The Best History Of Photography Books

“What are the best books about the history of photography?” We looked at 12 different photography history books and came away with 139 different titles.

An article of words about books about pictures that are stationary shots of events in time. To be honest we aren’t really going anywhere with this, the list and the books on it speak for themselves, but going straight into a list can sometimes look awkward so that is why there is text here. If you enjoy early photography, collections of old photographs, the history of the craft, and anything else that has to do with the art and history of photography, you can find it in one of the books listed below.

Below you can find the top 12 photography history books with images and links, with the remaining 127 titles and the sources at the bottom of the page.


Happy Scrolling!

The Best Books About the History of Photography

12.) A Short Course in Photography by Barbara London and Jim Stone

Lists It Appears On:

    • Hongkiat
    • Moorpark College Photography

This brief title demonstrates greater emphasis on the most up-to-date learning techniques, allowing students to keep up with modern technology. A Short Course in Photography: Digital teaches readers to emphasize their choices in picture making by presenting in depth basic techniques of photography. In additional to covering the basic techniques of photography, this title covers the impact of computers on this important art form.

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11.) Best Business Practices for Photographers by John Harrington

Lists It Appears On:

    • Hongkiat
    • Popular Photography

A follow-up to the successful and acclaimed “Best Business Practices for Photographers”, this updated and expanded edition serves as an even more comprehensive guide to achieving financial success and personal satisfaction in your business as a photographer. Included in this new edition are sections on licensing your work, making the career change from a staff photographer to a freelancer, surviving an IRS audit, and more. This book includes best practices in interacting with clients, negotiating contracts and licenses, and business operations. “Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition” is the key to a successful career in photography.

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10.) History of Photography by Peter Turner

Lists It Appears On:

    • Art-Support
    • Open Learn

“History of Photography” traces the development of the camera from the daguerreotype to the computer-analyses image, from Mathew Brady, Timothy O’Sullivan and Julia Margaret Cameron to Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams and David Bailey. Illustrated with over 300 duotones and color photographs, this book will delight everyone who owns a camera.

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9.) Man Ray by Man Ray

Lists It Appears On:

    • Gear Patrol
    • Popular Photography

This text explores the photographic career of Man Ray whose fertile artistic impulse has made him equally celebrated as a painter, sculptor, writer and film-maker. Taking up photography in 1915 for the purpose of reproducing his paintings, he earned money doing the same for others when he went to live and work in Paris in 1921. This led to a career in photography ranging from portraits of celebrated artists, musicians and writers such as Andre breton, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie, Arnold Schoenberg, T.S. Elliot and Gertrude Stein, to the pictures using light effects outside the camera for which he is famous: cliche-verres, rayographs and solarizations. Alongside many of Man-Ray’s classic images, this collection presents a huge number of less familiar photographs, including portraits of Virginia Woolf and of Antonin Artaud and a large selection of erotic pictures. Most of these are from the collection of Lucien Treillard, a personal friend who worked with the artist over many years cataloguing and archiving his photographs.

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8.) Photography: An Illustrated History by Martin W. Sandler

Lists It Appears On:

    • Art-Support
    • Questia

Presents the history of photography from the daguerreotypes of the mid-1800s to its acceptance as an art form and more.

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7.) The Origins of Photography by Helmut Gernsheim

The History of Photography by Helmut and Alison Gernsheim
Lists It Appears On:

    • Art-Support
    • Open Learn

Gernsheim’s The Origins of Photography (also titled The History of Photography) is a standard work on photography’s history, made richer by Hugo Gernsheim’s long history as the world’s premier collector/archivist.

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6.) The Photographer’s Eye by John Szarkowski

Lists It Appears On:

    • Hongkiat
    • Photonlab

The Photographer’s Eye by John Szarkowski is a twentieth-century classic–an indispensable introduction to the visual language of photography. Based on a landmark exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in 1964, and originally published in 1966, the book has long been out of print. It is now available again to a new generation of photographers and lovers of photography in this duotone printing that closely follows the original.

