maandag 29 september 2008
The 10 or 25 most important and influential photography books in the last fifty or more years?
Emmet Gowin, Nancy, Danville, Virginia, 1969, from the 1976 classic Emmet Gowin: Photographs. Sally Mann has this picture framed and hanging in her kitchen.
The other day, in a post about The Americans, a reader named Paul asked: "Mike, any chance perhaps of giving us your opinion on the 10 or 25 most important and influential photography books in the last fifty or more years? Those books any kid new to photography could use to educate his eye and not with the idea of making a monetary investment."
I did answer his question in the comments to the post. However, as I've mulled it over since then (I love books, I love lists, and I have an essentially schoolteacherish cast of mind, so you can understand how Paul's request would appeal to me), I've come around to realizing just how impossible compiling such a list would be.
I certainly see the appeal of a "teaching set" of books that could serve as a sort of basic encylopædia of the medium's accomplishments. But as I proceed to imagine it in its particulars, the obstacles seem more and more multi-dimensional and profound. The two limitations I mentioned in my answer in the comments were 1) limitations of availability and 2) the limitations of my (or any list-compiler's) taste and critical judgment. In truth the problems extend much further than that. Read more ...
Our Entire Series of Photo Book Posts:
Great Photo Books You Can Buy New—Part I: Reissues by Mike Johnston
Mike's Great Empirical Milwaukee Bookstore Walkabout by Mike Johnston
We All Love Photography Now, It's Official! by Martin Parr (Great Photo Books You Can Buy New, Part II)
Great Photo Books You Can Buy New—Part III: New Books by Mike Johnston
Geoff Wittig's List (Great Photo Books You Can Buy New Part V)
Edward S. Curtis, Mosa, Mojave, 1903