Aperture’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide
Legendary photographers. Iconic monographs. Thought-provoking essay books. Here is the ultimate guide to the best photobooks to give this holiday season.
From best-selling photobooks The New Black Vanguard and Photo No-Nos; to monographs by Wendy Red Star, Tom Sandberg, and Deana Lawson; to essay and activity books for all ages—we’ve rounded up titles for everyone on your list.
Must-Haves for Photo Lovers
Leading the conversation on contemporary photography with thought-provoking commentary and visually immersive portfolios, Aperture is required reading for everyone seriously interested in photography. With thematic issues like “Vision & Justice,” “Latinx,” and “New York,” and guest edited editions by Alec Soth, Wendy Red Star, Wolfgang Tillmans, and more, Aperture has been the essential guide to photography since 1952.
In The New Black Vanguard, curator and critic Antwaun Sargent addresses a radical transformation taking place in art and fashion today, highlighting the work of fifteen contemporary Black photographers rethinking the possibilities of representation.
Diane Arbus’s frank treatment of her subjects and faith in the intrinsic power of the medium have produced photographs that are often shocking in their purity and steadfast celebration of things as they are. This year, Aperture released Diane Arbus Revelations on the fiftieth anniversary of Arbus’s posthumous 1972 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and the simultaneous publication of Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph. Revelations explores the origins, scope, and aspirations of Arbus’s wholly original vision. Featuring two hundred full-page duotones of Arbus’s photographs spanning her entire career, the volume presents many of her lesser-known or previously unpublished photographs in the context of the iconic images—revealing a subtle yet persistent view of the world.
Give the Gift of Inspiration
What is a “photo no-no”? Photographers often have unwritten lists of subjects they tell themselves not to shoot—things that are cliché, exploitative, derivative, sometimes even arbitrary. Edited by Jason Fulford, this volume brings together ideas, stories, and anecdotes from over two hundred photographers and photography professionals. Not a strict guide, but a series of meditations on “bad” pictures, Photo No-Nos covers a wide range of topics, from sunsets and roses to issues of colonialism, stereotypes, and social responsibility—offering a timely and thoughtful resource on what photographers consider to be off-limits, and how they have contended with their own self-imposed rules without being paralyzed by them.
What led Stephen Shore to work with color? Why was Sophie Calle accused of stealing Johannes Vermeer’s The Concert? Aperture Conversations presents a selection of interviews pulled from Aperture’s publishing history, highlighting critical dialogue between esteemed photographers and artists, critics, curators, and editors since 1985.
How does a photographic project or series evolve? How important are “style” and “genre”? What comes first—the photographs or a concept? PhotoWork is a collection of interviews by forty photographers about their approaches to making photographs and a sustained a body of work. Structured as a Proust-like questionnaire, editor Sasha Wolf’s interviews provide essential insights and advice from both emerging and established photographers—including LaToya Ruby Frazier, Todd Hido, Rinko Kawauchi, Alec Soth, and more—while also revealing that there is no single path in photography.
Through his intimate, powerful reporting and signature black-and-white style, Philip Montgomery reveals the fault lines of American society—from police violence and the opioid addiction crisis, to the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrations in support of Black lives. American Mirror is the first monograph by the award-winning photographer, distilling his vision through seventy-one iconic images. Like Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans before him, Montgomery has made an unforgettable testament to a nation at a crossroads.
In her dynamic photographs, Wendy Red Star recasts historical narratives with wit, candor, and a feminist, Indigenous perspective. Delegation is the first comprehensive monograph by Red Star (Apsáalooke/Crow), centering Native American life and material culture through the artist’s imaginative self-portraiture, vivid collages, archival interventions, and site-specific installations. Whether referencing nineteenth-century Crow leaders or 1980s pulp fiction, museum collections or family pictures, she constantly questions the role of the photographer in shaping Indigenous representation. Delegation is a spirited testament to the intricacy of Red Star’s influential practice, gleaning from elements of Native American culture to evoke a vision of today’s world and what the future might bring.
Ten years after its original publication, Aperture republishes Rinko Kawauchi’s beloved volume Illuminance. Through her images of keenly observed gestures and details, Kawauchi reveals the mysterious and beautiful realm at the edge of the everyday world. As Kawauchi describes, “I want imagination in the photographs—a photograph is like a prologue. You wonder, ‘What’s going on?’ You feel something is going to happen.” This new edition of Illuminance retains the photographer’s original sequence, alongside texts by David Chandler, Lesley A. Martin, and Masatake Shinohara.
