Some of the favorite books of photographs in my collection  (starting unabashedly with 2 I put together to accompany exhibits of my own work).

Below the photography books you will find my Art Garfunkel-like reading journal, documenting the books I read each month.

  • The Nature of Cities, Adam Isler, Lulu, 2009
  • Camera Obscura, Adam Isler, Blurb, 2010
  • Early Color, Saul Leiter, Steidl, 2006 – this is a book I repeatedly turn to for inspiration
  • The Last Resort, Martin Parr, Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2009
  • The Americans, Robert Frank, Steidl edition, 2008
  • Eye, Mind, Spirit: The Enduring Legacy of Minor White, Nathan Lyons, ed., Howard Greenberg Gallery, 2008
  • Helen Levitt, Helen Levitt, powerHouse Books, 2008
  • Friedlander, Peter Galassi, Museum of Modern Art, 2005
  • Women, Annie Liebovitz -photographs, Susan Sontag – essay, Random House, 1999
  • Sergio Larrain, Agnès Sire, Aperture, 2013
  • The Suffering of Light, Alex Webb, Aperture, 2011
  • Modern Color, Fred Herzog, Hatje Cantz, 2017
  • A Kind of Rapture, Robert Bergman, Pantheon, 1998
  • East 100th Street, Bruce Davidson, Harvard University Press, 1970
  • Shtetl in the Sun, Andy Sweet, Letter16 Press, 2018
  • Only Human, Judy Dater, Marymount Institute Press, 2017
  • Kitchen Table Series, Carrie Mae Weems, Damiani and Matsumoto Editions, 2016

Books of photography criticism:

  • Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images, 4th ed., Terry Barrett, McGraw Hill, 2006
  • The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Aperture, 1999
  • Why People Photograph, Robert Adams, Aperture, 1994
  • Inside the Photograph: Writings on Twentieth-Century Photography, Peter C. Bunnell, Aperture, 2009
  • The Nature of Photographs: A Primer, Stephen Shore, Phaidon, 2008
  • The Photographer’s Eye, John Szarkowski, Museum of Modern Art, 2007

 And some books on making pictures that I have found helpful:

  • The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps Toward Becoming Great, Steve Simon, New Riders, 2012
  • Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision, David DuChemin, New Riders, 2009
  • The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes, Andy Karr and Michael Wood, Shambhala, 2011
  • The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos, Michael Freeman, Focal Press, 2007
  • The Photographer’s Mind: Creative thinking for better digital photos, Michael Freeman, Focal Press, 2011
  • The Photographer’s Vision: Understanding and Appreciating Great Photography, Michael Freeman, Focal Press, 2011
  • The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression, Bruce Barnbaum, Rocky Nook, 2010
  • On Street Photography and the Poetic Image, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, Aperture, 2014

Other Books

A new feature (starting July, 2020). Art Garfunkel-like, I’m recording all the books I read, including non-photography ones. I’ve looked back at my Nook, Kindle, Libby and actual book shelves to start with what I’ve read over the last year or two and I’m adding new books as I finish them. I exclude those I abandon without finishing.

March 2023

  • The Once and Future Spy, Robert Littell – Another great one from Littell. This one, something of a tour de farce, both showing the cleverness of the secret services and mocking their depravity. With some excellent historical and literary echoes as well.
  • The Rings of Saturn, W. G Sebald – a most unusual novel, with no apparent plot or driving mystery, in which a protagonist who may or may not be the author, walks England’s Eastern coast, along the way regaling with all manner of tenuously linked bits of history from Thomas Browne’s Urn Burial to the Dowager Empress of China, supported by fuzzy old photographs apparently documenting the fantastic tales.
  • Silverview, John le Carré – his last and quite good. The usual clever and subtle English bonhomie, and this time, perhaps, a certain wistfulness for a Service that has lost its guiding raison d’être.
  • The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes – Another brilliant novella (?) from Barnes meditating on time, memory, and remorse with his usual deep insights into the human psyche casually delivered along the way.
  • The Finance Curse: How Global Finance is Making Us All Poorer, Nicholas Shaxson – a scathing indictment of the financialisation of the global economy. While he ends on a hopeful note for the opportunities to fix things, it paints a pretty grim picture of how the wealthy have taken over everything, massively increased inequality, and tightly proscribed the scope for remediation.
  • Warlight, Michael Ondaatje – A novel of postwar England in which a young man attempts to reconstruct his mysterious and interrupted boyhood and family history. Well written and literary (by the author of The English Patient), although not as satisfying for me as hoped.
  • The Ongoing Moment, Geoff Dyer – a remarkable book that meditates on the ways in which photographs and photographers commune with each other across time and common themes. It re-inspired me at a low-point in my MFA.
  • A Purple Place for Dying, John D MacDonald – another old Travis McGee tale. Good story but it’s harder and harder to stomach the sorts of attitudes to women that passed for enlightened in 1964.
  • The Debriefing, Robert Littell – a taut, short espionage thriller of the Soviet era, clever and well written and reminiscent in some ways of the best of early le Carré.
  • Visual Dissent, Peter Kennard – stunning e-book of Kennard’s history of political art that is truly inspiring. All these works take on major issues, mostly through photo-montage. I would love to see if I can connect with him somehow.

