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Books and Photography


to reach endless victory, ƒ/20, 35mm

To commit in photography, this has nothing to do about techniques or gears. It's mainly about the photographic culture. But how to learn about photographic culture? Some might say go to a museum. There are some museums dedicated to photography but often exhibitions are temporary and rotating. They show some works but rarely attach the creative process to build a photographic project.

The photographic culture is sometime required to understand the photographic project and visitors can be lost. Luckily, there are very often projects who touch emotion and make it easier to understand a photographic art work.

If you are a photographer or trying to be one, grasping its culture is essential. Over the years, I discovered that photographic books play partially the role of a museum curator. But what kind of books to look at? what are the ones worthy to read? What is the publisher role?

My photographic book collection has been reordered and this gave me the opportunity to see what I consider bringing learning in the culture of photography. First of all, the publisher is not anecdotal. There are many great photographers who had their works minimized in an inappropriate book (e.g. size of the photos, breaking of photos on two pages, condensing works in a single page, using bad typography or even worst, forgetting to ask the photographer to talk/comment about his/her work)

On the difficulty of publishing and especially how to balance text and photos, the work of Wright Morris is key. The difficulty to see photography as an art by itself. The recent publishing of Wright Morris – L’essence du visible by Éditions Xavier Barral is such a great introduction to this duality. The books mentioned in this post are available and not exhausted books.


Books are symbiosis with photography, ƒ/2.8, 28mm

Another kind of books, useful for dig into photography culture, are the interview books with photographers. These give insight and understanding of the artistic process and how they work.

Éditions Xavier Barral did an incredible book La Voix Du Voir which includes one of the best interview. Another great piece of work is Aperture conversations : 1985 to the present collecting a significant overview of photographers perspective. Books give the unique opportunity to grasp the culture in photography.

I have some favorite publishers such as steidl (the printing quality is outstanding), Editions Xavier Barral, Libraryman, Editions Yellow Now, Filigranes Éditions, textuel. If you are curious, dig into their catalogues, select some books and enjoy!