Photography Books 

Recommendations by Tim Layton

I love to read, learn, explore, and apply what I have learned both on a technical level as well as creatively.  Books have always been a way for me to grow and expand my knowledge and then apply this newfound knowledge in a way that helps me achieve my creative vision.  On this page, I share the books that I have personally read and recommend every photographer read at some point. 

Edward Weston: The Early Years Hardcover BookEdward Weston: The Early Years Hardcover Book

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Often overlooked―until now―Weston's early photography is painterly and luscious.

"I thought this book was extremely well written and I walked away inspired.  I also feel like I learned some things about myself and some things that I want to avoid doing in my career.  This is an excellent book that I highly recommend." -Tim Layton

This is a book about Edward Weston before he was Edward Weston―before he was the renowned modernist photographer we know so well. His early years in the field coincided exactly with the height of the Pictorialist movement in America, and while he was never a typical practitioner, he did make photographs that borrowed themes from paintings and other media, and experimented with soft-focused imagery that sometimes looks more like graphite drawings or inky dark prints than photographs. He would later disavow the gauzy, painterly experiments of his early years, claiming in his Daybooks that “even as I made the soft ‘artistic’ work … I would secretly admire sharp, clean, technically perfect photographs.”

Introducing rare surviving prints from the unplumbed holdings of the Lane Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, this book offers new insights into Weston’s working methods and his evolution as a photographer. By taking a longer and more nuanced view of his early years, and by reinserting his first experiments back into the larger story of his artistic production, it reveals the variety of ways in which the paths he took as a young man led him to become the mature modernist master. Beautifully reproduced examples of Weston’s most important early work, essays explaining its place in his oeuvre and the history of photography, and a section dedicated to the variety of Weston’s early materials and techniques make this book a must-have resource. [Buy From Amazon]

The Albumen & Salted Paper BookThe Albumen & Salted Paper Book

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"If you are interested in making Salt or Albumen prints, this is the one book that I highly recommend reading.  Everything you need to know about salt and albumen prints is covered in this book by James Reilly.  The afterword at the end of the book was written 32 years after the first edition and I found it to be extremely valuable, especially in the area of conservation and permanence." -Tim Layton

The Albumen and Salted Paper Book is a descriptive history of the major photographic printing processes that were used between the years 1840-1895. These first 50 years of photography established a tradition of individual experimentation and craftsmanship where each photographer participated in the manufacture of the printing materials that were used. Albumen print and salted paper print were the ordinary, all-purpose materials of the time-albumen print is the second most common type of photograph ever made. This book describes both the technical information of these historical materials and offers the reader a very organized approach to this interesting process.James Reilly is the Director of the Image Permanence Institute, a recognized leader in the development and deployment of sustainable practices for the preservation of images and cultural property. [Buy From Amazon]

Ansel Adams 400 Photographs BookAnsel Adams 400 Photographs Book

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Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs presents the full spectrum of Adams' work in a single volume for the first time, offering the largest available compilation from his legendary photographic career. Beautifully produced and presented in an attractive landscape trim, Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs will appeal to a general gift-book audience as well as Adams' legions of dedicated fans and students.

The photographs are arranged chronologically into five major periods, from his first photographs made in Yosemite and the High Sierra in 1916 to his work in the National Parks in the 1940s up to his last important photographs from the 1960s. An introduction and brief essays on selected images provide information about Adams' life, document the evolution of his technique, and give voice to his artistic vision.

Few artists of any era can claim to have produced four hundred images of lasting beauty and significance. It is a testament to Adams' vision and lifetime of hard work that a book of this scale can be compiled. Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs is a must-have for anyone who appreciates photography and the allure of the natural world. [Buy From Amazon]