Best history of photography books according to redditors

We found 222 Reddit comments discussing the best history of photography books. We ranked the 124 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Photography History:

u/marinamaral · 3174 pointsr/ColorizedHistory

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(This photo is from a personal collection. Courtesy of Brett)

A Prussian Landwehrmann tanning rat skins in a dugout, WWI. The trench soldier of WWI had to cope with millions of rats. They were attracted by the human waste of war – not simply sewage waste but also the bodies of men long forgotten who had been buried in the trenches.

Possibly drawing on his pre-war trade in the leather industry, this fellow has set himself up in business, tanning the pelts in the age-old method of separating soil and gore from the skin, before they are washed and spread out to dry (as depicted here). It's possible that he used the skins to make patches for repairs to uniforms. Some of these rats grew extremely large. Many troops were awakened by them crawling across their faces, or attempting to take food from the pockets of sleeping men.

Disgusted and often feeling a horror of their presence, soldiers would devise various means of dealing with the rat problem. Although shooting at rats was strictly prohibited – being regarded as a pointless waste of ammunition – many soldiers nevertheless took pot shots at nearby rats in this manner. Attacking them with bayonets was also common, but efforts to eliminate them proved futile. A single rat couple could produce up to 900 offspring a year. Cats and terriers were kept by soldiers in the frontline trenches to help free them of disease-carrying rats. The Terriers were actually very effective.

Robert Graves remarked in his book “Goodbye to All That“: “Rats came up from the canal, fed on the plentiful corpses, and multiplied exceedingly. While I stayed here with the Welch. a new officer joined the company and, in token of welcome, was given a dugout containing a spring-bed. When he turned in that night he heard a scuffling, shone his torch on the bed, and found two rats on his blanket tussling for the possession of a severed hand.”

George Coppard gave another reason why the rats were so large: “There was no proper system of waste disposal in trench life. Empty tins of all kinds were flung away over the top on both sides of the trench. Millions of tins were thus available for all the rats in France and Belgium in hundreds of miles of trenches. During brief moments of quiet at night, one could hear a continuous rattle of tins moving against each other. The rats were turning them over.”

Richard Beasley, interviewed in 1993: “If you left your food the rats would soon grab it. Those rats were fearless. Sometimes we would shoot the filthy swines. But you would be put on a charge for wasting ammo, if the sergeant caught you”.

One soldier described finding a group of dead bodies while on patrol: “I saw some rats running from under the dead men’s greatcoats, enormous rats, fat with human flesh. My heart pounded as we edged towards one of the bodies. His helmet had rolled off. The man displayed a grimacing face, stripped of flesh; the skull bare, the eyes devoured and from the yawning mouth leapt a rat.”

u/TreborMAI · 162 pointsr/pics

I just bought his new photo book, arrives tomorrow, can't wait.

edit: added link

u/bobboboran · 59 pointsr/HistoryPorn

There's a great photo book called ["The Commisar Vanishes"](
) by David King that has a lot of these types of photos, showing the before and after versions of the doctored photographs.

u/Doofus_Rufus · 31 pointsr/The_Donald

Check out The Commissar Vanishes to better understand the evil of Leftism. They lie, they deceive, they falsify everything to gain and hold power.

u/moondogged · 14 pointsr/gaming
u/Inwardlens · 12 pointsr/HistoryPorn

I remembered a similar photograph from my copy of the book The Commissar Vanishes (by the way this is a fantastic book). So I paged over and found yet a different version in the book, as well as a two statues and a gravure.

I can't be sure if these two ever hung out together in Gorki, but the author suggest the opposite. The author, David King, talks about Stalin's people creating thousands of sculptures, paintings, and photographs of these two together to exaggerate their relationship.

According to David King:
>In fact, Lenin had become increasingly alarmed that Stalin was growing too powerful and, in spite of his ill health, tried to break off all relations with him. Lenin had suffered his first stroke in May 1922. The Politburo needed someone to take overall responsibility for him; they chose the recently appointed General Secretary Stalin. More strokes follow, however, leaving Lenin partially paralyzed, and he spent most of the final months of his life resting in Gorki.

