my favorite photography coffee table books

by Krystal Bick
May 4, 2020

OUTFIT DETAILS: Carolina Herrera dress (borrowed) // Erdem hat 

When it comes to photography coffee table books…

Yours truly has an embarrassingly large collection. To be honest, it’s a wonder to me that I’ve found a way to store them over the years — as most can’t fit on our small coffee table anymore. Instead, they fill up our book shelves, where I pray the weight doesn’t eventually cause them to buckle.

Since quarantine started, I’ve been getting an influx of questions from you guys about my favorite photography books, namely since I do reference a lot of my favorite photographers whenever I’m shooting. As a content creator, one of the biggest ways I stay inspired is by consuming and appreciating as much art as I possibly can — and while my favorite museums are sadly shuttered at the moment, I still largely get my fix by flipping through my many photography books at home. It’s one of my most zen activities I can plan for myself — an afternoon of Nina Simone perhaps playing in the background, sipping an iced oat milk latte while I flip through the works of Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz to name a few. It immediately transports my imagination somewhere else, an activity I think we could all benefit from these days.

The other day, when I shared this particular photo above here (inspired by another photographer in my list below — Rodney Smith, which you’ll be able to tell from just the cover alone), a lot of you were curious about the book I’m holding — The Light of New York by Jean-Michel Berts. His work in this book (as you can see from the Brooklyn Bridge photo to the left here), features iconic scenes around New York all captured at dawn — when the city is uncharacteristically quiet (not all too unlike our current situation to be honest). This book is a favorite of mine as my good friend Lydia got it for me for my birthday one year, with the premise that it might help inspire some future shoots of ours together (I’m one of her few clients who enjoys EARLY morning shoots). I was still relatively new to New York at the time, and I remember devouring that book, curious about each shoot.

What time of the morning was it snapped at? What time of year was it? How did he get the light to look like that?! Was there anyone out at that time? Perhaps a single person sitting near their window wondering what this photographer was doing…

In case you like to daydream as much as I do, I put together a roundup of my favorite photography books — in hopes it helps inspire you at this time.

 

 

 

 

First image by me // Second image from The Light of New York by Jean-Michel Berts

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