The Photocritic Holiday Gift Guide: books for photographers

You can't go wrong giving a book as a gift. Here's a round-up of our favourite publications this year (and two from last year), which would fit the bill for any photographer. Books, not as tasty as cake, but equally lovely

Books by Team Photocritic

As much as we'd love to tell you to go out and buy all of our books because they're amazing and beautiful, that might be verging of self-promotion over-dose. Instead we've each picked out one of our books that we believe makes a great present.

the-rules-of-photography-and-when-to-break-them-1-rules-cover-976x976 Haje has selected his The Rules of Photography and When to Break Them. We're both fervent believers in the notion of knowing the rules so that you can break them properly, and this book teaches you precisely that, from why horizons need to be level and how to tilt them successfully, to embracing the grain from high ISOs.

The Rules of Photography and When to Break Them is available for £17.99 as a dual print copy and e-book bundle.

Surreal-COVER I've chosen Surreal Photography: Creating the Impossible, a whimsical trail through in-camera and post-processing manipulation to produce images that combine reality with the farthest recesses of your imagination.

Right now, Surreal Photography: Creating the Impossible is on sale at the bargain price of £9.99 for a print and e-book bundle.


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Artisans by Tim Allen

If you'd like to give a gift that will raise some much-needed money for a deserving cause as well as bringing pleasure to its recipient, do take a look at Tim Allen's photo book, Artisans. It explores the work of the violin-restoration, boat-building, stonemasonry, stained glass, and smithing professions in gorgeous black and white photos, while the proceeds go to the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society.

Recommended donations are £10. Details of how to order a copy (and more on the book itself) from Tim Allen's website.



30 Second Photography by Brian Dilg

Take the 50 most important aspects of photography, explain them using 300 words and one picture each and you have the wonderful 30 Second Photography, by Brian Dilg. It's a perfect book for any photographer: novice or highly-experienced.

30 Second Photography is available for £14.99 in the UK and $19 in the US.



Moodscapes by Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir

Moodscapes is landscape photography ramped upto 11 with beauty and wonder. You could just flip through it awestruck by the images, but Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir also shows you how to accomplish these gorgeous photos yourself.

Buy Moodscapes as a print and e-book bundle for £19.99.



NY Through the Lens by Vivienne Gucwa

If New York is a street photographer's dream, then Vivienne Gucwa's collection of images taken in, around, and about the city is a dream of that dream. Explore Gucwa's city with her, through her words and through her pictures.

NY Through the Lens costs £20 for a print and e-book bundle.



The Photographer's Master Guide to Colour by Jeff Wignall

We teach ourselves about exposure, about composition, about post-processing. How much do we know about colour? Enlighten yourself, and elevate the impact of your images, with Jeff Wignall's impressive The Photographer's Master Guide to Colour.

The Photographer's Master Guide to Colour is available as a print and e-book bundle for £17.99.



Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh by Eleanor Macnair

In autumn last year, we featured Eleanor Macnair's marvellous project, Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh: her Tumblr project recording the recreations of famous photos she fashions from Play-Doh, a pint glass, and a plastic spoon in her living room. Now it comes in a book.

Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh costs £20.



The Street Photographer's Manual by David Gibson

Street photography books are ten-a-penny. Enter ‘street photography’ into Amazon and the search will return 30 pages of results. When you find a compelling and practical but inspirational book on the topic, you take notice. The Street Photographer's Manual deserves a look.

The Street Photographer's Manual is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US for £15 and $22 respectively.


Gifts for photographers, big and small < < Holiday Shopping with Photocritic > > Gifts for beginners

In or around Cambridge on 8 November? Come meet Daniela in Waterstone's!

One of the questions that people ask me when a new book comes out is 'Are you going to have a launch party?' Once or twice I've even been asked if I'll do a tour. The answer is, for both, sadly, 'No.' That's not so much because I'm a miserable and dyspeptic misanthrope, but more because I'm not exactly Clare Balding or Tom Holland. However, (I do love a good however) in November I'm getting a one-date gig at the gorgeous Waterstone's branch in Cambridge that sort-of maybe perhaps passes for either of these events.

Daniela does smartphone photography at Waterstone's, Cambridge.

Yes, I'm rather excited about it.