February 2023

  • Research in Photography: Behind the Image, Anna Fox and Natasha Caruana – a lot of resources for the research to be done and professional practices to be developed behind the creation of photography. Unfortunately, many of the web resources provided are already defunct.
  • Tear It Down, Nick Petrie – Another Peter Ash adventure, this time attempting a racially charged situation. Story very engaging but as far as the race part goes, and the violence, made me a little uncomfortable here and there.
  • Art Photography, David Bate – an interesting overview of the historical relations between art and photography with, for my taste, a little too much fealty to the hyper-intellectualism of the likes of Foucault and Victor Burgin. This school of thought likes to demonstrate that the very hotness of heat makes it cold, the whiteness of white renders it black.
  • Liberalism: A Counter-History, Domenico Losurdo – a remarkable, scholarly assessment of the history of classical liberalism and its entanglement with genocidal racism.

January 2023

  • Unto Us a Son is Given, Donna Leon
  • Speech Police, David Kaye
  • The Investigator, John Sandford
  • The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt
  • The Informant, Thomas Perry
  • The Law of the Land: The Evolution of our Legal System, Charles Rembar
  • Persuader, Lee Child

December 2022

  • Paleopoetics: The Evolution of the Preliterate Imagination, Christopher Collins
  • Surviving Autocracy, Masha Gessen
  • Tripwire, Lee Child
  • The Affair, Lee Child
  • Pronto, Elmore Leonard
  • Illuminance, Rinko Kawauchi
  • Cui Cui, Rinko Kawauchi
  • Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes [again]
  • Crudo, Olivia Laing

November 2022

  • The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin
  • Light it Up, Nick Petrie
  • Time, Eva Hoffman
  • The Aesthetics of Disappearance, Paul Virilio
  • Utatane, Rinko Kawauchi
  • A Peculiar Indifference: The Neglected Toll of Violence on Black America, Elliot Currie
  • Architecture of Time, Hiroshi Sugimoto
  • Empire of Signs, Roland Barthes
  • Driving on the Rim, Thomas McGuane
  • Girl Pictures, Justine Kurland
  • Critical Theory Today, Lois Tyson

October 2022

  • Die Trying, Lee Child
  • Dead Lions, Mick Herron
  • Echo Burning, Lee Child
  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, Jonathan Haidt
  • Running Blind, Lee Child
  • The Unfolding, A M Homes
  • Out of the Wreckage, George Monbiot
  • Anxious People, Fredrik Backman
  • A Deadly Shade of Gold, John D MacDonald

September 2022

  • The Camera: Essence and Apparatus, Victor Burgin
  • Understanding a Photograph, John Berger
  • Ways of Seeing, John Berger
  • The Postscript Murders, Elly Griffiths
  • The Sentry, Robert Crais
  • The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Edward Luce
  • Bad Boy Brawly Brown, Walter Mosley
  • Bad Actors, Mick Herron
  • The Empty Copper Sea, John D MacDonald

August 2022

  • Eternal Life, Dara Horn
  • Photography: A Critical Introduction (6 ed.), Liz Wells, editor
  • First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Slavoj Žižek
  • The General’s Daughter, Nelson DeMille
  • A Dangerous Man, Robert Crais
  • The Unbanking of America, Lisa Servon
  • Metzger’s Dog, Thomas Perry

July 2022

  • The Heavens, Sandra Newman
  • 24/7, Jonathan Crary
  • Native Tongue, Carl Hiaasen
  • A Famished Heart, Nicola White
  • Ways of Seeing, John Berger
  • Case Histories, Kate Atkinson
  • Understanding a Photograph, John Berger
  • Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate, Adam Jentleson
  • The Godwulf Manuscript, Robert B Parker
  • It’s Time to Fight Dirty, David Faris

