Posted by Mark Hedengren on

I like photography books. I like them a lot. I don’t think this makes me unique in the world of people in photography. In many ways I feel that the photography book is the best from of photography. the purist. When a photograph or a series of photographs is hung on the museum wall it is trying to be what painting is. But it’s not painting. When a photograph runs in a magazine it’s there more or less to illustrate a story or a word blurb. More then that in both of those cases the photographer is playing second fiddle to either a curator who probably comes form a painting/sculpture/happening art background and in the case of the magazine second to an editor who will almost always be a word person.
So that leads me to the photography book. In the photography book the photographer is king. He/she has the most control. I know many photographers who live for their next book. Magazines may crop photographs run text through them and museums may one exhibit a few images. But in a photography book a photographer can ad or take away. have the photographs run how they like. They have complete control.
Me personally without a doubt I consider my two photography books to be the most important things I’ve done as a photographer. They are something that will last.

I love looking at them. Sometimes I think well I could either watch TV or look at some photography books. Looking at photography books always wins. I have my own sizable collection or I’ll drive to the local university and look though there collection.

below are listed some of my favorite photography books and why

Fast Forward by Lauren Greenfield

I wonderful inside portrait of probably the most famous city in the world. This type of book could only be made by someone who was looking at there hometown through the lens of an outsider. I quality that can only happen when a person has traveled and then arrives back home and see’s what was once normal with new eyes.

Runway by Larry Fink

A look behind fashions front door. There are so many ads etc about fashion it’s nice to see the man/women behind the curtain.

I The Suffering of the Light by Alex Webb

Every photograph in this book is excellent. every page is worth a long look. I’m a big fan. South America is an amazingly visual place to photograph and Alex Webb shows it as good as anyone can.

Small World by Martin Parr

Martin Parr is one of the few people that can take a photograph that makes a person laugh out loud. Small World is one of those books.

American Odyssey by Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark is probably one of the most dynamic and divers photographers that has ever lived. to see her photographs in this book is a treat of seen a master at work.

Southwest by Paul Strand

I’m a big Paul Strand fan and I grew up in the Southwest. It’s nice to see such a masterful depiction of my home.

In the Realm of Nature by Eliot Porter
Eliot Porters work is so head of it’s time when you look at the date assign to the photograph it seems as if it’s 30 years off. Eliot Porter is one of a handful of landscape photographers who says something beyond the clichés of natural beauty and environmentalism.

Gypsies By Joesef Koudelka
I love this book because in many ways it’s what I tried to do with my book The Mormons. I tried to make a group that people want to misunderstand so badly portrayed as normal people.

Migrations by Sebastaio Selgado

Migrations and Selgoado’s other books are really unpairaleled in the photographic world in both in the scope of the project and the qualityzy of the photograp

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