That's Daniela. Alleged star of this particular show.

On Saturday 8 November you'll find me loitering on the second floor of Waterstone's, Cambridge, not far from the coffee shop, possibly ensconced in a fortress constructed of copies of Social Photography, extolling the virtues of smartphone photography. At 11:00 and 14:30 I'll be offering a free-for-all 'How to get the best out of your smartphone' session, while in-between-time I shall be on-hand to offer one-to-one advice for anyone with more specific questions or for those whose schedules conflict with the talks. And if you want a copy of Social, I can sign it for you, too.

Social Photo in my hand

Even if you're not that fussed by smartphone photography, do drop by if you happen to be in the vicinity: I'd love to meet you.

Salient details: Saturday 8 November 2014, 11:00 to about 15:00; Waterstone's, Sidney Street, Cambridge; me and quite a few copies of Social Photography.

Social Photography on sale in the US!

I've heard a rumour that my newest—and possibly prettiest—book, Social Photography is now on sale in the US! Naturally I'm incredibly biased (although my father probably wins the prize for most enthusiastic cheerleader), but I am very proud of it. In a nutshell, it's a guide to making the most out of your smartphone, from taking better pictures to sharing them astutely. social photo cover

You can go into a bricks-and-mortar store to purchase it, use your preferred online retailer, or download it as an ebook.

For people in the UK wanting to lay their hands on a physical copy, they'll be here next month. Of course I'll be sure to tell you when! That would be now! Woohoo!

'Social Photography' now available to download!

If you can't wait until next month* to lay your hands on a paper copy of my newest and shiniest book, Social Photography, it's available right this very moment for download as an e-book from the Ilex Instant site! social photo cover

It'll cost you £5.99 and comes in PDF, so that you can read it on your desktop, laptop, or tablet of any flavour, and there are more formats on their way.

Of course, if you'd prefer to wait for a hard copy, you can always put in a pre-order now. It'll be £9.99 in the UK and $16 in the US.

black&white spread

Naturally, I'm incredibly biased, but it is a terribly handsome book and if you're looking to get more out of your smartphone and your social networks, a fabulous companion!

* Oh the excitement! A very large order of copies of Social Photography has been placed by a well-known US retailer, to go on sale by the end of April. The UK release is being delayed a little to cover this, but it should be on these shores by the end of May. If you can't wait that long, you know what to do!

Selfies is now on sale in the US!

When Shooting Yourself went on sale in the UK last summer, Haje was ridiculously excited about his book devoted to self-portrait photography. Unfortunately, he was forced to put his excitement on ice for the US edition, which had a little longer to wait for its release. Thankfully, that wait is over and we can pop the champagne corks because Selfies is now on sale in the US! Photo 12-03-2014 09 54 16

Don't worry, the entire book doesn't comprise selfies of Haje. He does put in an appearance, and so do I, but there are gorgeous images from photographers Carly Wong, from Elly Lucas, and Callan Kapush, amongst many, many others. Some of them are dab hands with props, some are location shooting gurus, and a few even take off their clothes! It's full of tips and tricks, and ideas and explanations. And it's fabulous.

You want to lay your hands on a copy? Awesome! You can pick one up direct from the US publishers, HOW, from an Internet behemoth bookseller, as a swanky e-book, or from your favourite bricks-and-mortar bookshop.

It's World Book Day so we're giving away books to celebrate!

Thanks for your entries, everyone! It was just a one-day give-away to celebrate World Book Day and we're now closed to submissions. In celebration of the marvellous World Book Day our lovely publishers the Ilex Press has offered up some free books for Photocritic readers. It even includes a pre-publication copy of my newest book Social Photography which isn't yet available in the shops. How rather awesome!

To enter our little giveaway, we want you to do one simple thing: tell us what book you're reading at the moment. It's probably easiest just to leave a comment here on Photocritic. But you can enter via Twitter if you prefer.

If you want to enter via Twitter, send a tweet to me (@SmallAperture), Haje (@Photocritic), or Ilex (@Ilex_Photo) and include the hashtags #WorldBookDay and #IlexGiveaway. (We'll need the hashtags to collate the entries, so don't forget them!)

Winners will be selected at random. I'll stick a pin in a list or something.