June 2022

  • Crashed, Timothy Hallinan
  • A Trick of the Light, Louise Penny
  • The Knowledge, Martha Grimes

May 2022

  • Harlem Shuffle, Colson Whitehead
  • The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America, Ellis Cose
  • Slough House, Mick Herron
  • The Walkaway, Scott Phillips
  • The Last Voice You Hear, Mick Herron
  • Nobody Walks, Mick Herron
  • The Catch, Mick Herron
  • Joe Country, Mick Herron
  • Dead Street, Mickey Spillane

April 2022

  • French Exit, Patrick deWitt
  • The Sentence Is Death, Anthony Horowitz
  • Bright Orange for the Shroud, John D MacDonald
  • Box 88, Charles Cumming
  • The Anomaly, Hervé Le Tellier
  • Suburban Dicks, Fabian Nicieza
  • The Moon in the Gutter, David Goodis
  • The Intuitionist, Colson Whitehead
  • Deadeye Dick, Kurt Vonnegut

March 2022

  • The Drifter, Nick Petrie
  • Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, Jaron Lanier
  • Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism, Robert Kuttner
  • Lullaby Town, Robert Crais
  • The Dark Hours, Michael Connelly
  • The Runaway, Nick Petrie
  • 1979, Val McDermid

February 2022

  • Nothing to See Here, Kevin Wilson
  • Burning Bright, Nick Petrie
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
  • The First Rule, Robert Crais
  • Clock Without Hands, Carson McCullers
  • Alone Street, Gregory Crewdson

January 2022

  • On Fascism: 12 Lessons from American History, Matthew C MacWilliams
  • Midnight Mile, Dennis Lehane
  • The Loo Sanction, Trevanian
  • Guilty Minds, Joseph Finder
  • The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies and the Fate of Liberty, Daron Acemoglu & James A Robinson
  • Gutshot Straight, Lou Berney
  • Hit and Run, Lawrence Block
  • The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, David Talbot

December 2021

  • Maigret Hesitates, Georges Simenon
  • St Patrick’s Day Murder, Lee Harris
  • Leonard Cohen: The Mystical Roots of Genius, Harry Freedman
  • The Devil You Know, Charles M Blow
  • The Nomination, William G Tapply
  • Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari
  • Hour of the Assassin, Matthew Quirk
  • Talking to my Daughter About the Economy or, How Capitalism Works – and How it Fails, Yanis Varoufakis
  • Eighth Dwarf, Ross Thomas
  • Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, Ruth Ben-Ghiat
  • A Bitter Feast, Deborah Crombie

November 2021

  • White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi
  • Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, Francis Fukuyama
  • The Detective and the Chinese High-Fin, Michael Craven
  • Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court, Amy Bach
  • Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
  • Tropic of Night, Michael Gruber

October 2021

  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
  • Summer, Ali Smith
  • The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield
  • Spring, Ali Smith
  • Lush Life, Dallas Murphy
  • Winter, Ali Smith
  • Autumn, Ali Smith
  • Death Benefits, Thomas Perry
  • Dead Irish, John Lescroart
  • The Stranger Diaries, Elly Griffiths

September 2021

  • Oranges and Lemons, Christopher Fowler
  • Daylight, David Baldacci
  • The Lost Shtetl, Max Gross
  • The Ice Swimmer, Kjell Ola Dahl
  • To Have or to Be?, Erich Fromm
  • How You Say It, Katherine D Kinzler
  • Black Buck, Mateo Askaripour

August 2021

  • Final Account, Peter Robinson
  • The Quick Red Fox, John D MacDonald
  • Teeth of the Dog, Jill Ciment
  • Deacon King Kong, James McBride
  • Stalking the Angel, Robert Crais
  • Hooked, Michael Moss
  • Bird in a Cage, Frédéric Dard
  • What’s Your Pronoun? Beyond He & She, Dennis Baron
  • The Monkey’s Raincoat, Robert Crais
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ernest J Gaines
  • A Shadow Intelligence, Oliver Harris

July, 2021

  • The President’s Dossier, James A. Scott
  • Electric Barracuda, Tim Dorsey
  • The Sum of Us, Heather McGhee
  • The Conjure-Man Dies, Rudolph Fisher
  • Even Dogs in the Wild, Ian Rankin
  • How to Live Safely In a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu
  • The Pardon, James Grippando
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
  • Through a Glass, Darkly, Donna Leon
  • Night of Fire, Colin Thubron
  • Winterkill, Ragnar Jonasson
  • New England Bound, Wendy Warren

