Photography Books

Over the years, I have collected books filled with images that have moved me in a lasting way. I am sharing a list of them here. I will update the list over time.

When I arrived in Paris twenty-five years ago, at the age of nineteen, the city I encountered sang to my senses. My heart and mind were immediately stimulated by its light, vibrancy and texture. The French language entered my ears like music, and suddenly communication seemed not merely functional but a celebration of feelings. I quickly grasped that in order to understand Parisians I would have to speak French well; otherwise, I would never be able to get to know the beautiful, mysterious women I was seeing everywhere I looked.

Peter Turnley, An Affair of the Heart, (page 13) 2000

I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.

James Nachtwey

Why Photograph?

Today, I’m posting another in an occasional series of quotations exploring why people photograph. Is photography important today and if so why?


In a deeply personal way I feel an image is a poem about time, about “staying the moment.” Photography can defeat time. Images can keep the memory of a loved one alive, hold a moment in history for future generations, be a witness to tragedy or joy. They can also change behavior, stimulate understanding and create a sense of urgency that will move people to action. Photography is the universal language that speaks to the heart.

Sarah Leen, former Director of Photography, National Geographic quoted in Time

What Comes Next for American Democracy?

Yale historian Timothy Snyder has studied fascism in depth. He has written a thoughtful piece about the future of American democracy in The New York Times. Snyder explains that the past not only helps us to see the risks we face but also points to future possibility. He concludes that:

Democracy is not about minimizing the vote nor ignoring it, neither a matter of gaming nor of breaking a system, but of accepting the equality of others, heeding their voices and counting their votes.

It isn’t complicated. But at this moment, it does not sound easy.

Clémence Poésy to Anne Sylvestre: ‘Thank you for the tenderness’

Clémence Poésy marking the passing of French singer-songwriter Anne Sylvestre (1934 – 2020) on November 30th:

A beautiful, personal tribute from a great actress to a wonderful singer.

Clémence Poésy, juin 2019 Emscop, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Anne Sylvestre on Apple Music

Why Blog? – ‘You just might want to say hello’

“A blog is sort of like an exhale.”

What motivates people to blog? The late Nora Ephron (1941 – 2012) writing on HuffPost in 2006 explained that:

getting heard outside the world of blogs occasionally requires that you have something to say. And one of the most delicious things about the profoundly parasitical world of blogs is that you don’t have to have anything much to say. Or you just have to have a little tiny thing to say. You just might want to say hello. I’m here. And by the way. On the other hand. Nevertheless. Did you see this? Whatever. A blog is sort of like an exhale. What you hope is that whatever you’re saying is true for about as long as you’re saying it. Even if it’s not much.

Among her many accomplishments, Ephron wrote the script for the lovely romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally.

I hope to share other answers to this question.

Remembering Michel LeGrand

Ever since I was a boy, my ambition has been to live completely surrounded by music. My dream is not to miss out anything. That’s why I’ve never settled on one musical discipline. I love playing, conducting, singing and writing, and in all styles. So I turn my hand to everything – not just a bit of everything. Quite the opposite. I do all these activities at once, seriously, sincerely and with deep commitment.

Michel LeGrand

Michel LeGrand (1932-2019) wrote the scores for more than 250 films including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) starring Catherine Deneuve and Yentl (1983), a creation of Barbra Streisand.

He recorded more than 100 albums, with Maurice Chevalier, Kiri Te Kanawa, Sarah Vaughan and Lena Horne among others. Many performers covered his music including Frank Sinatra and Sting.

It’s remarkable that one person could create so much beauty.

The Guardian Obituary