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Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography, published by Aperture. Photography by Camille Summers-Valli, Set Design by Samuel Pidgen

Ten Magnificent Books to Add to Your Christmas List

Indulge in some escapism this winter with 2017’s best publications – generous gifts for loved ones, or for yourself

Lead ImageFeast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography, published by Aperture. Photography by Camille Summers-Valli, Set Design by Samuel Pidgen

1. Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography by Susan Bright, published by Aperture

In the age of social media, food photography feels like a decidedly modern phenomenon – but in fact, it’s a practice from way back when. Feast for the Eyes is filled with examples of such work by the likes of Irving Penn, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Martin Parr, ranging from beautifully kitsch still lifes and bustling documentary shots to irreverent self portraits and vibrant collages. Gifting it may inspire lengthy pauses before dinner, as your cousin-turned-art director attempts to photograph your plates – don’t say we didn’t warn you.

2. The Art of the Erotic, published by Phaidon

Phaidon-published book The Art of the Erotic appears an assuming (though elegant) volume, until its yonic cover is unfolded from the centre to reveal gleaming bronze pages. Erotica from throughout the history of art – some 170 works, the earliest of which dates back 2,500 years – takes centre stage here, with iconic names like Georgia O’Keeffe, Titian, Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois and Anish Kapoor featuring. Arranged in two sections – plates of the works in the first, followed by text on each piece in the next – the book is a mesmerising catalogue of sexuality depicted in art. A Christmas day conversation starter indeed.

3. Joan Rivers Confidential by Melissa Rivers and Scott Currie, published by Abrams Books

Joan Rivers was not one to throw things away. The comedian kept everything throughout her life and career, even famously filing every one of her jokes. Joan Rivers Confidential is a compilation of these mementos, tracing Rivers’ singular career through her scripts, polaroids, letters, notes, newspaper clippings and, of course, jokes typed out on cue cards. The scrapbook-style design of the book makes it feel something like flicking through a family photo album – albeit the most glamorous and witty one. We advise stockpiling a few of Rivers’ jokes for when those inside crackers (inevitably) fall flat.  

4. Catwalking: Photographs by Chris Moore by Alexander Fury and Chris Moore, published by Laurence King

Chris Moore has quite literally been at the forefront of catwalk photography for the last 50 years, capturing some of the most iconic fashion shows in the process. With words by Alexander Fury, Catwalking traces Moore’s extraordinary opus from 1954 to today. Moore has documented the evolution of the catwalk show from quiet and private presentations to theatrical events, and Catwalking highlights some of the designers who have created unforgettable spectacles over the years that have since become moments of fashion legend.

5. The Pedro Almodóvar Archives, published by Taschen

Watching films is a go-to Christmas activity, naturally, but when the television’s delights have been exhausted, The Pedro Almodóvar Archives offers its own cinematic respite. The Taschen-published tome offers unparalleled access to the famed filmmaker’s work, from photographs taken by him on set to introductions to each of his films penned by notable Spanish writers. Presenting the minutiae of each of Almodóvar’s films before going into detailed notes on characters, plot, themes and stories from production – many of which are written by the director himself – the book is an engrossing journey through his stylish and subversive career.

6. All About Yves by Catherine Örman, published by Laurence King

Many beautiful books have been produced about master designer Yves Saint Laurent, but the latest one from Catherine Örman, published by Laurence King, is one of the most charming. Nestled in its pages are pockets of little extras: reproductions of paper dolls and dresses (reminiscent of those loved and made by Saint Laurent); letters sent and received by the designer; polaroids; sketches; and invitations. Reading All About Yves feels like rifling through museum archives – a truly immersive read that will delight fashion enthusiasts endlessly.

7. Drew Jarrett: 1994, published by IDEA Books

Journey back to a golden era of fashion photography with Drew Jarrett’s 1994. Jarrett’s photographs were taken when he was living in 90s London with Glen Luchford and Mario Sorrenti, and working with the likes of Kate Moss, Stella Tennant and Corinne Day. Need we say more?

8. Keiichi Tahara: Architecture Fin de Siècle, published by Taschen

A mammoth three-volume publication from Taschen is a must-have for fans of architecture and photography. Keiichi Tahara chronicles the work of the eponymous photographer, who travelled Europe over five years capturing its finest examples of Art Nouveau structures. Over 500 of Tahara’s glorious photographs are reproduced in the hefty turquoise edition, a selection made all the more poignant by Tahara’s untimely death earlier this year.

9. Dalí: The Wines of Gala, published by Taschen

If December isn’t the season for wine-induced merriment, when is? Enter Salvador Dalí and his newly republished tome on the art of consuming wine, The Wines of Gala. Explore “the pleasures of the grape” with illustrations by Dalí via its chapters arranged by sensory reaction and by the artist’s own favourite growing regions. Take Dalí’s famed utterance as your starting point for a surreal Christmas: “A real connoisseur does not drink wine, but tastes of its secrets.”  

10. Fiorucci, published by Rizzoli

Cult brand Fiorucci turned 50 this year and has been enjoying something of a renaissance throughout 2017, with its relaunch and the opening of a new store in London’s Soho. Fiorucci is the Rizzoli-published book about the brand, edited by IDEA Books’ David Owen and boasting a foreword by longtime Fiorucci fan Sofia Coppola. Owen interviews industry insiders like Marc Jacobs and Terry Jones to find out how and why Fiorucci has made its mark on them, all of which is illustrated with the label’s irreverent and idiosyncratic imagery.