June, 2021

  • The Life of the Mind, Christine Smallwood
  • Speedboat, Renata Adler
  • The Wolf, Lorenzo Carcaterra
  • But What if We’re Wrong, Chuck Klosterman
  • Lost and Wanted, Nell Freudenberger
  • A Thousand Pardons, Jonathan Dee

May, 2021

  • Wherever You Go, Joan Leegant
  • Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies, Dick Gregory
  • Moonflower Murders, Anthony Horowitz
  • Fatal Invention, Dorothy Roberts
  • Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen
  • Butcher’s Moon, Richard Stark
  • Ask the Parrot, Richard Stark
  • The Burglar in Short Order, Lawrence Block
  • Machines Like Me, Ian McEwan
  • The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Number9Dream, David Mitchell

April, 2021

  • Near Enemy, Adam Sternbergh
  • Too Many Cooks, Rex Stout
  • D, Michael Faber
  • Parishioner, Walter Mosley
  • Begin Again, Eddie S Glaude Jr
  • The Tenth Commandment, Lawrence Sanders
  • Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, Michael Walzer

March, 2021

  • Out of Sight, Elmore Leonard
  • My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
  • The Mother of All Questions, Rebecca Solnit
  • Crying Out Loud, Cath Staincliffe
  • Lake Success, Gary Shteyngart
  • House of Correction, Nicci French
  • Quichotte, Salman Rushdie

February, 2021

  • Shut Your Eyes Tight, John Verdon
  • Picnic Comma Lightning, Laurence Scott
  • Snow, John Banville
  • The Holdout, Graham Moore
  • The Battle for Human Nature, Barry Schwartz

January, 2021

  • Photo Work: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice, Sasha Wolf, editor
  • The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Nine Shiny Objects, Brian Castleberry
  • Little Gods, Meng Jin

December, 2020

  • Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin
  • IQ, Joe Ide
  • Six Days of the Condor, James Grady
  • The Order, Daniel Silva
  • Age of Anger: A History of the Present, Pankaj Mishra
  • The Silver Swan, Elena Delbanco
  • Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, Anand Giridharadas
  • Serafim and Claire, Mark Lavorato
  • The Kill Artist, Daniel Silva
  • Improvement, Joan Silber
  • The Dakota Winters, Tom Barbash
  • The Memory Police, Yoko Ogawa
  • Naked Came the Florida Man, Tim Dorsey

November, 2020

  • The Destruction of Lower Manhattan, Danny Lyon
  • The Overstory, Richard Powers
  • November Road, Lou Berney
  • Galápagos, Kurt Vonnegut
  • Too Many Women, Rex Stout
  • American Spy, Lauren Wilkinson
  • Night Boat to Tangier, Kevin Barry
  • Day of the Dead, Nicci French
  • Everywhere You Don’t Belong, Gabriel Bump
  • Friday on My Mind, Nicci French
  • The Bookshop, Penelope Fitzgerald
  • Escape Clause, John Sandford
  • Holy Ghost, John Sandford

October, 2020

  • Burglars Can’t Be Choosers, Lawrence Block
  • The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, Lawrence Block
  • How Fascism Works, Jason Stanley
  • And Sometimes I Wonder About You, Walter Mosley
  • The Weight of Ink, Rachel Kadish
  • The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, Tim Wu
  • Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed
  • The Consciousness Instinct, Michael S. Gazzaniga

September, 2020

  • Forest Dark, Nicole Krauss
  • Nightmare in Pink, John D MacDonald
  • Dunbar, Edward St. Aubyn
  • Rose Gold, Walter Mosley
  • In Praise of Doubt: How to Have Convictions Without Becoming a Fanatic, Peter Berger & Anton Zijderveld
  • Let Me Be Frank With You, Richard Ford
  • The High Window, Raymond Chandler
  • Fearless Jones, Walter Mosley
  • Past Tense, Lee Child
  • The Antagonist, Lynn Coady
  • White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg 
  • Baroni, Alfred Harris
  • Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday
  • A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J. Gaines
  • The Keeper of Lost Causes, Jussi Adler-Olsen