King goes on to say that in 1923 artist Yuri Annenkov went to draw Lenin and was disappointed by his state: "wrapped in a blanket and looking past us with the helpless, twisted, babyish smile of a man in his second infancy, Lenin could serve only as an illustration of his illness, and not as a model for a portrait." If his health was this bad in 1923, it isn't believable that he sat for this portrait in 1924. Also the other faked photographs of them sitting in front of that railing are dated 1922.

I can tell you that from my own observation (I am a photographer), the image looks faked. The film grain on Stalin's portion of the photograph has a completely different quality to Lenin's. The lighting doesn't look quote right either -- look at how much deeper the shadow the camera left side of his face is in comparison to the much more open shadow on Lenin's. Also focus seems to fall off immediately between Stalin's arm and Lenin, there is no progressive loss of sharpness like you would see if they had been photographed at the same time and on the same piece of film.

This really is very likely a fake photograph. Stalin's regime was really good at making them.

EDIT: Also Lenin died January 21, 1924. Makes the date of the photograph even more suspect.

u/DeadDeathrocker · 9 pointsr/goth

Reposted from an earlier question.


On Goth Rock:


Undead Undead Undead, Alternative Press 1994

Vice - A Complete History of Goth

Origins of the term Goth

Dave Simpson on the return of Goth

Goth Rock 101


On Darkwave:

The Dark Wave of 80s Alternative Music


On Deathrock:


Women of Punk

Deathrock: a brief history

Deathrock History


On Coldwave:

New York - Beyond Goth


On Grey Rock:


1978s Attic: Portuguese Underground


Don't know if this is any use to you, but I've got some specific band interviews (especially of bands who have pioneered genres/are considered to be big names):


Alien Sex Fiend interview

Pink Turns Blue interview

Clan of Xymox concert review

Cold Cave - You & Me & Infinity article

Drab Majesty tour

Kommunity FK interview

Cocteau Twins

Story of 4AD (article on the label that signed a lot of ethereal wave bands)

The Mortal Coil newspaper


and this article on minimal wave, which isn't considered a goth genre but is mixed with darkwave, especially in a lot of newer bands.


If you want any physical resources on goth, I'd recommend Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace. It's the only book, I'd say, that you need on goth. It's by far the most accurate.

Goth only really has three "types"; they're the types that developed from goth music. Traditional goth, darkwave (romantic goth) and deathrock.

u/ham_rain · 9 pointsr/pics

If you like this, check out Pete Souza's book of photos from the Obama administration - Obama: An Intimate Portrait. It contains many amazing, emotional photographs and I have it on my coffee table.

u/NWBoomer · 8 pointsr/politics

We bought the Souza book. It's full of remarkable photos of this remarkable man.

u/CDNChaoZ · 7 pointsr/analog

Here's some names to start you off. It's a variety of styles and subjects:

  • Ansel Adams
  • Richard Avedon
  • Brassai
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • Robert Capa
  • Walker Evans
  • Robert Frank
  • Andreas Gursky
  • Ernst Haas
  • Philippe Halsman
  • Yousuf Karsh
  • Andre Kertesz
  • Dorothea Lange
  • Annie Leibovitz
  • Don McCullin
  • Daido Moriyama
  • Martin Parr
  • Irving Penn
  • Man Ray
  • W. Eugene Smith
  • Edward Steichen
  • Edward Weston
  • Garry Winogrand
  • Dan Winters

    I highly recommend 20th Century Photography put out by the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Great affordable volume with a lot of great photos.

    Another good pick is Phaidon's The Photography Book but you want the old hardcover I hear, since the softcover is substantially smaller.
u/geeoph · 6 pointsr/baseball

Unrelated to baseball but if you enjoy old colorized pictures, I highly recommend checking out: The Colour of Time: A New History of the World


Images colorized by:

u/Falcon109 · 6 pointsr/HistoryPorn

Yeah, no need for the diatribe here my friend, because while point #1 is definitely true, your #2 and #3 are the real blatant kickers here!

