View Full Version : What's on your bookshelf?

11-10-2004, 19:12
Totally self serving(I need some good ideas) poll: what's on your bookshelf? I thought this would be easy--HA was I wrong. My distinctions are abitrarily based on whats on my book shelf. Its a two part poll. The chioces I listed and in comments your favorite book.

11-10-2004, 20:22
I voted for some of everything. But actually I don't have any "how to" books. I was taught by my father and friends. I also like to discuss with friends.


11-10-2004, 20:41
Everything and anything is on my bookshelf - how-to's, image collections, Zone System book, PhotoShop for Dummies, (me being the dummy), prints, pictures, Pop Photo magazines, a few Shutterbugs, a Calvin & Hobbes and Bloom County collection - heck, there are actually cameras on my bookshelf. There's a Nokton 50 and a 400mm Vivitar manual focus lens taking up a corner with a half-dozen rolls of 400UC Portra.

A Jim Calhoun bobblehead doll keeps an eye on the whole mess. It's an organizational disaster.

back alley
11-10-2004, 21:02
the best books, that i have read, about shooting were edward weston's day books.
no technique stuff, just life stuff.

i also enjoyed jim hugh's book about gene smith. another man obsessed about shooting.

11-10-2004, 21:19
Maybe I should have done 'Some of everything', but the main part of the books are in the cathegory 'Image Collection'. So I choose this cathegory.
My favorite image collection books (at the moment) are the books from Winston Link.
The favorite HowTos are the books from Tim Rudman (Toning Book and Lithprinting).

But there are so many books ... I would like to see on my bookshelf. ;)


11-10-2004, 21:35
Pretty much of a little of everything on mine. Lots of technique and image collections. Hardly any history, and just a few theory, and not a one on 'Verbal discussions of a visual discipline'.

Perfect timing on this for a secondary reason. I just picked up "the man, the image & the world" about HCB. 400+ pages packed with multiple images per page. A persons life work all laid out for us. Once I get through it, I'm more than happy to lend it to others if they pickup the shipping costs. Or even pass it around through a small circle, then back to me. If you are interested, send me an e-mail and I'll get back to you once I finish it myself.

11-10-2004, 22:50
Some of everything. Mostly image collections (Taschen editions mostly), but also AA's trilogy, McBroom's Bluebook, "Graphic Graflex Photography", and the one that pushed me on the road of no return - Ivor Matanle's "Collecting and Using Classic Cameras" :)
I have some technical/technique books, like "Way Beyond Monochrome", and some others. Always trying to improve the technical aspects, darkroom skills...
Of the image collections, one of my favorites is "Horst: Portraits". Also have some howto books - but relating to camera repair, by Tomosy ;)
And photography magazines - mostly French "Photo"...
Pretty eclectic, I guess..

11-10-2004, 23:09
Hello,...this is my first post so please be gentle!!

lots of photo books on my shelves aquired over the years but the one I keep coming back to is the smallest and cheapest of the lot, namely 'Successful Photography' by Andreas Feininger. Ironically my copy was bought at a public library sale for 20pence as the librarians considered it hopelessly outdated. Althought it was first published in 1954 it has an oracle like quality which is quite timeless so that one can open it at more or less any page and find a simple instruction for part of the photographic process which will also be applicable to life itself!

back alley
11-10-2004, 23:33
new guy alert!

welcome bob. we are always gentle here, it's the rule.

you awakened a memory and i immediately went into my little storage area. when i first started out in photography i read alot and there were a couple of books that had a great influence on me. the one you mentioned by feininger and also his 'the complete photographer', both excellent.
another was 'the craft of photography' by david vestal.
i seem to like those that are a bit of the beaten track mostly.

i must crack them open again.thanks bob!


11-10-2004, 23:48

I love Taschen books too. They are nice and economic. Phaidon books are too expensive sometimes.


11-11-2004, 03:50
My computer area has 5 shelves, mainly full of Kodak workshop series, Jason Schneider, Michael Freeman, John Hedgecoe, Brian Coe, Thomas Thomosy, Carl Shipman, Feininger, Petersen's guides, Hasselblad publications, Lord of the Rings, Rambler manuals,muscle car books, Boris Vallejo drawings, Antique guides, Birding guides, McKeown's (of course) Camera guides and plenty of guide books to most camera manufacturers lines (except the dread auto focus and digital, ewww.)

