In honour of World Book Day 2017, here's my personal pick of my favourite photography non-fiction and fiction books!
I was introduced to this groundbreaking collection of essays in university and was hooked from the first page. Photographs have the power to shock, idealise or seduce, they create a sense of nostalgia and act as a memorial, and they can be used as evidence against us or to identify us. In these six essays, Sontag examines the ways in which we use these omnipresent images to manufacture a sense of reality and authority in our lives. Great for those who love their theory!
Another book that has stuck with me since my university days is this seminal work that examining the themes of presence and absence, the relationship between photography and theatre, history and death, these 'reflections on photography' begin as an investigation into the nature of photographs. More of a meditation than an essay.
This novel is a moving portrayal of the lives of women, imagining the thoughts and circumstances that produced eight famous female photographers of the twentieth century. I love the boldness of this book and how the past intertwines with the present.
On her Uncle Jacob's death, Johanna discovers a mysterious box of photographs amongst his belongings. Inspired to investigate Jacob's early life in London, where he trained as a photographer, she uncovers a macabre history laced with scandal. A great blend of fiction and historical mystery.
Patricia Bosworth examines the life behind the eerie, mesmerizing photographs that defined Arbus as well as examining her life outside of photography, including her childhood, marriage to Allan Arbus and their work together as fashion photographers during the fifties; the emotional upheaval surrounding the end of that marriage; and the radically dark, liberating, and ultimately tragic turn Diane's art took during the sixties. An engrossing read about one of the best female photographers of all time.