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5.) The Photography Book by Phaidon Press

Lists It Appears On:

    • Hongkiat
    • Photonlab

This edition of The Photography Book, containing every sort of photography, from pictures of famous events such as the Royal Wedding and the first landing on the moon, to familiar shots by the masters of photography such as Bill Brandt and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

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  1. (Tie) A World History of Photography by Naomi Rosenblum

Lists It Appears On:

    • Art-Support
    • Moorpark College Photography
    • Photonlab

Naomi Rosenblum’s classic text investigates all aspects of photography — aesthetic, documentary, commercial, and technical — while placing photos in their historical context. Included among the more than 800 photographs by men and women are both little-known and celebrated masterpieces, arranged in stimulating juxtapositions that illuminate their visual power. Authoritative and unbiased, Rosenblum’s chronicle of photography both chronologically and thematically traces the evolution of this still-young art form. Exploring the diverse roles that photography has played in the communication of ideas, Rosenblum devotes special attention to topics such as portraiture, documentation, advertising, and photojournalism, and to the camera as a means of personal artistic expression. The revised fourth edition includes updates on technical advances as well as a new chapter on contemporary photographers. Armed with the expressive vigor of its images, this thorough and accessible volume will appeal to all.

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  1. (Tie) Magnum Contact Sheets by Kristen Lubben

Lists It Appears On:

    • Gear Patrol
    • Reframe
    • Tim Ashley Photography

Available for the first time in a compact edition, this groundbreaking book presents a remarkable selection of contact sheets and ancillary material, revealing for the first time how the most celebrated Magnum photographers capture and edit the very best shots. Addressing key questions of photographic practice, the book illuminates the creative methods, strategies, and editing processes behind some of the world’s most iconic images.

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  1. (Tie) On Photography by Susan Sontag

Lists It Appears On:

    • Moorpark College Photography
    • Popular Photography
    • Tim Ashley Photography

One of the most highly regarded books of its kind, On Photography first appeared in 1977 and is described by its author as “a progress of essays about the meaning and career of photographs.” It begins with the famous “In Plato’s Cave”essay, then offers five other prose meditations on this topic, and concludes with a fascinating and far-reaching “Brief Anthology of Quotations.”

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  1. (Tie) The History of Photography by Beaumont Newhall

Lists It Appears On:

    • Open Learn
    • Photonlab
    • Popular Photography

Since its first publication in 1937, this lucid and scholarly chronicle of the history of photography has been hailed as the classic work on the subject. No other book and no other author have managed to relate the aesthetic evolution of the art of photography to its technical innovations with such an absorbing combination of clarity, scholarship and enthusiasm. Through more than 300 works by such master photographers as William Henry Fox Talbot, Timothy O’Sullivan, Julia Margaret Cameron, Eugène Atget, Peter Henry Emerson, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Man Ray, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Ansel Adams, Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Harry Callahan, Minor White, Robert Frank and Diane Arbus, author Beaumont Newhall presents a fascinating, comprehensive study of the significant trends and developments in the medium since the first photographs were made in 1839.

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(Appear on 1 list each)


