There’s no shortage of beautiful, high-quality photography books on offer, but it’s always a pleasure to leaf through a tome and be transported to the time and place each photo represents. It’s rare for a photography book to consider the larger place of the work in terms of both the medium and culture as a whole. The focus is on the work and rightly so. “Photography Visionaries,” on the other hand, delves into the work and methods of 75 of history’s most definitive photographers—from Ansel Adams to Annie Leibovitz.
Author Mary Warner Marien (a professor at Syracuse University and 2008 winner of the Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writer award) elegantly balances the larger historical context each photographer worked in with more intimate insights. While there is no shortage of household names in the table of contents, some of the photographers are lesser-known. Marien sought to focus the book on those who took risks, weren’t afraid to make mistakes, and ultimately changed the medium forever—be it artistically, technically, politically or otherwise.
Though the 312-page tome is predicated on telling the larger stories behind these photographers, it also does a stunning job of portraying some of their best work. Gazing at images familiar and foreign, learning the story behind the artists makes their images even more compelling. “Photography Visionaries”—published by Lawrence King Press—is available for pre-order now via Amazon for $30.
Images by Cool Hunting