Favourite books

My apologies that quite a few are now out of print – I didn’t realise until I started looking them up on Amazon just how lucky I am to own copies of some of these books.

  • East 100th Street by Bruce Davidson (St Ann’s Press, out of print)
  • Motherland by Simon Roberts (Chris Boot, out of print)
    This book marks Simon Roberts’ transition from editorial and commercial photographer to an out-and-out fine artist. He and his wife spent many months travelling across Russia, capturing its people and landscape in the quiet, intense style that has become his signature. Utterly fascinating, with more to discover every time I take the book from my shelf.
  • Bill Jay’s Album (Nazraeli Press, $50)
  • Faces of the North by Ragnar Axelsson (Edda UK Ltd, out of print)
  • Why People Photograph by Robert Adams (Aperture, £9.99)
    I’m a huge fan of Robert Adams’ writings. One of my favourite essays in this little gem of a book argues that it’s impossible for someone who doesn’t like dogs to be a good photographer, because it means there’s something fundamental missing in their soul.
  • Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids (Thames & Hudson, £16.95)
  • The Italians by Bruno Barbey (Harry N Abrams, out of print)
    Magnum photographer Bruno Barbey was only 21 when he travelled to Italy to take the photographs that, many years later, were collected and published in this book. I had assumed that only an assured, precocious individual could have made such assured, wonderfully energetic images, but – as I learned when I interviewed Barbey for Black & White Photography  – it turns out he was a very shy young man. These pictures certainly belie that fact.
  • Triptychs by Milton Rogovin (WW Norton, out of print)
    I can still remember the moment I first saw this book – I was assistant editor of Professional Photographer at the time and a review copy was sent to the magazine. I was captivated by the warmth and humanity of these portraits, which were taken in his hometown of Buffalo. I wrote Milton Rogovin a letter to tell him how moved I’d been, and he sent me a lovely reply, which I still have. Rogovin died in 2011 at the age of 101.
  • For Most Of It I Have No Words by Simon Norfolk (Dewi Lewis Publishing, £30)