Brian Sweeney
11-11-2004, 04:08
The bookshelf in my room: The Time/Life series on Photography, Circa 1973; Nikon/Nikkormat Manual; Leica Manual; Walther Benser Colour Photography and Colour Again; lots of old 1930's to 1950's photography technical and technique; a shelf of old Pop/Modern Photo mags; ...

Computer Books: Assembly Language, FORTRAN, C/C++; Photoshop v3; WORDSTAR manuals (Still use Wordstar on embedded systems), ... My day at work yesterday: generating machine code to read/write the "modern" control registers on a P6 (and Later) and access the machine specific registers from real-mode (embedded realtime system) because the Macro Assembler could not generate the new opcodes. There is life after Management.

The IBM Autocoder manual is in the basement...

11-11-2004, 05:17
Some of everything but not much of anything. After a house fire 12 years ago I just couldn't get into the mood to try and replace all that was lost. Too much of it would be hard to impossible to find.

Books on computers (I'm a computer person wannabe), novels, and religious books. Just not a large collection of anything anymore. :(

Brian, if I can find them (if my wife hasn't thrown the out in frustration), I think I have some old IBM pamplets I rescued from BAH several years ago. If you need Modula II, I have that on 5 1/4 disks. I don't think I am ready to give that up yet (still may want to play with it some day) but would let you use it any time if you needed it.

11-11-2004, 05:23
Also voted for "Some of Everything". The bottom shelf of the display case for my cameras is the bookshelf for photography books, containing the Time/Life photography series ($2 per volume at the half-price bookstore); "Rangefinder: Equipment, History, Technique" by Hicks and Schultz; two books about Man Ray; "Naked City", a collection of Weegee's stuff; a biography of Capa, and one of Bourke-White; one about Magnum; a few "How To's"; a few of the "history of" category; and a few of the Aperture series, HCB, W. Eugene Smith, Man Ray, Weegee.
And of course, I have a box or two of older stuff in the garage that I can't fit on the shelf (and I won't toss, either.)

11-11-2004, 05:31
:eek: I still remember Modula-2 :_)

In my case, just a bit of everything, except the Princelle book, that is :bang:

And Welcome Bob :D

11-11-2004, 05:46
Welcome Azinko from good old Blighty! :)

I too have a bit of everything, my favorites are are four year's worth of the mag Leica Fotografie from the 60's/70's. Great pics and articles.

I picked up a book around this time last year called Red-Color News Soldier (https://www.phaidon.com/phaidon/displayproduct.asp?id=1701) by Li Zhensheng. It's a scarcely credible tale of (a) the bravery of the author in taking and hiding so many excellent pictures inside Maoist China during the 60's, and (b) the behavior of ordinary people during the Cultural Revolution in that country. Amazing book.

And the author used RFs and TLRs! ;)

11-11-2004, 09:40
I saw that book recently at the museum book store - very interesting book.

I voted for some of everything too.

Like many, lots of programming books.

HCB. An old Life Photography series of books, I piced up the whole set for about $10 at the used book store. Lou Reed - Emotion in Action, Masterclass in Photography, Lartique, a few more i can't remember. I usually keep my out at the local used book stores and grab them there. Every once in a while they get really good ones, usually are pretty cheap.

11-11-2004, 10:07
A few favorites:
Ansel Adams' Autobiography;
Barry Thornton 'Edge of Darkness'
Tim Rudman's books about toning and lith printing;
Richard Avedon's 'In the American West' (OK, I only have that on loan from the library, too expensive... just like the Sebastiao Salgado books I also like!)


11-11-2004, 11:16
For Christmas many years ago, I got a copy of Miller and Brummitt's "This is Photography (Its Ways and Means)" -- which was originally written in the early 50's. My parents bought it for me, gently used, to help me with the basics of B & W darkroom work. It also had a section on camera selection, featuring the Graflex "doghouse" plate/rollfilm camera as a "typical" single lens reflex, and also referred to a Retina as a "continental-style miniature camera." It also featured Kodak TLR and box cameras --- apparently one of the authors was affiliated with Eastman, although the book was not a Kodak publication. I still have the book, and leaf through it when trying to figure out what "fast" film to run through my 1940's/50's folders (no Delta 1600 back then!)

11-11-2004, 13:39
I voted "some of everything", but it's mostly science fiction and fantasy novels. There's also a few remnants from my days as an ancient history student, Shakespeare, Beowulf, some computeer reference tomes, and several photography how-to books, but the centerpiece of my collection has to be a personally signed cookbook by Rachel Ray that I got at a book signing/lunch I went to today (yes, she's as much of a sweetie in person as she is on TV, went around the bistro and talked to everyone who came for several minutes each... sigh).

back alley
11-11-2004, 13:44
don't know rachel but nigela lawson can sign my cookbook anyday!


