I guess that I do not have to convince you that photography is my hobby number one, but believe me not the only one. As many other people I do have the desire to collect things, therefore I have decided to collect photography books few years ago. I started with more technical ones. Especially at the beginning when I was trying to learn the basics of photography. After a while, when I did understand the principles of exposition, depth of field and composition, I had moved a little bit further towards the books dealing with the essence of art and aesthetics of photography.
So that was many years ago, since than I have collected more than hundred books related to photography, landscape especially. Topic of the books was developing together with my photography skills and interests. In the early days, vast majority of the books was in color, but later on I moved towards the black and white. I still remember the book which was kind of a mile stone in my personal transition towards black and white. In 2006, I bought John Sexton's book “Recollections” and I was so amazed by all the beautiful black and white photographs, that I immediately wanted to try it by myself. To be totally honest, not all the books I have purchased were worth the money and after a short time ended up at the bottom of my book shelf. Unfortunately, that is the price one has to pay for online shopping:)
Just recently I realized that among all my books, there are only two authors/photographers to whose books I am returning regularly. It is Michael Kenna in black and white and Galen Rowell in color. Both photographers have something in common, both of them manage to capture the landscape in a way that we as spectators can immediately feel the mood and the atmosphere of the visited places. I do call them “photographs with soul”. I am not sure if I can describe it properly, but there is something special about their photographs, which makes them unforgettable. They have often very deep shadows and very bright highlights and you can really feel the grain of analog emulsions. I can imagine that in todays world of HDR and noise reduction those photographs might look technically imperfect, but to me this “imperfection” makes them so special that I will always find time and take them out of the shelf.
If you would like to see on your own what I am talking about, I can recommend Michael Kenna’s book Huangshan (which is one of the best photographic books ever published) and Galen Rowell’s A Retrospective. I believe that both of these books will stay with you forever:)