I mean, it is not like the Soviets would ever "photoshop" images for propaganda reasons, right? If you ever wanna read a great book about it, check out The Commissar Vanishes, that goes into extensive detail about Soviet photo manipulation efforts.

u/zulubanshee · 6 pointsr/MorbidReality

There was a whole book of these manipulated shots from the Stalinist era that came out about 15 years ago. And here it is:

u/Turrettin · 5 pointsr/Reformed

Have you ever seen the book The Commissar Vanishes? It is great--and chilling.

u/Onduri · 5 pointsr/gaybros
u/ThrowUpsThrowaway · 5 pointsr/Rochester

I came across this story because I just got done reading this book published in 1999 called Moments: the Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographs and two of the winners from the late 80's and early 90's were RIT grads (can't remember what their names were. Wanna say it was 1988 and 1991 were the years in question.)

u/f1shf3ast · 5 pointsr/AskHistorians

I believe the attraction to the Guerrillero Heroico photograph has something to do with the draw that people have. Largely this is their first point of exposure to Che, this photograph. Honestly, I personally think people just like the photograph without really understanding the political connotations attached to it.

I would say that single photo of Che is one of the main reasons he's so popular today. There's been books written on the photograph, and it's impact on the world. Check out Che's Afterlife: The Legacy of an Image by Michael J. Casey if you want to learn some more.

Either way, Che was really popular. There's some political reasons he's so popular, but that's not really what you're asking. He was one of the 22 men who survived the 26th of July Movement which saw Fidel Castro taking Cuba.

He's also known for having written Guerrilla Warfare in 1961. Basically a strategy guide for armed insurrection.

u/bjamil1 · 4 pointsr/pics

He literally just did:

His IG is a pretty cool follow as well, just as a day to day contrast of how President Obama handled similar events and situations compared to what Trump does in real time

u/Vehemoth · 3 pointsr/photography

If you're interested in Photography history, check out Photography: A Cultural History, by Mary Warner Marien.

u/quizzicalsteve · 3 pointsr/photography

She's a part of the YouTube generation so there are videos for everything now. For me, what inspired me first was seeing amazing photos. So maybe a book like:

u/thespeak · 3 pointsr/photography

You might be interested in Hiroshi Sugimoto, Aaron Siskind, Bill Brandt, André Kertész, William Eggleston, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Aleksander Rodchenko, Alfred Steiglitz or many, many others. This is a pretty broad array of 20th century photographers that have each done some amazing abstract work in addition to more concrete pieces.

As I started putting my thoughts together, I realized that it's hard to think of historically significant photographers, going back to Atget, that have not worked with abstraction in their images. Especially street and landscape photographers. Photojournalists tend to reduce abstraction, but even in the work of Capa, Cartier-Bresson, Martin Parr and others, there are elements of minimalism, blur, and general compositions that sometimes lean toward abstraction. I'd recommended grabbing a survey of photography like this one to get a feel for some images and some of the language that an author uses to discuss each style/ technique. Books like this are on the shelves at most libraries (I mostly use my library card to get 'picture books' these days).

And, I agree that Google doesn't do a good job of pointing someone toward historically relevant or significant (or even interesting) photographers. I don't have a better search method other than to say try off line. Museums, libraries, or professional photo stores are still the best starting points for understanding things related to the artistic side of photography.

u/Popocuffs · 3 pointsr/photography

Robert Capa is my hero. I highly recommend his memoir, Slightly Out of Focus.

At some point, John Steinbeck shows up needing help finishing 3 bottles of Algerian schnapps and Ernest Hemmingway ends up in the hospital after a party. Now and then, Robert Capa takes pictures.

u/experts_never_lie · 3 pointsr/photography

If you're interested in examples of this, check out The Commissar Vanishes [amazon]

And here's the titular vanishing of Commissar Yezhov.

It's a fine companion to Nineteen Eighty-four, as this was Winston Smith's job.

u/guntcher · 3 pointsr/photography

If price is not a problem, Photography by Barbara London Upton is a very good book. It is easy to understand with many examples about almost any aspect of photography. I got a used copy for a few bucks at a yard sale when I was starting out, and it has served me very well. Amazon link below:

u/xbhaskarx · 3 pointsr/PoliticalHumor

One of my favorite books of photos is "The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin’s Russia"...

Amazon link

u/kuffara · 3 pointsr/IAmA

I always recommend [this book](} (its a college textbook, so it's a little pricey, but its full of information and extremely useful).

Learning how to critique photographs, as well as take critique, is the single most important thing to learn as a photographer. If you're able to critically look at a photograph and say what is successful and what is not, you learn how to criticize your own work as you are doing it.

