EXCEPTIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS tell amazing stories. Through images by and about people of African descent, a number of recently published volumes further reveal the personalities, places, cultures and issues that have captured our imaginations and surface others largely overlooked. Must haves for the photography enthusiasts on your gift list, these titles span fine art, documentary, and news photography.

“A Beautiful Ghetto” by Devin Allen, with an introduction by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and D. Watkins (Haymarket Books, 124 books). | Published Sept. 12, 2017

A Beautiful Ghetto

Capturing the Baltimore protests in response to the 2015 police killing of Freddie Gray, Devin Allen’s photographs went viral on social media and gained nationwide attention from mainstream media. This volume, brings together his documentary images of the uprisings and revealing portraits of everyday life in the city.


“Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives” by Dana Canedy‎, Darcy Eveleigh,‎ Damien Cave, and Rachel L. Swarns (Black Dog & Leventhal, 304 pages). | Published Oct. 17, 2017

Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives

This book expands upon Unpublished Black History, a popular project published in the print and online editions of the New York Times in February 2016. Further exploring never-before published photographs from the paper’s archives, additional photographs of major figures and ordinary African Americans and stories behind the images are included.


“Rediscovering an American Community of Color: The Photographs of William Bullard, 1897–1917” by Nancy Burns and Janette Greenwood | Published Nov. 21, 2017

Rediscovering an American Community of Color: The Photographs of William Bullard, 1897–1917

Itinerant photographer William Bullard’s invaluable documentation of the African American and Native American communities of Worcester, Mass., post-Emancipation and post-Reconstruction (1897-1917) is published here for the first time.


“Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer” by Amanda Lucidon (Ten Speed Press, 224 pages). | Published Oct. 17, 2017

Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer

Amanda Lucidon was an official White House photographer covering First Lady Michelle Obama for four years. Her new book she presents 150 images of behind-the-scenes moments and public events, many previously unpublished, along with insights about her experience.


“Obama: An Intimate Portrait by Pete Souza” by Pete Souza, with a foreword by Barack Obama (Little, Brown and Co., 352 pages). | Published Nov. 7, 2017

Obama: An Intimate Portrait

Official White House photographer Pete Souza shadowed President Barack Obama during his two terms. Documenting candid moments, private times, and highly classified situations, he took nearly 2 million photos of the president. This volume features more than 300, along with detailed captions from Souza and a foreword by Obama.


“LaToya Ruby Frazier: And from the Coaltips a Tree Will Rise” by Denis Gielen,‎ Joanna Leroy,‎ Jean-Marc Prévost,‎ with photographs by LaToya Ruby Frazier (MAC’S Grand Hornu, 160 pages). | Published Nov. 21, 2017

LaToya Ruby Frazier: And from the Coaltips a Tree Will Rise

Exploring a parallel to her work documenting the ravages of the steel industry on her hometown of Braddock, Pa., photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier trains her lens on post-industrial Borinage, Belgium, a mining region near her 2016 residency at Grand-Hornu.


“The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin with photographs by Steven Schapiro (Taschen, 272 pages). | Published April 28, 2017

The Fire Next Time

This limited edition volume includes James Baldwin’s text for “The Fire Next Time” (1963) alongside photographs by Steven Schapiro who traveled to the South with the writer for Life magazine. More than 100 images capture Baldwin, major Civil Rights Movement figures, and pivotal events of the period.


“Richard Avedon & James Baldwin: Nothing Personal,” writings by James Baldwin, photography by Richard Avedon (Taschen, 160 pages). | Published Dec. 5, 2017

Richard Avedon & James Baldwin: Nothing Personal

Former high school classmates Richard Avedon and James Baldwin collaborated on a 1964 book about the challenges and complexities of the American experience. This volume reprises the project between the legendary photographer and literary icon and includes a new essay by Hilton Als of the New Yorker.


“Lyle Ashton Harris: Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs, Selections from the Ektachrome Archive,” photographs by Lyle Ashton Harris, with introduction by Johanna Burton, plus 19 contributors (Aperture, $288). | Published Nov. 5, 2017

Lyle Ashton Harris: Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs, Selections from the Ektachrome Archive

According to Lyle Ashton Harris, his 35 mm Ektachrome images document “ephemeral moments and emblematic figures shot in the 1980s and ’90s, against a backdrop of seismic shifts in the art world, the emergence of multiculturalism, the second wave of AIDS activism, and incipient globalization.” The book brings together his photographs, recollections and years of journal entries, with written contributions from contemporary artists, curators, and cultural figures.


READ MORE about Lyle Ashton Harris on Culture Type


“Prince: A Private View by Afshin Shahidi,” photographs by Afshin Shahidi, with a foreword by Beyonce Knowles-Carter (St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages). | Published Oct. 24, 2017

Prince: A Private View

Afshin Shahidi met Prince more than two decades ago and initially served as the private visionary’s cinematographer before becoming one of the few people authorized to photograph him. Accompanied by a foreword by Beyonce, Shahidi’s previously unpublished images offer a window into Prince’s life and music.


Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style” by Shantrelle P. Lewis (Aperture, 144 pages). | Published by May 30, 2017

Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style

Exploring the intersection of black culture, masculinity, and fashion this volume documents the history of black dandyism and is rife with photographs of what the author calls “high-styled rebels,” black men with a penchant for bold colors and mixed prints.


“Sory Sanlé: Volta Photo 1965–85” by Sory Sanlé with an introduction by Florent Mazzoleni (Reel Art Press/Morton-Hill, 80 pages). | Published Sept. 26, 2017

Sory Sanlé: Volta Photo 1965–85

Sory Sanlé embraced photography in 1960, the same year Burkina Faso gained independence from France. His first monograph presents black and white from the two decades hence that “magnify this era and display a unique cultural energy and social impact.”


“Recent Histories: Contemporary African Photography and Video Art from the Walther Collection,” edited by Edited by Daniela Baumann, Joshua Chuang and Oluremi C. Onabanjo (Steidl/The Walther Collection, 304 pages). | Published Aug. 22, 2017

Recent Histories: Contemporary African Photography and Video Art from the Walther Collection

Through the work of 14 contemporary artists whose practices consider questions of identity and belonging, local customs, migration, legacy of colonialism, and their experiences at home and abroad, this book “examines the critical mass that has gathered across generations of African image-makers and lens-based artists.”


“Malick Sidibé: Mali Twist,” by André Magnin,‎ Brigitte Ollier,‎ Manthia Diawara,‎ Robert Storr,‎ with photographs by Malick Sidibé (Fondation Cartier Pour L’Art Contemporain / Editions Xavier Barral, 296 pages). | Published Nov. 28, 2017

Malick Sidibé: Mali Twist

Celebrated photographer Malick Sidibé (1936-2016) is recognized for his vibrant images of youth culture in his native Bamako, Mali, in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. This fully illustrated catalog documents “Malick Sidibé: Mali Twist,” retrospective exhibition currently on view at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporainin in Paris through February 2018.


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