August, 2020

  • Gordon Parks: The Atmosphere of Crime, 1957, Sarah MeisterNicole FleetwoodBryan StevensonGordon Parks
  • Persons Unknown, Susie Steiner
  • Reader, Come Home, Maryanne Wolf
  • The Pale Criminal, Philip Kerr
  • A German Requiem, Philip Kerr
  • World Without Mind, Franklin Foer
  • Paradise, Toni Morrison
  • Jazz, Toni Morrison


non-FictionMysteriesOther Fiction
Everybody LiesJourney into FearMr. Vertigo
The Velvet Rope EconomyThe Light of DayThe Book of Evidence
Empire of ThingsA Coffin for DemetriosOpen City
The Origins of TotalitarianismThe Case of the 7 WhistlersVoltaire’s Calligrapher
Picture ThisMurder in the MaraisThe Names
Between the World and MeBurglars Can’t be ChoosersJeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi
From Bacteria to Bach and BackThe Burglar in the LibraryJuneteenth
The Origins of Political OrderThe Burglar on the ProwlDinner at the Center of the Earth
SapiensThe White TrilogyFirst Person
Capital in the 21st CenturyRed HookThe Comedians
The Blank SlateThe Black EchoThe Ministry of Fear
Enlightenment NowTrunk MusicThe Quiet American
The Stuff of ThoughtThe Last Good KissA Horse Walks into a Bar
Food RulesShadows Still RemainThe Library at Mount Char
The Omnivore’s DilemmaBuried on Avenue BProdigal Spy
The Evolution of EverythingManhattan is my BeatOur Kind of Traitor
Prime Green: Remembering the 60sThe Remorseful DayCall for the Dead
A People’s History of the USBlood RainSmiley’s People
The Age of Surveillance CapitalismMurder in the Queens ArmesIs this Tomorrow
The CompanyThe Double GameMr Paradise
The Signal and the NoiseBroken HarborThe Photograph
The Black SwanPayment in BloodThe Hike
DataclysmFor the Sake of ElenaTough Guys Don’t Dance
Breaking the SpellCareless in RedTangerine
Thinking Fast and SlowThe Woman from PragueSo You don’t get Lost in the Neighborhood
LiberalismExit LinesWoman with a Blue Pencil
The Moral LandscapeMagpie MurdersAt Swim Two Birds
Consciousness ExplainedA Firing OffenseAppointment in Samarra
A Short History of Nearly EverythingA Mind to MurderThe Expats
The Language InstinctA Certain JusticeThe Tragedy of Arthur
The Red QueenSacred and ProfaneBleeding Edge
The End of FaithMoonlight MileThe Mathematician’s Shiva
Why We BuyBy its CoverThe Speed of Light
$uperHubsIn Big TroubleSuper Sad True Love Story
Inside the Dream PalaceInnocent BloodOn the Lisbon Disaster
 First Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship: Elite Politics and the Decline of Great PowersThe Last DetectiveJailbird
 The ChillThe Golem and the Jinni
 Accident on the A35The Imperfectionists
 The Marx SistersThe Rise and Fall of Great Powers
 Silver MeadowShylock is My Name
 Corpus ChristmasThe Boy Who Saw
 The RuinThe Searcher
 Little GreenThe Circle
 NemesisCall Me Zebra
 So Say the FallenTishomingo Blues
 Killing OrdersThe Blind Assassin
 Critical MassThe Robber Bride
 DisappearedRadio Free Vermont
 Déjà DeadSolar Bones
 From Doon with DeathInherent Vice
 Wolf to the SlaughterAbsurdistan
 The Best Man to DieThe Story of Lucy Gault
 An Unkindness of RavensA Gentleman in Moscow
 The Veiled OneThe Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe
 McNally’s Secret 
 Buried Prey 
 Stolen Prey 
 Extreme Prey 
 The Late Monsieur Gallet 
 Heat Lightning 
 Whose Body? 
 The Judge’s House 
 Last Seen Alive 
 The Locked Room 
 Not Quite Dead Enough 
 Murder by the Book 
 If Death Ever Slept 
 And Four to Go 
 Homicide Trinity 
 Outsider in Amsterdam 
 Think of a Number 
 Shut Your Eyes Tight 
 Wolf Lake 
 King Solomon’s Carpet 
 Finnegan’s Week 
 The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper 
 The Laughing Policeman 
 Calamity at Harwood 
 Pale Gray for Guilt 
 The Hot Rock 
 Please Pass the Guilt 
 The Long Lavender Look 
 Eight Perfect Murders 
 Gumshoe on the Loose 
 Fletch’s Moxie 
 Many Rivers to Cross 

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