Things to Read - Photography & Art Books


With the exception of Hidden Pond, my blog this week has an art focus. So I figured I'd stick with the trend by posting some of my favorite art and photography books. I've tried to include a ton of hyperlinks, so even if you have no desire to buy the books, they should give you an idea of the artists' work (if you're interested). Let me know if you have a problem with any of the links. References to the works pictured above are at the bottom of the page.

A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart

The photos in A Year of Mornings are so so simple, yet so so beautiful and powerful. The book is a collaboration by two women, who live on opposite coasts, taking daily pictures of their morning. Often the photos are nothing but a shadow or a left-over breakfast plate, but they somehow manage to make even the mundane look completely magical.

Julie Blackmon: Domestic Vacations

Julie Blackmon does these photoshop composites of kids and parenting that are never too bitter or too sweet. And are often quite funny. If you're a mom who has ever been in a playgroup, her playgroup photo (second row) is just too true.


If you've ever lived in the suburbs (or considered living in the suburbs) you need this book. The photos are great, the captions are really funny. It's amusing and poignant. For example, one photo shows an older man and older woman in a workshop with a bunch of nude pictures (playboy-type shots) surrounding them, the caption reads "We've been collecting rocks since 1958. It's enjoyable to get out into the open and hunt for rocks, and it's really fun to cut open a rock and find a gem inside." Bill Owens knew what he was doing.

Massimo Vitali: Landscape and Figures

Apparently this book is very expensive now, which makes me sad because I bought it for nothing then ripped out my favorite photos and framed the pictures. I thought this made me frugal, now I realize it makes me an idiot. Oh well, the pictures are lovely. If you can't afford $385 on a book, then just click here to see Vitali's beautiful pictures of crowded places (especially beaches) sort of like Where's Waldo, but with no Waldo.

Alex Katz (Contemporary Artists)

I mentioned on Monday that I'm a little obsessed with Alex Katz right now. Can't stop looking at these pictures. I really can't stop. It's like each picture is its own short-story or choose-your-adventure book, there are certain clues but you're still not quite sure what is going on. Plus, it's sort of cool that he modeled for J Crew as an old man, but then again, I'm dorky like that.

Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals

Christopher Payne's photographs are simply stunning. I keep looking at them over and over asking "how did he do that?" For this book, he took images of empty mental institutions. He included abandoned objects along with building shots, but the best part of all is how he managed to capture light and shadows and hints of color everywhere. You would think that such a subject matter would be haunting or disturbing, but most of the images are just beautiful, not spooky at all.

Brassai, Paris (Taschen 25th Anniversary Special Editins)

This is pretty much a classic, so it isn't a surprising pick, but, nonetheless, I can't seem to stop looking at all the night photos, especially before I go to bed. Odd, I know. I couldn't find a great link for Brassai's photos (lots of biographical info clogging google), but here's the google images link, which probably has some false hits as well.
Top photo (from left to right) - Alex Katz (Contemporary Artists), A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart, Julie Blackmon: Domestic Vacations

Third photo from top (from left to right) - Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals, Suburbia, A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart, Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals

Fourth photo from top (from left to right) - Brassai, Paris (Taschen 25th Anniversary Special Editins), Massimo Vitali: Landscape and Figures, Julie Blackmon: Domestic Vacations, Massimo Vitali: Landscape and Figures

Bottom photo (from left to right) - Alex Katz (Contemporary Artists), Suburbia


  1. I enjoyed your post and love your blog title.

  2. All great books! Of course the first one I went for was the $385 one! Haha. I do love Alex Katz too. His work is so simple and direct.

    And hello from BYW land!

  3. Thanks for the recommendations. I love your blog header as well. Baby feet are sooo special. thanks for sharing....all look like great books.

  4. Great bunch of books! I think I have to check out "suburbia" and "landscapes and figures"....I may even pay that much, because I'm crazy when it comes to books like this. Thankfully, my husband is too. ;)
    Your blog is lovely. I just found you through BYW.

  5. very nice post. your photos turned out great.
    loved your choices of books.

  6. Thanks everyone! This is the most comments I've ever gotten right now, so I'm a little overwhelmed and excited, but I can't wait to check out all your blogs as well!

  7. Wow, great inspiration and many new books to learn about. You did really great with the styling!!

    Nice to visit your blog - it´s really beautiful.

    From a fellow BYW classmate :-)


  8. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)



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