The Best Art and Photography Books To Buy This Summer

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Jamie Hawkesworth photographer The British Isles book
Jamie Hawkesworth. Image from The British Isles (MACK, 2021)Courtesy the artist and MACK

From English landscapes to apocalyptic raves, we round up the most exciting photography releases to buy now

Spike Island published by IDEA

Transporting you to one of the most storied gigs of the 1990s, this new book from IDEA documents the Stone Roses’ legendary concert. The event – held on the man-made Spike Island in Widnes, Cheshire, in May of 1990 – is billed as the night “indie rock met dance in the third summer of love”. Providing a visual encyclopedia of 90s British street style, the book’s irreverent pages hone in on the young people who made up the crowd of 30,000 fans, with photography by Dave Swindells, Patrick Harrison and Peter J Walsh, and Juergen Teller.

The British Isles by Jamie Hawkesworth, published by MACK

Jamie Hawkesworth’s beautiful 310-page book documents 13 years of travelling up and down the British Isles. Capturing schoolchildren and shopworkers, professionals and priests, as well as uniquely British landscapes, estates and cities, the new MACK-published title offers a warm and varied portrait of life in the United Kingdom. “The spirit of the whole book was never about trying to sum up these different towns, it was the fact that I could get on a train and go somewhere new,” Hawkesworth told AnOther last month.

Desert Nudes by Lorena Lohr

Best known for her dreamy, melancholic photos of the American southwest, Lorena Lohr’s latest project sees the image-maker swap her camera for the paintbrush, presenting a book of nude paintings which depict women “in dialogue with the natural world” of the desert.

American Protest. Photographs 2020-2021 by Mel D. Cole, published by Damiani

Mel D. Cole’s moving new book documents the Black Lives Matter protests which swept America last year in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. “Shooting the Black Lives Matter movement is the most important work of my entire life,” says Cole. The book is shot in a black-and-white documentary style, inspired by photographs of civil rights events in the 1960s. “It meant the world to me to document and do this service. This is what I have, this is what I can bring to the table, and it’s my eye, my platform to tell the stories.”

Jean by Alastair McKimm

This fashion filled new zine from the editor-in-chief of i-D, Alastair McKimm, celebrates the creative potential of denim. Entitled Jean, the publication features an array of denim-centric imagery by some of the industry’s best-known photographers, including Willy Vanderperre, Inez & Vinoodh, Mario Sorrenti, Craig McDean, David Sims, Julien Martinez Leclerc, Paolo Roversi, and many more.

Commission by Katsu Naito and by Jason Rider

Marking the debut of Commission’s first menswear collection, founders and designers Dylan Cao, Huy Luong and Jin Kay teamed up with New York-based photographer Katsu Naito and stylist Jason Rider on a beautiful black-and-white photography book, which stars a cast of all-Asian, streetcast men. All the proceeds from the book’s sales will help support APEX for Youth and AALDEF.

Summer, Farewell by Joanna Wzorek

Shot in summer of 2020, just after the first lockdown of last year lifted, Joanna Wzorek’s sun-soaked zine Summer, Farewell is an ode to Poland and the country’s rich natural beauty. “Most of it was shot in the countryside,” the photographer told us last month. “I just visited friends … and we did a little road trip in the car, going through and noticing things through the windows. It was quite spontaneous and actually a very joyful experience.” 

New York New York by Marie Tomanova, published by Hatje Cantz Verlag

Hailing from a small town in the Czech Republic, Marie Tomanova’s photography explores “displacement, place, community, self, and memory” through the lens of American youth culture. Her latest book, New York New York, focuses on youth in America’s cultural epicenter, documenting the wild nights and carefree days of the city’s young people in Tomanova’s vivid, spontaneous style.

Lizard Point ’99 by Luke Overin and Jerry O’Driscoll

Luke Overin and Jerry O’Driscoll’s book Lizard Point ’99 captures a drug-fuelled, end-of-the-world-style rave in Cornwall, which took place in the final months of the last millennium, during a once-in-lifetime solar eclipse. O’Driscoll’s photographs of the apocalyptic 1999 rave were published last month, after being left untouched in his attic for over 20 years.

Material by Jet Swan, published by Loose Joints

Yorkshire-born artist Jet Swan’s debut photography book, Material, compiles eerily beautiful portraits of strangers, which were taken over a three year period in temporary studio spaces across the UK. Melding street photography with Swan’s inky, intimate style, the book’s piercing portraits explore the tension between our public and private inner lives. 

Vacation by Judith Black, published by Stanley Barker Books

Judith Black’s tender book Vacation captures a 1986 roadtrip across America with her four children. Rather than documenting America itself, the title provides a loving snapshot of moments shared between family and friends on the road, through the landscapes of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and places in between. “Sweet memories and histories embedded in each photograph,” says the photographer of the book.