Photography Criticism & Essays: Top 10 Best Books

Criticism & Essays

Discovering the best books on photography criticism and essays can transform your understanding of this art form. Whether you’re a professional photographer, an enthusiast, or simply a lover of visual arts, these books offer deep insights, compelling critiques, and valuable lessons. Dive into our curated list of the top 10 best books in this genre and enhance your photographic journey.

By Alex Johnson

Unlocking the World of Photography Criticism & Essays

Exploring photography criticism and essays can provide profound insights into the art and technique of photography. From historical perspectives to contemporary critiques, these books are essential for anyone looking to deepen their appreciation of photography. Each book on this list has been selected for its unique perspective, critical acclaim, and the value it offers to readers. Let’s dive into the top 10 books that will elevate your understanding of photography.

10. Photography: The Definitive Visual History (DK Definitive Cultural Histories) by Tom Ang

Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars 43

Tom Ang’s Photography: The Definitive Visual History is a comprehensive guide that spans the entire history of photography. It covers everything from the earliest daguerreotypes to the latest digital innovations, making it a must-have for any photography enthusiast. This book stands out for its extensive visual content and in-depth analysis. Buy it here.

9. The Photographer’s Playbook: 307 Assignments and Ideas by Jason Fulford

Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars 1,004

The Photographer’s Playbook is an excellent resource for photographers looking to challenge themselves with new assignments and ideas. Compiled by Jason Fulford, this book provides practical exercises that help photographers improve their skills and think creatively. Grab your copy here.

8. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography by Roland Barthes

Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars 606

Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida is a seminal work in the field of photography criticism. Barthes’ philosophical reflections on photography delve into the emotional and existential impact of photographs, making this book a profound read for anyone interested in the deeper meanings behind images. Order it now.

7. On the Water: A Century of Iconic Maritime Photography from the Rosenfeld Collection by Nick Voulgaris III

Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars 6

Nick Voulgaris III’s On the Water offers a captivating collection of maritime photographs from the renowned Rosenfeld Collection. This book is perfect for those fascinated by maritime history and the artistry of nautical photography. Purchase here.

6. Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs (-) by Henry Carroll

Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars 3,049

Henry Carroll’s Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs is a practical guide for aspiring photographers. It simplifies complex concepts and techniques, making it accessible for beginners. The book’s straightforward approach and insightful tips make it a popular choice. Buy it here.

5. The Stylish Life: Skiing by Gabrielle Le Breton

Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars 108

The Stylish Life: Skiing by Gabrielle Le Breton combines stunning photography with the glamorous world of skiing. This book captures the elegance and excitement of ski culture, making it a visually appealing read. Get it now.

4. On Photography by Susan Sontag

Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,179

Susan Sontag’s On Photography is a classic in photography criticism. Her essays explore the role of photography in society and its impact on our perception of reality. This book is essential reading for anyone serious about understanding the philosophical implications of photography. Order it here.

3. My America by Diana Matar

My America by Diana Matar offers a deeply personal exploration of identity and displacement through photography. Matar’s poignant images and narratives provide a compelling look at contemporary America. Purchase here.

2. Pictures by # the Stormpilot by Santiago Borja

Rated 3.9 out of 5 stars 45

Santiago Borja’s Pictures by # the Stormpilot captures breathtaking aerial photographs taken from his cockpit as a pilot. This unique perspective on weather phenomena and landscapes makes it a fascinating read for both photography enthusiasts and aviation buffs. Buy it now.

1. On Photography by Susan Sontag (Audible Audiobook)

Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,179

Susan Sontag’s On Photography is also available as an audiobook, narrated with precision and depth. This format offers an engaging way to experience Sontag’s critical essays, making it accessible for those who prefer listening to reading. Get the audiobook here.

Enhance your understanding of photography through these insightful books. Each offers a unique perspective that will inspire and educate, making them invaluable additions to any photography lover’s collection.

Check out other Top 10 lists about Photography & Video

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Explore the top 10 best books on photography criticism and essays, featuring insightful reviews, practical guides, and profound reflections. Perfect for photography enthusiasts and professionals.


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