Best Photo Books of 2015
Debbie Harry © Andy Warhol
Crave presents the best photography books of 2015, a mélange of fine art, pop culture, celebrity, documentary, and war photography that will satisfy some of the most discerning folks on your holiday shopping list.
Ryan McGinley’s photographs transport us to another world, a place free from the mundane horrors of modern life. In Way Far, he takes us deep inside the American idyll, to the proverbial Eden that exists on months-long summer road trips taken cross-country. In Ginley’s world, time stops and what remains are the spirits of the forest and the open terrain. The result is a dreamy volume of images that create an altered state, a feeling of freedom that comes with escape. A must for contemporary photography fans seeking a new high.
Andy Warhol was obsessive, in the best possible way, carefully documenting his world for posterity. Though Andy knew in the future everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes, his legacy would last longer than that, and the newest collection of his Polaroids is proof of that. At 560 pages, the book includes portraits of celebrities including Debbie Harry, Yves Saint Laurent, and Mick Jagger, as well as landscapes, still lifes, and other pop culture sensations. A sure thing for all fans of glittery, glossy instant gratification.
James Dean reminds us that legends are made in a flash, in the bright flame of talent that burns out in a fiery crash. His films, all released within a year of each other, established him as a tour de force that captured the country’s imagination and never let go. Dennis Stock’s photographs reveal the layers of a complex and compelling character that continues to inspire and engage. A must-have for any aficionado of classic American cool.
There’s nothing like a career retrospective to see the full view, to pull the frame back and take it all the way in. At the age of 67, Magnum photographer Eli Reed as done just this, and A Long Walk Home put us by his side as he walks his path. With camera in hand, Reed shows us the world as he has seen it all of these years, from the Lost Boys of the Sudan to DMC and Jam Master Jay playing chess on a train. A true collector’s item for the documentary minded photography fans.
At 10:00pm on New Year’s Eve, 1958, Magnum photographer Burt Glinn is at a black tie party in New York when he hears the news dictator Fulgencio Batista has fled Cuba. By 7am the next morning, Glinn is in Havana, Che Guevara was on his way, and everyone was awaiting the triumphant arrival of Fidel Castro as the new leader of Cuba. Glinn’s photographs bring us back to that fateful time and place, when the people rose up and took back their nation. A sure-hit for the revolutionaries, dictators, and leaders in your crew who aspire to lead a people to freedom.
For generations, The New York Times has been the paper of record to countless Americans who believe that the old grey lady sets the benchmark for objective reportage. But David Shields had his doubts about this, and with War Is Beautiful, he questions their use of the photograph as a vehicle of propaganda to support U.S. war in the Middle East. The result is a powerful and provocative effort to demystify the iconography of war, which Shields asserts has been easily used to seduce popular opinion to support dubious and catastrophic campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. A must-have for every conspiracy theorist on your holiday list.
Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.