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Photographers' Sketchbooks

Stephen McLaren (Author), Bryan Formhals (Author)

Logo markA Thames & Hudson book


From blogs to Instagram and photo-zines to contact sheets: how 43 photographers approach their work

Find out how Alec Soth constructs his projects, why Trent Parke relies on old-fashioned Polaroids and hand-made books, and how forty-one other photographers experiment with new and old technologies, turn their photo-diaries into exhibitions, and attract audiences of millions via online platforms.

This book celebrates the creative processes of the modern photographic era, in which blogs and Instagram streams function alongside analog albums and contact sheets, and the traditional notebook takes the form of Polaroid studies, smartphone pictures, found photography, experimental image-making, and self-published photo-zines. Each photographer presents his or her sketchbook: several pages of images that convey his or her working methods and thought processes. These intimate, oneoff presentations are accompanied by engaging interviews that reveal how the simple act of pressing a shutter can capture and express a fully realized personal vision.

Three essays by the authors explore subjects at the cutting edge of contemporary practice. Designed to satisfy the most demanding of image junkies, this is an indispensable resource for anyone with an interest in photography or the creative process.


Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • December 2014
  • ISBN 978-0-500-54434-1
  • 11.9 × 8.7 in / 320 pages
  • Sales Territory: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Improvisational—which is part of its charm....The notebooks of Robin Cracknell and Saul Leiter are delicate and lovely, works of art in their own right.” — The Literate Lens

“Gathers together the notes, research, and exhaustive preparation that went into some of contemporary photography's most interesting projects. From Roger Ballen's fever dreams to Viviane Sassen's controversial Africa photography, it's all here.” — SFGate.com

“What's most interesting about Photographers' Sketchbooks is how it bridges the analogue and the digital, both of which have a firm place in photography today.” — Hyperallergic

“Provides a behind-the-scenes look into the idea conception and through process of forty-nine photographers from around the globe.” — Feature Shoot

“To many, it might seem that the art of photography is simply a matter of going out and snapping pictures. But there’s a lot more to it, and there’s ample proof in the scribbles, diagrams, and other materials found in Photographers’ Sketchbooks.” — Slate

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