Anyway, to get the ball rolling, I'm currently reading Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson. It's hilarious.

After the competition, here's how the cover of Social Photography looks

In November last year we ran a competition, together with the Ilex Press, to find a photo to add to the front cover mosaic of my forthcoming book, Social Photography. So many fantastic entries were submitted to the pool that we found ourselves selecting two winners, who were announced in December. After a little rearrangement by Kate the Designer, there's now a gorgeous final version of the cover! social photography cover

In case you're wondering, Elisa's photo is in the top left corner, the very first image on the cover; Ben's is the third image down in the fifth column across. It's definitely worth checking out their Flickr streams, too!

Your photo on the cover of a book?

Fancy a go? My newest book is due, many-things-but-mostly-the-weather-permitting*, to be published in April next year. Apart from me signing off on the final proofs, its publishers, the Ilex Press, and I have one outstanding task to complete: selecting a final image to include on the book's front cover mosaic. Seeing as the book is dedicated to the phenomenon of social photography, we—or rather Adam, the Associate Publisher at Ilex—couldn't think of a better means of finding the perfect fit than to ask you if you've an image that you would be proud to see gracing the cover of an internationally published book.

As well as having your picture on the front of the book, you'd receive a copy of it (when it's released) as part of your prize. If you're very lucky, Ilex might have something else up its sleeve for you, too.

On a need-to-know basis, you need to know that you have between now and Monday 2 December 2013 to submit an image to the special Ilex Social Photo Flickr pool. The photo must be square format and you must own the copyright to it. The winner will be selected by me and the Ilex Photo team and announced on Friday 6 December 2013. Importantly, you will retain all rights to your image and it will only be used by Ilex on the cover of the Social Photography book and for the purposes of promoting the competition.

If you've any other questions, holler. Otherwise: good luck!

* Delivery of my book Surreal Photography: Creating the Impossible was delayed by a typhoon in the South China Seas earlier this year. More recently, several containers of books were lost to the waves as a result of storms. The loss of books is in no way comparable to the loss of lives, this merely serves to illustrate why we don't have accurate delivery dates.

'Vietnam: The Real War' - a book of 300 seminal images from the Associated Press

The Vietnam War is sometimes referred to as the 'last newspaper war' - there were TV news reporters there, but their cameras weren't as discreet and portable as 35mm stills cameras and we didn't yet have rolling news coverage. The conflict's iconic images were seen in print, and iconic they were. Many of them are immediately recognisable even if you never saw them on the day that they were published. The Associated Press had over 50 photographers posted to Vietnam, four of whom won Pulitzer prizes for their coverage. Their images documented the war from positions of unequalled battlefront access and today, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the conflict, 300 of their images are being published in a new book: Vietnam: The Real War.

In the first of a series of fiery suicides by Buddhist monks, Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death on a Saigon street to protest persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government, June 11, 1963. (AP Photo/Malcolm Browne)

Fifty years on, even after seeing them so many times, these images never fail to shock, horrify, or give you cause to reflect. The collection includes Malcolm Brown's photo of a Buddhist monk self-immolating on a Saigon street in 1963. It was this image, supposedly, that prompted President John F. Kennedy to say: 'We’ve got to do something about that regime.' And there's Nick Ut's photo of a scorched, naked girl fleeing a napalm attack, the veracity of which President Richard Nixon allegedly questioned. Showing the impact of the war on civilians, soldiers, and rebels, the book is a testimony to the power of conflict reporting.

An unidentified American soldier wears a hand-lettered slogan on his helmet, June 1965. The soldier was serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade on defense duty at the Phuoc Vinh airfield. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

The book's introduction is by Pete Hammill, who reported from Vietnam in 1965. 'Across the years of the war in Vietnam, the AP photographers saw more combat than any general,' he says. 'This book shows how good they were. As a young reporter, I had learned much from photographers about how to see, not merely look. From Vietnam, photographers taught the world how to see the war.'

A woman mourns over the body of her husband after identifying him by his teeth, and covering his head with her conical hat. The man’s body was found with forty-seven others in a mass grave near Hue, April 11, 1969. The victims were believed killed during the insurgent occupation of Hue as part of the Tet Offensive. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

Vietnam: The Real War is available to buy from Amazon for £24.99