Christmas gift ideas - the best photography books of the year

Need some Christmas gift ideas? Here's a selection of our favourite photography books from 2013

Best photography books

A perfect gift or a treat for yourself, a quality photography book can be a great source of inspiration. Here are our favourites from the year

One of life's greatest pleasures is sitting down with a book filled with inspirational photography. There's something deeply satisfying about opening the cover and flicking through page after page of beautifully printed imagery on fine quality paper, with the smell of ink wafting through the nostrils. The internet is great for photo browsing, but a book is a tangible piece of art, that will still be around long after you've forgotten the name of that website you saw with the lovely photos.

This year some fantastic books have arrived in the WDC offices, many of which would make great Christmas gifts, either for yourself or someone else. Here are a few of our favourites, by some of the world's most talented photographers, and covering a diverse range of genres. Which one would you like to see under your tree this year?

The Masters of Nature photography - photography bookThe Masters of Nature Photography

Various

£30 Natural History Museum

Wildlife Photographer of the Year presents the very best of nature photography in this book. With contributions from ten of the best nature photographers, including the likes of Jim Brandenburg, Frans Lanting and Paul Nicklen, each portfolio provides profiles, influences and aims from each. This is accompanied by ten iconic images that reflect their work best, with the accompanying captions offering a little insight into why these images are so special to them. This is a must if you want to understand and explore the lengths these skilled shooters go to in order to get these breathtaking shots.

The Lifeboat: Courage On Our Coasts - photography bookThe Lifeboat: Courage On Our Coasts

Nigel Millard & Huw Lewis-Jones

£25 Conway Publishing

The result of two years' work by Nigel Millard - an RNLI lifeboat crew member and professional photographer. Offering a unique eyewitness insight into the full scope of the RNLI, the book studies RNLI stations and lifeguard units across the country, portraying the lifesaving work members of the institution carry out on a daily basis, even in the toughest of conditions. Inspiring stuff.

Brassaï: Paris Nocturne - photography bookBrassaï: Paris Nocturne

Sylvie Aubenas/Quentin Bajac

£48 Thames & Hudson


Renowned for documenting the rarely seen world of Paris after dark in the 1930s, Brasssï's images allow us to peer into a world of bustling cafés and dance halls to the stillness of deserted streets and mist-shrouded monuments. A wonderful collection of photographs of Paris nightlife and while offering a rare glimpse into a lost past, they have a timeless quality that will no doubt appeal to all.  

Sony World Photography Awards 2013 - photography bookSony World Photography Awards 2013

Various

£29.95 WPO

This book features all the winners from The Sony World Photography Awards, combining to form a varied and visually arresting collection of images.

Untold: The stories behind the photographs - photography bookUntold: The stories behind the photographs

Steve McCurry

£39.95 phaidon

As well as keeping every copy of the magazine or newspaper his images first appear in, Steve McCurry has kept his own personal journals, train tickets, maps, press passes and itineraries from his assignments. Over 1,000 of these items have been scanned to bring to life the extraordinary stories behind over 200 of McCurry's most iconic photographs.

This book offers a fascinating insight into the life of this prolific photographer over the past 30 years.

Terry O'neill - photography bookTerry O'neill

Terry O'Neill

£55 Acc Editions

For the past six decades Terry O'Neill has captured the iconic, candid and unguarded moments of the famous and notorious. A mix of both mono and colour imagery, this beautifully printed book shows a man who has been at the top of his game for the past 60 years.

The Great war - photography bookThe Great War

Mark Holborn/Hilary Roberts

£40 Jonathan Cape

With images compiled from the nearly half a million images of the First World War held by the Imperial War Museums, this is the first time a single visual narrative has been created. Showing the changing nature of photography, it also shows the extreme depth of the human loss incurred.

A Year In Photography - photography bookA Year In Photography

Magnum Photos

£19.99 Prestel

This book showcases the shining beacons of photography over the past 60 years. Containing 365 iconic works from some of the most famous and respected photographers from all over the world, this is a captivating insight into the Magnum archives and one of the best photo books of the year.


Genesis - photography bookGenesis

Sebastião Salgado

£44.99 taschen

This beautifully produced book by TASCHEN features the work of one of the greatest living photographers, Sebastião Salgado, and is an attempt to document a world still untouched by mankind. Covering over 30 countries, the mono imagery is simply breathtaking and highly recommended.