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Saturday, 27 December 2008


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I would have added to the list, The Photograph: Composition & Color Design [ILLUSTRATED] (Hardcover)
by Harald Mante (Author)

Hi John,
First I've ever heard of it....

Mike J.

Michael, Thanks very much for including my book, Minimalist Lighting. I am now experiencing the "MJ-TheOnlinePhotographer" effect! The book dropped from the low thousands into the hundreds on Amazon shortly after you published the blog. Isn't the web amazing?

Thank you for the mention. I look forward to another great year of MJ wisdom.

Kirk Tuck

I have actually ordered and read almost half of the books in the list. I vote for "The Printed Picture" - a great encyclopedic work that is exceptionally deep and well illustrated. It is a real pleasure to read it and study for years. Thanks, Mike for recommending this one! (By the way, Amazon Canada sells it for about 2/3 of the local stores price)

Well the only one I read was the creative digital darkroom which I got for christmas, but it's been fantastic so far. Immensely informative and technical, without losing sight of the fact that we're really just trying to make a picture look good and not getting lost in the technicalities.

I would add Kertesz, "On Reading" which was reprinted this year. A lovely book.

"The Photograph: Composition & Color Design"
Amazon UK says only 4 left but it certainly looks like a useful purchase for many of us.
A pity I've already spent the book token that Mother in Law gave me for Christmas... :-)

Cheers, Robin

Well, "The Americans" is great , as is "Helen Levitt". I bought both of those earlier this year and I hope you got credit for them through Amazon. For Xmas, my wife bought for me "Saul Leiter" (not on this list) and the Shaughnessy book, "The Call of Trains". My vote would have to go with "The Call of Trains". I realize that the subject of this book is probably too specialized for most, but the photographs are incredible, and God I love trains, and particularly the time frame of those pictures. (I'm taken with the Leiter book, too.)

A most interesting list!

I'm currently reading "The Creative Digital Darkroom", a competent book.

"The Life of a Photograph" seems to be so good - according to Amazon et al. reviews - that I'm getting it also.


Taschen published "Camera Work: The Complete Photographs" in 2008. On the back cover is a snippet of a review from "mono" in the UK; the snippet reads "This has to be the 'must buy' book of the decade - no photographic library will be complete without it." Normally I'm allergic to this sort of blurb puffery, but in the particular case in question I think it's simply accurate. A fantastic book, and one that should definitely be on your list!

I find it interesting that with all the talk about digital cameras and digital darkroom techniques, the selected monographs all represent film-based photography (as far as I know - not sure about Strauss).

Don't get me wrong, I think the TOP book choices are fine (I own a few of them), and I'm not trying to start a photo.net-style film/digital war here, I'm just saying... If these DSLRs are so great, where is the great work?

Thanks for including the wonderful Conversations with the Mob--I am its publisher and we are all thrilled to be included on this list. It is a knockout suite of photographs of the Western Desert Martu people, Indigenous Australian people living in extreme conditions with grace and the requisite falls from grace that communities everywhere do. A great, and very honest, introduction to Australia in the 21st century.
warmest wishes
Terri-ann White. Perth, Australia.

Good recommendation from JAY re: Kertesz' On Reading. It's a dear,
involving book. Sam Abell's The Life of a Photograph is my favorite and I hear there will be another new book late this year or early next....stay tuned! Oh....and Sam is developing a wonderful website.
Lots to look forward to in 2009 for Abell admirers. I would just add
that the NEW Steidl publication SAUL LEITER is a great book.

I read an article a while back in the Digital Journalist by Sam Abell called Seeking the Picture*. Some of his better pictures were accompanied by the failed shots he took while angling and working around the scene. I really liked Abell's explanations of how he worked towards the shot; they helpd me understand the process of how at least one talented photographer works.

So when I bought The Life of a Photograph, I was hoping for something along this line, but even more in depth. And of course I was disappointed when it wasn't quite what I was looking for. Which is a shame because my expectations soiled an otherwise great book.

Does anyone know if there are there any good books or articles that showcase photographers' contact sheets? I know there's a set of DVDs called Contacts, but that's not quite the same as viewing a book.

Also, I'd like to add that I thought the Helen Levitt book was outstanding.


How about two awards - one for books on technique, and one for books which are collections of photographs? I know, that's more work, but it's just an idea. I enjoy your thoughts on books as much as I do your thoughts on equipment.

Don't forget great Photo Books from Asis.
There are many great 2008 photo books from



- China Magnum Photographer. photo the Tibet for seven years.

2. Yang Yan Kang-Buddhism in Tibet

- photo Tibet over four years

3. Li Qiang - Homeland Xanbei

- photo Xanbei China over 20 years, a photographer / teacher in Xian Art School.


1. Deng Nan Guang - Deng Nan Guang

- Deng Nan Guang (1907-1971) Photography Retrospective.

Deng Nanguang was born in 1907 and died in 1971. This year marks the one-hundred year anniversary of his birth, and the museum is mounting the Deng Nanguang Photography Retrospective as well as producing an accompanying art catalog to celebrate this pioneer of Taiwanese photography. Deng Nanguang received affirmation for his work early in his career. From the 1940s, he along with Chang Tsai and Li Ming-tiao were known as “The Three Musketeers” and were considered the top photographers in Taiwan. But more importantly, Deng left an indelible mark on the development of this art form. He increased appreciation for photography by programming The Open Photography Exhibition, and founding The Photographic Society of Taipei, The Taipei Photographic Salon and The Taiwan Provincial Photographic Society. He devoted himself to publishing photography, promoting new technology and styles, and popularizing photography in general in the 1950s and 60s in Taiwan. Although Deng Nanguang was an important catalyst in the evolution of photography, he was hindered by the limited opportunities to show work in the under-developed exhibition system of his time. It was not until the early 1980s that an enormous number of Deng’s unseen works were revealed and the contours of his artistic career were clearly drawn. As we continue to study Deng’s works, the value of his aesthetic contributions to Taiwanese photography have become even more apparent, and his position in Taiwan photography history has become even more stable

5. Shen Chao Liang -Yulan

Yulan - a local flower history in Taiwan.
The book is printed by 600 dutones, B&W.



1. Kayo Ume - Grandfather
じいちゃんさま (ペーパーバック)
ISBN: 4898152392

Her first photobook sell over 110,000 books
in Japan, 2nd photobooks sell over 50,000 books. This is new book - Grandfather in 2008.

2. Eiko Hosoe
ISBN: 4896250885

3. Takashi Homma: Tokyo
ISBN: 1597110590

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