11-11-2004, 13:55
Just tune into "$40 a Day" or "30 Minute Meals" on Food Network sometime... boy, I sure derailed the purpose of this thread :)

That Guy
11-11-2004, 17:02
I have a little of everything, but voted "How-to" books. About half my collection of photography books are how-to's. And books are in every room of my house, so I won't bore with what's on which shelf.

Two I'd recommend, especially here on this forum are:

Rangefinder by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz (Guild of Master Craftsmen Publications)
Selecting and Using Classic Cameras by Michael Levy (Amherst Media)

Currently I'm reading "The Photographer's Guide to Using Filters" by Joseph Meehan.

11-11-2004, 19:29
I've seen Rachael on 30 Minute Meals more than once :) My wife tunes in once in a while to pick up new recipes.

Which also reminded me that I have a personally autographed copy of The Living Wild from Art Wolfe. He signed it for me when I took a photography workshop about 3 summers ago.

11-11-2004, 21:37
I've voted for "how to", because although I don't have much in the way of photography books at all, it's them that I'm scouring the local library shelves for, and end up next to my bed all the time. And the odd image collection - recently Cornell Capa caught my eye, and an Aussie who's name now escapes me but does the most incredible portraits.

(apart from that, it's sci-fi, fantasy, war historys, and beer brewing)

11-12-2004, 04:35
I also voted for "Some of Everything". Most of the books on my shelves are engineering related. Only recently I acquired a few how to books. I just read Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure". It is geared towards using SLRs with auto features, but has a lot of emphasis on the use of the meter. Based on recomendations, I bought the book on Rangefinder cameras by Hicks and Schultz. I was really hoping for a little more from this book. As a newbee to rangefinders, this book was not very useful. I learn way more about rangefinders by reading the discussions here (and you can't beat the price of admission).

Doug, I'm a little jealous that you got to meet Rachel Ray. She is a real cutie. Although she can't hold a candle to the gal I married.


11-12-2004, 07:01
I've also voted for "Some of Everything", but not a lot for photography, they include architecture, interior design, Hi-Fi audio, home theatre, Coffee making & roasting, etc. Actually what occupy most of the shelving space are those classical CDs.:D

11-13-2004, 09:22
I guess I should say what I've got since I started this poll. Some of every thing. Some that I especially like are: Alfred Blaker's Fiel Photography, A collection of Gertrude Kassebier's(not sure of the spelling) photos--I saw an exhibit of her prints in Kansas City some years ago amazing! Ansel's books, Natascha Merrit's Digital Dairy, Maizenbergs book on repairing russian cameras, a bunch of Kodak books from the 40's&50's and lots of books I've picked up from our local libray's anual used book sale that cover every thing from advertinsing to Rollei TLRs.
Thanks for all the responses! Now I have lots of titles for my local bookshop to find for me!

Paul Connet
11-13-2004, 10:51
Originally posted by That Guy
I have a little of everything, but voted "How-to" books. About half my collection of photography books are how-to's. And books are in every room of my house, so I won't bore with what's on which shelf.

That also pretty much describes my book collection. Lately I have been adding camera repair manuals as they are required to fix the old stuff that is filling my house.

The "how to" books on photo techniques are probably helping some, although each roll I shoot causes me to think otherwise at times.

Keep on snapping I say.

Paul C.

03-02-2005, 11:24
I have some of everything, a few how-to books on printing (Ilford's BW workshop), but my main collection involves monographs on photojournalism.

My favorite book, though, is "Dialogue with Photography", a set of fine interviews with Adams, Strand, HCB, Minor White, Eugene Smith, Laura Gilpin, Brett Weston, Imogen Cunningham, B. Newhall, George Rodger and more. It's simply inspiring to the extreme. The interview with Helmut Gernsheim is extremely educational in a historic sense, and in relating to the photographic art-market. A great one to have.

"In Retrospect" by Eve Arnold is another, and "Inferno" by James Nachtway is a superb book to have for a study of in-depth, caring and profoundly moving photojournalism.

I've also collected some works by HCB, including "Man and Machine", "In Moscow" and a dual monograph of HCB and Manuel Alvarez Bravo.


