Books for Portrait Photographers

I am not a fan of list writing. They are by nature subjective and exclusive, good books get left out and those chosen are either included based on personal bias or to keep publishers happy. Despite this I get asked to recommend books on a regular basis so I guess there must be a need for an objective, independent list. You may say that no list can be truly objective and you would be right, but I have done my best. However, these lists* (there will be more dealing with other areas of practice) are certainly independent, I have no skin in the game concerning advertising or reviews.

I hope you find this list interesting, useful and of course if possible please support independent book sellers and avoid online mega-stores when purchasing. A list of independent sellers is included at the end of the list:

August Sander: People of the 20th Century: A Cultural Work in Photographs by
by Cologne Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Gabriele Conrath-Scholl, Susanne Lange, August Sander: Aperture 2022.

Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946-2004 by Michael Holm, Poul Erik Tøjner, Helle Crenzien, Geoff Dyer, Judith Thurman, Christoph Ribbat, Jeffrey Fraenkel, Rune Gade, Robert Hennessey, Richard Avedon: 2007

Yousef Karsh – A Biography in Images by Malcolm Rogers: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2004.

Cyclops by Albert Watson: Leonardo 1994.

Nadav Kander: The Meeting by Nadav Kander: Steidl 2019.

Photographs by Snowdon: A Retrospective by Lord Snowdon: National Portrait Gallery 2000.

Mary Ellen Mark: On the Portrait and the Moment by Mary Ellen Mark: Aperture 2015.

Gordon Parks: The New Tide: Early Work 1940–1950 by Gordon Parks: Steidl 2018.

Bill Brandt: Portraits by Bill Brandt: University of Texas 1982.

Bailey’s Stardust by David Bailey: National Portrait Gallery 2014.

Anton Corbijn: 1-2-3-4 by Wim Van Sinderen: Prestel 2018.

Helmut Newton: Portraits by Helmut Newton, Klaus Honnef, Carol Squiers: Schirmer/Mosel 1994.

Irving Penn by John Szarkowski :Museum of Modern Art 1984.

Jane Bown: A Lifetime of Looking by Jane Bown: Guardian Faber 2015.

Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph by Diane Arbus: Aperture 40th Anniversary edition 2011.

Arnold Newman – One Hundred by Arnold Newman, Gregory Heisler: Radius Books 2018.

*Other books are available.

Check these guys out before spending your money:

Dr. Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, documentary filmmaker, BBC Radio contributor and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019). His film Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay was first screened in 2018 He is the presenter of the A Photographic Life and In Search of Bill Jay podcasts.

© Grant Scott 2022

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