5 photography books you need to read

Bibliophiles rejoice – World Book Day 2016 is here! Don’t let it pass you by without picking up a new book to stimulate your love of photography. Here are 5 photography books you need to read in your lifetime.

The Story of Art – Austrian academic FH Gombrich set out to trace an easily trodden path through mankind’s many cultures and their respective arts forms, from cave paintings to Andy Warhol’s video pieces, and his magnum opus does just that. An art historian’s bible, The Story of Art also touches on the history of photography. Compared to the other art forms examined – painting, sculpture, architecture et cetera – photography plays a minor role. However, it is worth reading this book if only to understand the context in which photography found its feet in the 20th century.

LIFE: The Classic Collection – LIFE magazine was, of course, one of the world’s finest photography publications, capturing American life, love and loss as a weekly from 1883 to 1972 (and subsequently, in various forms, as a monthly and a supplement). Its staffers photographed some of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, including Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali, and this very fine collection features 25 prints ready to frame. A coffee table essential.

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer – Vivian Maier worked as a professional nanny in Chicago for most of her life. No one realised that she was also an incredibly talented photographer. She took photographs everywhere – on the streets of the Windy City, and on her travels around the world – and hid the negatives away. In 2007, however, they were purchased and published, and the world was given access to a remarkable trove of simply stunning black and white photographs. For those interested in learning about the art of candid photography, look no further.

American Music – Annie Leibovitz is arguably the 21st century’s greatest (certainly the most in demand) portrait photographer, and has shot everyone from David Beckham to Barack Obama during a career that goes from strength to strength. As Rolling Stone’s chief photographer for over a decade, Leibovitz trained her lens on American’s best-known singers and instrumentalists: BB King, Etta James, Bob Dylan. You name them, Leibovitz shot them. This book is a must buy for all those photographer’s serious about portraiture, and is chock full of inspiring shoots.

VisionMongers: Making a Life and a Living in Photography – Humanitarian and world assignment photographer (there aren’t too many of those around!), David duChemin has been there, shot that, sold the t-shirt. A dedicated educator and author, DuChemin’s VisionMongers is the self-help book that all aspiring professional photographers need to read. It covers all the bases, from esoteric issues about confidence to setting yourself up in business, and also features the experiences of nine other pros, including Zack Arias. This is the textbook, of sorts, that will spur you on to greater things.