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Photo Contest Insider Blog

The Most Beautiful Photography Books You’ll Love

December 1, 2016

Photography books aren’t just impressive to have lying around on a coffee table – they also serve a very important function for the visually creative. Photographers are able to lovingly flip through their pages, gaining inspiration and motivation for their work. Some photography books even contain useful and educational information relating to the craft, allowing photographers to further develop their skills and take their work to even greater heights.

Today we’ll be exploring some of the most beautiful photography books you’ll love. Whether you adore enchanting fashion photography, black and white portraits, or exotic travel images (just to name a few) – trust me, this list has got you covered!

Steve McCurry

The Iconic Photographs by Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry is famous for his awe-inspiring photographs depicting faraway places and people. His book, Iconic Photographs features over 150 breath-taking images collected over his entire career so far. From “soulful portraits, vivacious street scenes, and beautiful landscapes. . .[this is] more than a collection of images, the book acts as a portal into the lives of the people he met and the distant lands they inhabit,” explains Resource Magazine.

Frans Lanting

Okavango by Frans Lanting

If you’re a lover of wildlife photography (particularly with a focus on Africa), then this beautiful photography book titled Okavango is for you. Photographer Frans Lanting was sent to Okavango, one of the greatest wetlands on earth, by Narional Geographic. This incredible publication is a vibrant tribute to the Old Africa and Lanting’s images from the region will leave you feeling enthralled.

The Decisive Moment

The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Known as the Godfather of Photography, it just wouldn’t be a round-up of beautiful and influential photography books without this talent among the list. His candid imagery will inspire and influence generations of photographers to come, just as it has been doing for decades now already. If you’re looking for a beautiful photo book that you will not only learn from, but also treasure for years to come, then The Decisive Moment is certainly the book for you.

Tyler Shields

Provocateur by Tyler Shields

If the glittery and ethereal image on the front cover of Provocateur doesn’t win you over, then I don’t know what will! While it’s easy to judge this book by its front cover, the good news is that the pages inside also live up to this hype. Tyler Shields is the LA-based photographer most-known for his intriguing photographs of “exploding Rolls Royces, alligators clamping their jaws on Birkin bags, or starlets flying through the air in impossibly beautiful arcs”. If you’re anything like me, you will also fall in love with the pages containing whimsical imagery, such as decadent Marie Antoinette-inspired shoots and modern-day nymphs frolicking among enchanted forests.

Brooke Shaden

Inspiration in Photography by Brooke Shaden

Who else is a fan of the magical and surreal photography of Brooke Shaden? The incredibly inspiring talent has also published a beautiful book about photography titled Inspiration in Photography: Training your mind to make great art a habit. Not only is it a visual treat for the eyes, as each page features stunning shots from Shaden’s portfolio, but it’s also an educational manual to assist those who are interested in taking their own photography to new and enchanting levels.

Its bio explains: “Brooke Shaden―one of the most recognized names in modern art photography―reveals techniques and exercises that you can undertake in order to be inspired by your environment, everyday, everywhere. In addition to the exercises, you’ll learn how to compose, plan and shoot colorful, atmospheric, fairy-tale artistic photography, so you can adapt Shaden’s techniques and apply them to your own photographic style.”

Tim Walker Pictures

Pictures by Tim Walker

It’d be hard to find a photographer who hasn’t been inspired by legendary fashion photographer Tim Walker at some stage in his or her career. This popular book titled Pictures is an alternative edition to the best-selling 2008 version which is now out of print. It offers an in-depth look into Walker’s artistic process, from his contact sheets to Polaroids, source materials, and sketches. Among its pages, you’ll also find some of his most iconic and breathtakingly beautiful photographs.

Vogue Like a Painting

Vogue: Like a Painting by Lucy Davies

Vogue: Like a Painting celebrates “the intersection between the worlds of fashion photography and European art historical tradition” through featuring 67 carefully-selected photographs from Vogue’s archives which take their inspiration from classical painting. Just a few of the famous photographers you’ll spot amongst this book’s stunning pages are Irving Penn, Erwin Blumenfeld, Horst P. Horst, Annie Leibovitz, Tim Walker, Paolo Roversi, Steven Klein, David Sims, Erwin Olaf, Mario Testino, Michael Thompson and Peter Lindbegh.

Have any of these books peaked your curiosity? I hope this list hasn’t just introduced you to some beautiful photography books that you never knew existed before, but I hope it has also motivated you to further explore the work of others in this field who inspire you.

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