Over the last ten years, Deana Lawson has portrayed the personal and the powerful in her large-scale, dramatic portraits of people in the US, the Caribbean, and Africa. One of the most compelling photographers working today, Lawson’s Aperture Monograph is the long-awaited first photobook by the visionary artist. “Outside a Lawson portrait you might be working three jobs, just keeping your head above water, struggling,” writes Zadie Smith in the book’s essay. “But inside her frame you are beautiful, imperious, unbroken, unfallen.”
Visions in Black & White
In a signature, modulating gray scale, the late Norwegian photographer Tom Sandberg spent decades rendering the shapes and forms of everyday life in his exacting vision. From dark abstractions of asphalt and sea, to the hard edges of an automobile or curved tunnel, to anonymous figures cast in shadow, Sandberg creates subtle yet transformative studies of stillness that radiate mystery. A perfectionist in the darkroom, Sandberg was acutely sensitive to the rich spectrum of black and white, and his handmade prints project a powerful physical presence. Tom Sandberg: Photographs is the first major publication dedicated to one of Norway’s most important photographers.
Known for her portraits and landscapes imbued with poetic ambiguity, Graciela Iturbide’s photographs employ a deeply personal vision, all while reflecting her subjects’ rich cultural backgrounds. In the latest volume of Aperture’s Photography Workshop Series, Iturbide shares insights into her creative process and inspirations—discussing a wide range of issues from the importance of surprise, to recognizing what speaks to you as an artist, to capturing symbolism and meaning in the everyday.
For fifty years, Robert Adams has made compelling, provocative, and highly influential photographs that show us the wonder and fragility of the American landscape, its inherent beauty, and the inadequacy of our response to it. American Silence features over 175 works from Adams’s career photographing throughout Colorado, California, and Oregon—capturing suburban sprawl, strip malls, highways, homes, and the land. By examining the artist’s act of looking at the world around him, this volume showcases the almost palpable silence of his photographs.
The work of Judith Joy Ross marks a watershed in the lineage of the photographic portrait. Her pictures—unpretentious, quietly penetrating, startling in their transparency—consistently achieve the capacity to glimpse the past, present, and perhaps even the future of the individuals who stand before her lens. Adolescents swim at a local municipal park, ordinary people work and play—all are incisively rendered with equal tenderness in Ross’s black-and-white, large-format portraits. Judith Joy Ross: Photographs 1978–2015 is an illuminating retrospective that explores the life and career of a revered American photographer, illustrated by two hundred of her images, many never before seen or published.
In June 2020, activists Qween Jean and Joela Rivera returned to the historic Stonewall Inn—site of the 1969 riots that launched the modern gay rights movement—where they initiated weekly actions known thereafter as the Stonewall Protests. Over the following year, the protests brought together thousands of people across communities and social movements to gather in solidarity, resistance, and communion. A powerful and celebratory visual record of New York City’s contemporary activist movement, Revolution Is Love gathers work by twenty-four photographers alongside texts by Qween Jean, Joela Rivera, Mikelle Street, and Raquel Willis—creating a moving testament to the enduring power of photography in activism, advocacy, and community.
Kwame Brathwaite’s photographs from the ’50s and ’60s transformed how we define Blackness. Using his photography to popularize the slogan “Black Is Beautiful,” Brathwaite challenged mainstream beauty standards of the time. Born in Brooklyn and part of the second-wave Harlem Renaissance, Brathwaite and his brother Elombe were responsible for creating the African Jazz Arts Society and Studios (AJASS) and the Grandassa Models. Until now, Brathwaite has been underrecognized, and Black Is Beautiful is the first-ever monograph dedicated to his remarkable career.
We Were Here: Sexuality, Photography, and Cultural Difference offers an unparalleled firsthand account of the influential photographer and curator Sunil Gupta’s writing and critical inquiry since the 1970s. From writings on homosexuality in Indian cities, to the Black Arts Movement, to key figures such as Joy Gregory and Robert Mapplethorpe, Gupta foregrounds the power of cultural activism in the politically fraught contexts of London and Delhi—and illuminates the essential connections between queer migration and self-discovery. Continually questioning given forms of identity, Gupta offers artists and curators multiple strategies of resistance, carving out space for new ways of imagining what it might mean to live, love, and create.
In his striking studio portraits, multimedia artist Shikeith envisions his Black male subjects as they inhabit various states of meditation, prayer, and ecstasy. Brought together in the artist’s first monograph, Notes towards Becoming a Spill features seventy photographs alongside texts by Ashon T. Crawley. In this revelatory volume, Shikeith redefines the idea of sacred space and positions a queer ethic identified by its investment in vulnerability, tenderness, and joy.
Zora J Murff’s photographs construct an incisive, autobiographic retelling of the struggles and epiphanies of a young Black artist working to make space for himself and his community. Often contextualizing his own photographs with found or appropriated images alongside texts, Murff examines the act of remembering and politics of self. Nuanced, challenging, and inspiring, True Colors (or, Affirmations in a Crisis) is a must-have monograph by a rising and standout artist.