03-02-2005, 13:40
On the subject of photogtaphy, I have a sh*t load of technical reference books, a lot of the Kodak publications that I've had for years, old data guides and a lot of subject specific guide books, those the 8x11 ~100 page format guides that were popular in the 70s & 80s. I have a signed Avedon book, the Arbus book, a Ralph Gibson, a signed Bill Owens and miscellanous compilations and history books. More recent acquisitions are cookbooks with film developer formulas (I mix my own from scratch), and photoshop guidebooks. You get the idea. Too many books!

03-02-2005, 13:52
I'm in the 'bit of everything' camp. Lots of computer books which I'm now thinning out. Keeping the ones on LaTeX though. Some Beat Generation literature I re-read this year -- On the Road, The Dharma Bums, etc -- a book on IR photography, several books on Photoshop, some books by Freeman Patterson, a few classic novels (several Dickens that I've been re-reading), a pile of science magazines (Discover, Scientific American), a pile of books from the library (lotsa detective fiction), the Hasselblad Manual, some art books, and a book I'll always keep: Kernighan & Ritchie, The C Programming Language ...


03-02-2005, 14:35
A Speed Graphic Book from about 1945, Princelle's "300 Leica copies." Lots of stuff on history of the American west, especially the Indian wars, several books on the American Revolution and War of 1812, a little on the Civil War, several shelves on WWII and Korea, everything Tom Clancy has written, some Stephen King and various western and science fiction novels.

Favorite books: "Incredible Victory," by Walter Lord, "Red Storm Rising" by Clancy, "The Blue Nowhere" by Jeffrey Deaver and "The Russians" by Hedrick Smith.

03-02-2005, 15:52
did not get to vote :-( being a publsiher there are to many books on my bookshelf - but rigt now a second edition of a seven volume work on Denmark - first publishesd in 1927 and again in 1962 is my favorite. The author Achton Friis and the illustrator and Painter Johannes Larsen travelled to every little good forsaken place in this small country - to islands with only 10 inhabitants -etc. and made the most wonderfull description of the life of yesterday. The are beautifully crafted - printed and very well written and for the time being they consume all my spare reading time - I had my look out for these for a long time and finally found them at a garage sale at a fraction of their worth :-)

03-02-2005, 16:01
"On the Trail of the Contax," volumes I and II; "Zeiss Compendium - East and West 1940-1972," "Zeiss Ikon Cameras 1926-39," "the Contax Way," has anyone noticed a common theme? ;)

A few more historical/reference books (Alpa, Rollei), "The Rolleiflex SL66 and SLX Way," and then a mix of technique and collections. Enjoyed Jim Marshall's "Proof" over Christmas.

Wayne R. Scott
03-02-2005, 17:26
I have several bookcases. One is devoted to photography, Ansel Adams series of The Camera, The Negative, and The Print. Many Kodak technical reference manuals, dark room books, Zone System, How To's, books on portraits, books on lighting, many others.

I also have books on firearms, reloading, muzzle loading rfle building, archery and bow building, plus camping, fishing and back packing.

One book case has college text books on physics, chemistry, and biological sciences.

Then there is the fiction book case.

And lastly there is the floor which holds my periodicals.


03-03-2005, 23:23
I live in a one bedroom apartment, but I have six seven foot tall bookcases completely filled with books. I have far more history and literature than photography, but I have a good amount on the subject. Not to get too much like a library, but my major foci:

Literature: Nabokov, Salinger, Fitzgerald, Pushkin, 19th century Russian poetry and literature.
History -- Russian-Japanese relations (my graduate work). Russo-Japanese War; late Tokugawa and Meiji Japan, Imperial Russia, Sino-Japanese Relations, German and Italian unifications, origins of World War I. Japanese pop culture, Thucydides, Livy.
Music: Shostakovich's life and politics (my undergraduate work), Bach's secular works.
Photography: Ansel Adams: The Camera, Negative and Print. Japanese Photographers -- Eikoh Hosoe, Tomio Seike, Shomei Tomatsu. HCB, Martine Franck, MoMA history of photography (1960s), Aperture Past Forward, Julien Busselle: Printing and Processing. Beyond Basic Photography, Advanced Photography, The Manual of Photography, The Film Developing Cookbook.

Anyway, all that with a bunch more general history, art, architecture, Russian and Japanese dictionaries, literature and so forth. I just accumulate books like I do camera gear...I would estimate that I have over a 1000 books so far, and I am not yet 27...