But thats just my two cents. Best of luck! Wish I had the guts to do urban exploring, I've done some but not much.

u/mrsrtz · 3 pointsr/pittsburgh

You put the name in square brackets [ ] and the link in parentheses( )



u/Logiman43 · 3 pointsr/Battlefield

YES and YES! I love it

I'm passionate about old pictures and the history behind them.

I recommend the book The colour of time written by /u/marinamaral it is a beautiful book in the similar tone.

u/robotparker · 2 pointsr/photography

"The Photo Book" by Phaidon Press is just what you need. it's basically an alphabetical index of the must crucial photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries. it's cheap too ($6 used).

beyond that, here are some giants you should know about:

u/thelowcrows · 2 pointsr/gaybros

Is this part of this book? (I found this in the comments and looks like a real collector's item!)

u/66023C · 2 pointsr/ChapoTrapHouse

Would have been funnier with the pic of Kanye hugging Trump. Also I saw a book about Obama hugs today. Barf.

u/mtrevithick · 2 pointsr/photography

If anyone here was wishing they could have the photos (up to 2015) in book form, you can!

u/booksgamesandstuff · 2 pointsr/pittsburgh

These books are so neat. I have the one about Carnegie since I grew up there, and I actually knew some of the people in that book.

u/Octopifungus · 2 pointsr/running

Yup, coming out later this year

u/kanat1385 · 2 pointsr/Trumpgret

Don't know how much of a reader you are but this book was very interesting!

u/pfarner · 2 pointsr/photography

The Soviet Union was very committed to image manipulation. Flip through "The Commissar Vanishes" (or on Amazon) some time if you'd like to see what they were able to do back in Stalin's time. (far before electronic techniques, of course)

u/nksoulskier · 2 pointsr/pics

So glad to finally give him credit, but my high school history teacher in Rhode Island, Lawerence Verria, was the man who proved that the kisser in the photo was in fact George Mendonsa. He put on an amazing presentation on this in class when I had him and since then his book has been published. Anyone interested in the story really should pick the book up, it's riveting and quite good. I've posted the link to the book if anyone is interested.

u/prbphoto · 2 pointsr/photography

A t3i is a terrible camera for film.... /sarcasm

I recommend Photography, buy the 9th edition used, there isnt all that much difference. Or Hedgecoe's New Manual of Photography

u/Dr__Nick · 2 pointsr/photography

Eggleston isn't my favorite either, but he pioneered a whole style. This is probably his most famous picture, I think. I like people who followed him, like Stephen Shore who is also saying something about the everyday through pictures of banal situations. Check out the New Topographic photographers.

I am trying to remember how I picked up what I know about art photography. I did it over a while. I do remember using the Masters of Photography website a lot. Consider a survey book like Taschen's 20th century photographs.

As for Gursky, I think it's mostly about who he is. He's the guy who makes gigantic prints of scenes, and that has been judged artistically important. Similarly, Cindy Sherman's schtick is putting herself in fake movies or pictures and commenting on gender roles etc, and that has definitely been judged important. The art market buyer's, museum curators and gallerists judge what's important.

u/zetec · 1 pointr/pics

Pete's book on Obama finally shipped the other day -- it's on sale and is AMAZING. I got mine in (from preorder) on Tuesday. This photo (in MUCH higher quality) is included in the book.

(inb4 hailcorporate)

u/MatthewVett · 1 pointr/socialism

Another germane book: Have yet to read it, but I want to.

u/IkeTheCat111 · 1 pointr/EnoughMuskSpam

Hey Ben! Thanks for taking interest in me, but I know where this is going to go so I'll leave you after that :)

I haven't taken an interest in you. The reverse is true.

Before I go, a small point. Please, stop with your grammar nazi act.

Nazi should be capitalized. It's a noun and and the Germans capitalize all their nouns.

You should know that this is the surest way of looking like you are loosing any argument online.

""Loosing? Losing. You certainly just lost this argument. And I've never lost an argument on Reddit.

Especially when your own writing style is far from flawless (for example: you make a remark about good punctuation separating one from the mongrel races while not using the Oxford comma in that sentence? WTF I say, lol).

Oxford comma is optional. I've never liked it or used it, so I don't. It's not a hard and fast rule. It's style.

Enjoy the rest of your sad day!

Today I am looking for 14 modern Malibu girls to recreate this photo that is on the cover of a Malibu book I did.

