Suggested Reading List

This anthology contains two types of literary works: 1) biographies of photographers and 2) writings on photography. I first posted this list in 2013, but below is an updated version. These are not picture books, but historical records of a photographer’s life that also fuss over the meaning of a photograph.

There are diamonds for living here, but each book should be approached with skepticism. For example, you may ask:

Do we really need another Diane Arbus book?
I haven’t read Lubow’s new work yet. This is a good place to note that I try to avoid biographical multiplication based on my own taste. I partially read “An Emergency in Slow Motion,” another book on Arbus written by a psychologist, but omitted it from this list. That being said, seek out and judge other works for yourself.

Should I read their memoir or a biography?
Both. Read Robert Capa’s memoir and then Kershaw’s bio of the photographer, they’re wildly different.

Anyone local and still working?
Yes, I just found D.C.-based and European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) photographer Jim Lo Scalzo’s memoir on Amazon.

If you really want to understand photography, you have to understand the photographer. How they lived. How they worked.