For the Design Lover
Bettina Grossman’s wildly interdisciplinary practice spanned photography, sculpture, textile, cinema, drawing, and more—and pushed the photographic medium to and beyond its limits. An eccentric personality fully dedicated to her art, Bettina lived in the famous Chelsea Hotel from 1968 until her death in late 2021. In her tiny studio, she produced and accumulated a considerable body of work, incorporating strategies of chance and the abstraction of everyday form through repetition and seriality. Until now, her work has remained largely unseen and unpublished—Bettina is the first monograph to showcase the work of his unsung artist.
In 2018, Viviane Sassen was invited by Versailles to make a series of photographs throughout its vast grounds. For six months, she was given free rein, often after official hours when the buildings were empty, to wander and photograph the palace’s extravagant gardens, gilded baroque interiors, and even Marie Antoinette’s private correspondence. Drawn to the bodies represented in the palace’s many marble statues, Sassen created hybrid forms that play with notions of sexuality and gender, calling to mind traditions of Surrealist art and the work of figures such as Hans Bellmer. Brought together in a new limited-edition book crafted by the iconic designer Irma Boom, Venus & Mercury offers a fresh vision of the storied palace—and all its beauty, melancholy, and intrigue.
With his mesmerizing analog photograms, David Benjamin Sherry melds queer history, abstraction, and darkroom magic. Born out of what Sherry has called the “transformative potential of the darkroom,” each of his large-scale, cameraless color photograms are laboriously made by hand in the darkroom. Using cardboard masks to create geometric forms and incorporating his own body into the images, Sherry actively references histories of photography—while also thinking through the intersections of identity, form, and the hypnotic power of extreme color. Pink Genesis collects twenty-nine one-of-a-kind works that delight in the pleasures of form and color.
Children’s Activity and Educational Books
Inspired by her family tree, Angélica Dass—a Brazilian artist of African, European, and Native American descent—began creating portraits of people from all over the world against backgrounds that match their skin tones. Brought together in a book made for young readers, The Colors We Share celebrates the diverse beauty of human skin, while also considering concepts of race and the limited categories we use to describe each other.
Compiled by Susan Meiselas, Eyes Open is a sourcebook of photography ideas for kids to engage with the world through the camera. Broken into chapters ranging from “Alphabetography” to “Light,” “Movement,” “Neighborhood,” and more, each idea starts with a prompt, illustrated with pictures by students from around the world, and followed by the words and images of artists who share their ways of seeing. Playful and meaningful, this book is for young would-be photographers and those interested in expressing themselves creatively.
Seeing Things is a wonderful introduction to photography that asks how photographers transform ordinary things into meaningful moments. Joel Meyerowitz introduces young readers to the power and magic of photography, exploring key concepts in the medium—from light and gesture to composition—through the work of famous photographers such as William Eggleston, Helen Levitt, Mary Ellen Mark, and Martin Parr.
For the Collector
A landmark in the history of modern art, People of the 20th Century presents the fullest expression of August Sander’s lifelong work: a monumental endeavor to amass an archive of twentieth-century humanity through a cross-section of German culture. In the 1920s, Sander began to photograph subjects from all walks of life—documenting bankers and boxers, soldiers and circus performers, farmers and families. Sander’s photographs, remarkable for their unflinching realism, provide a powerful social mirror of Germany between the world wars. People of the 20th Century brings together this long out-of-print compendium in an all-in-one volume featuring over six hundred photographs in the more comprehensive iteration of Sander’s still-essential vision.
For Aperture’s “70th Anniversary” issue, seven photographers were invited to consider a single issue, article, idea, or even omission, from a decade of the magazine’s history to create an original commission. Diving deep into Aperture’s first decade of publishing—the 1950s, an era before photography had cemented its status as an art form—Iñaki Bonillas was struck by how the magazine endeavored to make the case for the richness, complexity, and expressive possibilities of the medium. Bringing together iconic images and texts from the era, Bonillas created a series of narrative collages. This limited edition brings to life Bonilla’s “70th Anniversary” portfolio in a special accordion book format.
Sara Cwynar’s multilayered portraits are an investigation of color and image-driven consumer culture. Working in her studio, Cwynar collects, arranges, and archives eBay purchases in visually complex photographs that examine how images circulate online, as well as how the lives and purposes of both physical objects and their likenesses change over time. This special limited-edition box set features a differentiated version of Cwynar’s debut monograph, Glass Life, accompanied by a signed print from the artist.
Shop Aperture’s Holiday Sale for 30% off photobooks, magazines, and prints.