The same publisher wants me to do Malibu: Past and Present, which is modern angles of vintage photos.

That's not a sad day, looser. That's a fun day, and tomorrow's Sunday.**

u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/EnoughMuskSpam

Because people pay me to write and people tell me I'm good at it.

Some very famous people, in fact.

People love this book:

I did a book signing at Malibu and met a lot of people whose work I like: Minnie Driver, James Remar, Steven Spielberg, Sting, Katharine Ross, Leonard Maltin - all because of a silly little history book.

26 books are not by chance.

This one was translated into French and the publisher didn't even tell me:

This guy reviewed it:

It was nominated for Sports Book of the Year by the Sportel Awards in France.

A book I didn't know had my name on it.

They were going to fly me to Monaco and put me up in the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, but I was in Hawaii and it was too far - 24 hours on a plane for one night in a hotel.

I probably wouldn't have gone anyway. so I sent the photographer. Lucia, who was in France.

She went with her dad, who was in Venice.

We didn't win.

A pity, because I could have used the 3000 Euro prize.

All of that suggests to me I know what I'm doing.

Having a book translated into French I didn't even know about.

And I had another one translated into German.

Meanwhile, you haven't produced anything.

Except mucus, methane, moaning and carbon dioxide.

You just hide behind avatars and whine at the world.

If you ever do anything remotely that interesting, you let the world know, will you?

u/Girlbrush · 1 pointr/OldSchoolCool

There's a book that came out recently that documents the post-punk/new wave/goth scenes of the 80s: Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace. It's full of photos like this, and highly recommended if you're a fan of that time period and subculture.

u/emperorvincentine · 1 pointr/askgaybros

Here are some I have seen and think would be awesome for the coffee table.

The new Butt Magazine book

The Joy of Gay Sex

*My Buddy World WarII Laid Bare

u/Extrasherman · 1 pointr/pittsburgh

Thanks but that really didn't yield any results. The first link has a great amount of pics of the city and it's immediate suburbs. The second link is all recent photos of Millvale. I'm probably just going to get the book.

u/beaniebugg · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Oh my GOODNESS...... I have had 3 textbooks that I need on my wishlist for awhile now!!! I am currently going to school as an Information Systems major and I will be applying to transfer out of my local CC this year. Here are the books I need!! Used is perfectly fine! Thank you so much for this contest.

Starting at $38!

Starting at $78!

Starting at $27!

u/HairyEyebrows · 1 pointr/MarchAgainstTrump
u/MyopicVitriol · 1 pointr/Seattle

Lets set a baseline:

If you all believed in debate on the merits, you wouldn't have to censor those who disagree with you. Communist history wouldn't be rife with the disappearances of political dissidents. I wouldn't be having this conversation here on /r/seattle where I'm subject to the rules of a local city sub after being banned from the sub that sends mental midget conscripts here to try their hand at promoting a system that relies on genocide. No, I'd be free to debate without censorship those who claim they have a better way. But instead of being able to prove your system on the merits, you'd rather hide behind banning those who disagree.

We can consider it a taste of whats to come if your ideology ever gains power.

I'm ready for that day. Are you?

u/MuskUberAlles · 1 pointr/RealTesla

Most popular is probably Images of America: Malibu. I get compliments on that all the time.

Most successful is The Shorebreak Art of Clark Little. He sold 10,000 copies of that at $100 to $250, and that's good for a book:

Skateboard: The Good, the Rad and the Gnarly was translated into French and almost won a 3000 Euro prize for Sports Book of the Year in France. They were going to fly me to Monaco and put me up in the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, and the thing was, I didn't even know they had translated it into French.

The hardcover versions sells for over $100, which is shocking:

This is the French version. I like the cover better:

Those are probably the big three.

Here's all of them:

u/PingsBings · 1 pointr/The_Donald

Incidentally, now this crap is at number 6 on the Movers and Shakers:

u/xnedski · 1 pointr/AskPhotography

Slightly Out of Focus by Robert Capa, one of the founders of Magnum. Well-written and, unexpectedly, funny.

u/javelinbiscuit · 0 pointsr/funny

My history teacher actually discovered the REAL sailor and woman in this photo, first person to do so. Many people had thought they discovered them, but they were wrong. He wrote a book about the investigation, called The Kissing Sailor, available on Amazon.