in photography.
Curator and lecturer Sasha Wolf was inspired to seek out and assemble responses to these questions after hearing from countless young photographers about how they often feel adrift in their own practice, wondering if they are doing it the “right” way. The responses, from both established and newly emerging photographers, reveal there is no single path. Their advice is wildly divergent, generous, and delightful.
Seeing Science: How Photography Reveals the Universe
Science and photography have always been intertwined. The book Seeing Science offers an insightful and intriguing collection of essays and images about photography’s role in visualising science – from both micro and macro levels.
Scientists have used photography as a way to gather information, explore, and learn, but just as important, photography is also used to promote scientific advances and has long served as an interface between the sciences and the public.
Images can make visible what lies beyond human perception.
Artists have also engaged with some of the same scientific principles, using photography to image the world differently to present us with new ways of seeing.
Together they engage readers in a timely exploration of the extent to which our knowledge is formed and transformed through our interactions with photographic imagery.
Photography Is Magic by Charlotte Cotton
An essential publication that surveys the practices of over eighty artists—all of whom are engaged with experimental approaches to photographic ideas, set within the contemporary image environment—Photography Is Magic provides an engaging physical experience for younger photo students and anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of contemporary photography.
Photography Is Magic, is the latest publication from the curator and author Charlotte Cotton, exploring photography as a path to the imaginative in the minds of viewers.
Photography Is Magic privileges ideas and experimentation over perfect technique. The book, like the practices it highlights, is a thoughtful and timely response to technological leaps that don’t often afford measured consideration.
At a time when collective attention spans are short, spurring and encouraging dedicated attention may itself be Photography Is Magic’s most accomplished magic trick of all.
Diane Arbus: A box of ten photographs
The only instance in which Arbus curated her own work for the public, Diane Arbus: A box of ten photographs is a stunning large-format reproduction of the artist’s iconic portfolio. A common word used to describe Arbus’s work is “intimacy.”
This exceptional book replicates the nature of Diane Arbus’s original and now legendary object.
Box of Ten Photographs (both the work and the exhibit) is a study in duality. Each facet of the exhibit can be seen in two different ways, positive and negative, black and white.
There is both too much context and too little of it. A Box of Ten Photographs is highly polished and professional, with each work thrown into large-scale relief – but also hastily sloppy, with text handwritten and full of cross-outs and corrections.
Nikki S. Lee: Parts
Nikki S. Lee’s first exhibition of the Parts (2002-2004) series in the United States in nearly a decade.
However, for Parts, Lee concerns herself with how individual women relate to men, avoiding archetypal female characters as explored by Cindy Sherman in her Untitled Film Stills. The works focus on the female figure, while her male companion is invariably cut out of the composition.
Indeed, Lee purposely crops out the woman’s counterpart: that the man is excised from the photograph is made clear by the band of white photographic paper that borders only three of the images’ four sides.
What remains, what the artist guides the viewer to see, is the woman and her expression, her clothing and how she carries herself, and what her body language communicates about her mood. Undoubtedly, Lee invites viewers to divine—using dress, context, and location—the protagonists’ intersectional senses of self.
Cindy Sherman: Hardcover Catalogue
Featuring 230 key works from Cindy Sherman’s most celebrated photo series-including Untitled Film Stills, Centerfolds, Cover Girls, Fashion, and Society Portraits-this is the first book to address her work through the lens of portraiture and style in the era of social media and selfies.
Undoubtedly, Cindy Sherman is among the most influential artists of her generation. Using herself as a model in a range of costumes in invented situations, she plays with images created and popularised by mass media, popular culture, and fine art. As well as television, advertising, magazines, fashion and as Old Master paintings–they are all fair game.
Whether using makeup, costumes, props, or prosthetics to manipulate her own appearance, or devising elaborate narrative tableaux, the entire body of forty years’ work constitutes a distinctive response to contemporary culture.
Dawoud Bey on Photographing People and Communities
In the latest from Dawoud Bey, he offers insights into portrait photography. Through images and words, he shares his own creative process and discusses a wide range of issues—from how he approaches strangers and establishes relationships, to how he sensitively represents communities.
Queens native Bey showcases striking portraits in the publication Photographing People and Communities alongside text where he explains his creative practice, offers insight into making photographs and explains how he collaborates with his subjects in order to produce more meaningful sittings.
‘Pictures of people in front of a camera – that describes everything that I’ve done for forty years, every single picture,’ writes Bey in one chapter of the survey.
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Christmas countdown yas! Some really great ideas here, I know a few photographers so this will help me be really organised for Christmas this year!
Fantastic ideas thank you, I’ve saved for my mum who is an avid photographer:)
Sonya Mantere says
Hey thats great 🙂 Theres so many more good ones, it’s difficult to choose. Receiving a photo book as a gift is always a small treasure for me !
Kaybee Lives says
These are such creative ideas! Way more interesting than just another camera bag or tripod suggestion! Several are going on my personal christmas list! Thanks for sharing!
Sonya Mantere says
Love to hear that! I feel anyone can buy a tripod or such, but choosing a truly visually intriguing photo book might be difficult 🙂