100 Ideas that Changed Photography Mary Warner Marien All About Photo
100 Photographs That Changed The World Popular Photography
125 Photographs Edward Weston Gear Patrol
A History of Photography: From 1839 to the … TASCHEN Photonlab
A Life in Photography: 1968-2008 Joyce Tenneson Popular Photography
A New History of Photography Art-Support
All About Eve Eve Arnold Gear Patrol
An American Century of Photography Art-Support
An Ounce of Preservation : A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs Art-Support
Andreas Gursky Andreas Gursky Gear Patrol
Ansel Adams at 100 Ansel Adams Popular Photography
Arizona Real Photo Postcards A History & Portfolio Jeremy Rowe Bored Feet
Art after Modernism: Rethinking Representation Brian Wallis Questia
Art and Photography David Campany Tim Ashley Photography
Art History and Its Institutions: Foundations of a Discipline Elizabeth Mansfield Questia
Avedon Fashion Richard Avedon Gear Patrol
Basic 35mm Photo Guide: For Beginning Photographers Craig Alesse Hongkiat
Believing Is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography Errol Morris Moorpark College Photography
Between Amateur and Aesthete: The Legitimization of Photography as Art in America, 1880-1900 Paul Spencer Sternberger Questia
Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light Bill Brandt Gear Patrol
Brassai, Paris Brassai Gear Patrol
Camera Lucida Roland Barthes Moorpark College Photography
Capa in Color Robert Capa Gear Patrol
Caring for Your Family Treasures: Heritage Preservation Art-Support
Chromes William Eggleston Gear Patrol
Classic Essays on Photography Photonlab
Collector’s Guide to Early Photographs Art-Support
Color Management in Digital Photography Brad Hinkel Hongkiat
Complete Digital Photography Ben Long Hongkiat
Creative Black & White: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques Harold Davis Hongkiat
Criticizing Photographs Terry Barrett Moorpark College Photography
Dassonville California Photographer (1879-1957) Peter Palmquist; Researched and edited by Susan Herzig and Paul Hertzmann Bored Feet
David Busch’s Mastering Digital SLR Photography David D. Busch Hongkiat
Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph Diane Arbus Gear Patrol
Digital Photography in Easy Steps Nick Vandome Hongkiat
Digital Photography Visual Quick Tips Gregory Georges Hongkiat
Drive Andrew Bush Gear Patrol
Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky Popular Photography
Extraordinary Everyday Photography Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring Hongkiat
Family Photographs: Content, Meaning and Effect Julia Hirsh Open Learn
Fashion Spreads: Word and Image in Fashion Photography since 1980 Paul Jobling Questia
Galen Rowell: A Retrospective Galen Rowell Popular Photography
Georgia O’Keeffe A Portrait Alfred Stieglitz Gear Patrol
Great Spirit North American Indian Portraits Edward McAndrews Bored Feet
Halsman: A Retrospective Philippe Halsman Gear Patrol
Handbook of American Popular Culture M. Thomas Inge Questia
Heaven to Hell David LaChappelle Gear Patrol
How to Photograph Absolutely Everything Tom Ang Hongkiat
Images of the Seventh Day Michael Kenna Gear Patrol
In Focus: National Geographics Greatest Portraits Hongkiat
Infra Richard Mosse Gear Patrol
Inside Amateur Photography Dave Kenyon Open Learn
Invisible City Ken Schles Gear Patrol
Irving Penn: Platinum Prints Popular Photography
Larry Burrows: Vietnam Larry Burrows Gear Patrol
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men Walker Evans Gear Patrol
LIFE 100 Photographs that Changed the World Hongkiat
Light Science & Magic Fil HUnter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua Moorpark College Photography
Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from t… John Szarkowski Photonlab
Lyle Rexer: The Edge of Vision: The Rise of… Lyle Rexer Photonlab
Mapplethorpe Robert Mapplethorpe Robert Mapplethorpe Popular Photography
McDermott & McGough : A History of Photography Art-Support
Mexican Suite : A History of Photography in Mexico Art-Support
Modernism Rediscovered Julius Schulman Gear Patrol
Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark Lance Keimig Hongkiat
Okavango Frans Lanting Gear Patrol
On the Margins of Art Worlds Larry Gross Questia
Paolo Roversi: Studio Paolo Roversi Popular Photography
