Book Gift Guide 2016

Inventor, entrepreneur, and “proud proto-feminist” Berenice Abbott was many things in addition to a pioneering photographer, but Steidl’s gorgeous Paris Portraits 1925–1930 focuses on this discrete body of work; it’s reportedly the first in a series of Abbott titles, the rest of which can’t come soon enough.

A smaller series pursues the ongoing rediscovery of Saul Leiter, whose upcoming In My Room follows Early Black and White and the entrancing collection Early Color (all from Steidl). Ralph Gibson’s Political Abstraction (Lustrum/University of Texas Press) leads a pack of collections of abstract photos, which includes Ernst Haas’s Color Correction (Steidl again) and Prestel’s Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph.

Gregory Crewdson’s unsettling Cathedral of the Pines and Rocky Schenck’s swampily atmospheric The Recurring Dream are the opposite of abstract, suggesting endless possible narratives; in New York Sleeps (Prestel), Christopher Thomas conjures a different kind of story, producing B&W scenes of a city devoid of human figures. Lastly, Forgotten Marriage: The Painted Tintype & the Decorative Frame (Burns Press) showcases a 19th century portraiture trend that combines the mechanical and handmade.

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