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Stuck for gift ideas this Christmas? Then consider one of these book recommendations for some immediate photography inspiration.

I love buying photography books almost as much as I love buying photography gear. But, unlike gear which ages and dates the minute you buy it, books are timeless. I’ve learnt more about photography from books than I have a camera.

There are an awful lot of books out there (and on my own shelf) so it can be hard to know where to start. I’ve thought carefully about my recommendations but it is, ultimately, subjective. That said, I think it’s a great selection of books which I have tried to span across genres.

So whether it is for you or a friend, check out this list and draw inspiration from some of these superb works.


I’m a huge Joel Meyerowitz fan and this book is one of my favourites. It’s an archive spanning 50+ years of photography that demonstrates his development, influences and changing styles over the decades. Packed with still life photography, portraits, street, and landscapes, you will be guaranteed to find inspiration from this master of subject and light.

Ideal for fans of: light and colour.


This work was originally published in 1982 and is a terrific example of how simplicity and colour come together to create meaningful images from otherwise unmemorable scenes. Taken from a series of road trips across the United States in the 1970s, it features hundreds of photographs from Shore’s travels and tells a story of American life through the most mundane subjects. You can read my more detailed review to learn more.

Ideal for fans of: evocative Americana.


The story of Vivian Maier is well documented: a nanny who, unknown to anyone, took hundreds of thousands of photographs during her lifetime, only for them to be discovered in a Chicago lockup after her death in 2009. This book gives a glimpse into the world as she saw it: emotionally charged images packed with symbolism and equal doses of comedy and tragedy. Maier’s story is captivating and this book accompanies that tale. I wrote a review on this book a while back which you can read here.

Ideal for fans of: black and white street photography.


Probably one of the most highly regarded and respected photography books of all time. This is a collection of photos taken between 1955-56 and acts as a documentary on American history. The photographs are born out of Frank’s love for the road and touch upon issues like glamour and racial prejudice of the time. It’s an honest, sometimes uncomfortable, look at this snapshot of American history.

Ideal for fans of: documentary photography.


Responsible for one of the most famous portrait photographs ever taken, Afghan Girl, Steve McCurry’s style is compelling. This book is a beautiful collection of his work over 30 years of photography and travel throughout the Middle and Far East. It is the kind of book where you find yourself truly studying the faces of each individual: honest portraits of unassuming people.

Ideal for fans of: street portraiture.


Got any book recommendations of your own? Let me know below!

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