One of the pictures in The New York Times Magazine Photographs (Aperture, $75) is a shot by Reza that shows two women in a refugee camp studying pictures on makeshift stands as they try to identify the children they are looking for. This is only one example of the powerful, poignant images included in this vast collection. Compiled by Kathy Ryan, the Magazine’s photography director, this album represents work by all the great photographers, including Friedlander, Close, Leibovitz, LaChappelle, Sidbe and many others. What makes this volume unique, however, are the commentaries adjoining the images, offering the photographers’ thoughts on their work. One of my favorite pictures is a portrait of Orson Welles, about which Michael O’Neill writes that Welles “loved my camera—I was using a gigantic Deardorff—and he decided that he had to direct me and tell me where to put the light.” Photographs is an amazing collection.
Frequently on assignment for Vanity Fair in the past few years, Annie Leibovitz has given us some of the most spectacular and theatrical shots of celebrities, royalty, and world-changers ever captured on film. In Pilgrimage (Random House, $50), however, Leibovitz is after a different sort of spectacle, bringing her eye for personality and detail to the sites where literary and cultural creators did their work. The subjects of these photographs range from Louisa May Alcott’s writing desk to the tumult of Niagara Falls. While many of these places are familiar, Leibovitz has captured them in ways that renew their relevance.
Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Paul Strand are among the greatest photographers in the history of the art. Stieglitz was also well known for his gallery, An American Place, the first New York showcase for the art of modern Europeans like Monet and Picasso. He was an avid photographer as well as promoter of the work of other photographers. Among the images included in STIEGLITZ, STEICHEN, STRAND (Yale Univ., $35), edited by Malcolm Daniel, photography curator at the Metropolitan Museum, are Stieglitz’s landscapes, New York scenes, and portraits, including those of Georgia O’Keeffe. Edward Steichen, a fashion and celebrity photographer, was a friend and collaborator of Stieglitz’s. This catalog of the Met’s Steichen holdings also features his studies of the Flatiron building and of Rodin’s sculpture of Balzac. Paul Strand, who gained attention by being featured in the final issue of Stieglitz’s magazine, Camera Works, signaled a shift to a grittier, more powerful graphic style. What a treat to have so much in one volume.