In W: The First Forty Years (Abrams,$75), editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi presents a strikingly diverse collection of images highlighting W’s outstanding coverage of fashion, art, architecture, music, and design. The pictures are complemented by specially commissioned essays from some of the magazine’s frequent contributors, such as Lynn Hirschberg. As other publications have shrunk their offerings, both editorially and physically, W has maintained its out-sized coverage and format. While the book may not fit easily on a newsstand, it is tailormade for coffee tables. Here’s to forty more years!

W: The First Forty Years: The First Forty Years Cover Image
By Christopher Bagley (Editor), Stefano Tonchi (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781419704475
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Harry N. Abrams - November 1st, 2012

What do you see when you look at a photograph? In his fascinating study of the act of looking, the filmmaker and writer Errol Morris considers a half-dozen images and questions the prevailing view “that photographs provide a magic path to the truth.” Rather, Morris treats each picture as a “mystery,” and shows that a large part of what we get out of one depends on the assumptions—about subject, context, photographer’s intention—we bring to it, that in fact Believing is Seeing (Penguin Press, $40). Morris is an intrepid detective, even traveling to the Crimea to see the site of an 1855 war photo by James Fenton. He similarly investigates the identity of the hooded man in an Abu Ghraib image, talks to a photographer who covered the 2006 Israeli attacks on Lebanon, tracks down the descendents of a dead Civil War soldier identified only by the ambertype of three children he had in his pocket. The book becomes a collection of evidence, including maps, diagrams, doctored images, along with letters and interviews. Ultimately, Morris’s questions overshadow any answers. Oh, and the truth? In photos that’s “an elusive notion. There may not be any such thing.”

Believing Is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780143124252
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - May 27th, 2014

One of the pictures in The New York Times Magazine Photographs (Aperture, $75) is a shot by Reza that shows two women in a refugee camp studying pictures on makeshift stands as they try to identify the children they are looking for. This is only one example of the powerful, poignant images included in this vast collection. Compiled by Kathy Ryan, the Magazine’s photography director, this album represents work by all the great photographers, including Friedlander, Close, Leibovitz, LaChappelle, Sidbe and many others. What makes this volume unique, however, are the commentaries adjoining the images, offering the photographers’ thoughts on their work. One of my favorite pictures is a portrait of Orson Welles, about which Michael O’Neill writes that Welles “loved my camera—I was using a gigantic Deardorff—and he decided that he had to direct me and tell me where to put the light.”  Photographs is an amazing collection.

The New York Times Magazine Photographs Cover Image
By Kathy Ryan (Editor), Gerald Marzorati (Preface by)
$75.00
ISBN: 9781597111461
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Aperture - September 30th, 2011

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