Photobooks: An Addiction...


...or how loving photography made me a collector. My lovestory with (analog) photography has been a bumpy one. Starting out as a music-lover above all, I only fell in love with photography at the moment I fell in love with an art lover.

And as soon as I discovered that pictures could be more than mere images, I was sold, and went to the local arts academy to study photography. Unfortunately, due to external reasons (well, mostly the lack of money), I was not able to finish my first year. But by then, the teacher had already shown me some photobooks of his favourite photographers and althought I had have to sell my camera, every now and then I managed to buy a new (well, mostly secondhand) book.

Over the years I have collected quite a few and since finding a new job a couple of years ago (with better pay and lots of opportunities to travel), my collection is still expanding.

Credits: tumbler

It all started with Frank Horvat’s 1999, a daily report .
I found it in a secondhand bookshop for a very low price while I was still studying photography and was so impressed by this book, that I bought a couple of extra copies and gave them to some of my fellow students for free. The first time I spread analog love ;) .

Credits: tumbler

Through the book “Paris, mon amour”, I discovered the ‘old masters’, most notably Henri Cartier-Bresson, which in turn led me to discover the Magnum agency . Apart from several Magnum books which contain photographs from (almost) all Magnum photographers, I also own a couple of books by individual Magnum artists (Harry Gruyaert, Carl De Keyzer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Martin Parr).

Credits: tumbler

Another photographer who is a huge inspiration on me, is William Eggleston. Just as Frank Horvat in his ‘1999, a daily report’, William Eggleston’s pictures seem to be mere snapshots at first sight, but are so much more when you take a good look at them. The colour, the composition, the lighting: everything seems to fit perfectly.
The first book of his I bought was William Eggleston's guide , soon followed by “The Spirit of Dunkerque” (a commissioned book) and The Hasselblad Award 1998: William Eggleston .

Credits: tumbler

There was one book that fascinated me for a long time. Through a couple of thematical photobooks (like for instance “1000 photo icons” by Taschen), I discovered the work of American photographer Robert Frank.
I have been searching ‘The Americans’ for a very long time, and finally was pleased to hear that the book would be reissued a couple of years ago. I am now a proud owner of this classic…

Onto a more contemporary photographer.
Stephan Vanfleteren is a Belgian photographer which I discovered through his photographs in a Belgian newspaper called ‘De Morgen’. This newspaper always had a weak spot for photography and Stephan’s pictures always stood out for me. “Belgicum” is a book full of memories from the Belgium I grew up in.

Credits: tumbler

So I hope I haven’t been boring you with this blogpost. On the contrary even: I hope I have inspired you to discover these and the thousands of other photographers out there who have been very important for me and the pictures I take.

written by tumbler on 2011-06-13 in #lifestyle #collection-books-inspiration


  1. icomewhenieatcaponata
    icomewhenieatcaponata ·


  2. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    I love photobooks too but sometimes they are so expensive!

  3. adbigmilk
    adbigmilk ·

    One addiction at the time to me :)

  4. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·

    hahaha I love photobooks too :D

  5. katey_finley
    katey_finley ·

    Cool post! Minor correction: Robert Frank was Swiss, not American. His most famous series that you mentioned, "The Americans," wasn't received well stateside for years because Americans felt it was insulting for a European to publish photos of the darker side of their culture, e.g. segregation.

  6. tumbler
    tumbler ·

    As far as I know (but I could be wrong), he was born Swiss but later became an American citizen, so basically, he was both.
    Anyway, thanks for the correction and the additional info.

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