Paul Strand in Mexico Paul Strand Gear Patrol
Photo Wisdom Lewis Blackwell Tim Ashley Photography
Photographers in Arizona 1850-1920 A History and Directory Jeremy Rowe Bored Feet
Photographic Portraiture and the Forgetting of Colour Smith, Lindsay Questia
Photographs 1970-1990 Annie Leibovitz Popular Photography
Photography Barbara London, Jim Stone and John Upton Moorpark College Photography
Photography – A Concise History Ian Jeffrey Open Learn
Photography (7th Edition) Art-Support
Photography Changes Everything Marvin Heiferman Moorpark College Photography
Photography in Print Vicki Goldberg Reframe
Photospeak: A Guide to the Ideas, Movements, and Techniques of Photography, 1839 to the Present Art-Support
Revisions: An Alternative History of Photography Art-Support
Richard Avedon Photographs 1946-2004 Richard Avedon Popular Photography
Say Cheese: The Snapshot as Art and Social History Graham King Open Learn
Seizing the Light: A History of Photography Art-Support
Shooting in Sh*tty Light Lindsay Adler and Erik Valind Hongkiat
Shooting War: Photography and the American Experience of Combat Susan D. Moeller Questia
Small Trades Irving Penn Gear Patrol
Sumo Helmut Newton Popular Photography
Survey Bruce Davidson All About Photo
The Americans Robert Frank Gear Patrol
The Best of Leifer Neil Leifer Gear Patrol
The Bikeriders Danny Lyon Gear Patrol
The Birth of Photography … 1800-1900 Brian Coe Open Learn
The Camera Ansel Adams Popular Photography
The Camera as Conscience Eugene Smith Popular Photography
The Contest of Meaning Richard Bolton Moorpark College Photography
The Decisive Moment Henri Cartier-Bresson Gear Patrol
The Digital Photography Boxed Set, Volumes 1, 2, and 3 Scott Kelby Hongkiat
The Early Years Andre Kertesz Gear Patrol
The Genius of Photography Gerry Badger Tim Ashley Photography
The History of Japanese Photography Art-Support
The Iconic Photographs Steve McCurry Gear Patrol
The Image Factory: Consumer Culture, Photography and the Visual Content Industry Paul Frosh Questia
The Lovely Sea View A Study of the Marine Photographs Published by Gustave Le Gray, 1856-1858 Ken Jacobson Bored Feet
The Man, The Image & The World: A Retrospective Henri Cartier-Bresson Popular Photography
The Moment In Clicks Joe McNally Popular Photography
The Nature of Photographs Art-Support
The Negative Ansel Adams Popular Photography
The Photobook: A History Martin Parr Reframe
The Photograph as Contemporary Art Charlotte Cotton Moorpark College Photography
The Photographic Essay William Albert Allard Popular Photography
The Photography Handbook Terence Wright Questia
The Picture History of Photography Peter Pollock Open Learn
The Print Ansel Adams Popular Photography
The Printed Picture Reframe
The Remarkable Carlo Gentile Pioneer Italian Photographer Cesare Marino Bored Feet
The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics Berys Gaut; Dominic McIver Lopes Questia
The Savage View Charles Savage, Pioneer Mormon Photographer Bradley W. Richards, M.D. Bored Feet
The Story of Popular Photography Colin Ford Open Learn
This is War Robert Capa Popular Photography
To Light Such a Candle: Chapters in the History of Science and Technology Keith J. Laidler Questia
Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography Hongkiat
Understanding Exposure Bryan Peterson Hongkiat
Walker Evans: The Magazine Work David Campany Reframe
Ward 81 Mary Ellen Mark Popular Photography
Ways of Seeing John Berger Moorpark College Photography
Workers Sebastiao Salgado Popular Photography
Young Meteors: British Photojournalism 1957-1965 Martin Harrison Open Learn


The Best Photography History Book Sources

Source Article
All About Photo Great Books on Photography History
Art-Support The History Photography
Bored Feet Photography history books
Gear Patrol 30 Awe-Inspiring Photography Books
Hongkiat 20 Books To Understanding Photography You Can Buy
Moorpark College Photography Suggested Books
Open Learn History of photography
Photonlab Recommended books on the History of Photography
Popular Photography 26 Books Every Photographer Should Own
Questia History of Photography
Reframe 5 Books For Expanding Your Photography Knowledge
Tim Ashley Photography Some Useful Books for Fine Art Photographers


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