LadyKflo’s Best Art and Photography Books

Why list the best art and photography books? Does anybody even read coffee table books? Actually, an exceptional art or photography tome can change your life. In fact, the best art book in my collection did exactly that. Several photography books did too. There’s an art to coffee table books. Much like a museum curation, they’re all about selective choice and planning. There’s theme to consider and most of all, visual artistry. The best art and photography books execute their breathtaking point on every page.

I’m a minimalist. So, I don’t do collections. But my heart belongs to art and photography. Thus, I’ve got a mini collection of these glorious coffee table books. It’s a curated set of favorites that holds profound personal meaning to me. From the picture below you may draw a few obvious conclusions. For instance, LadyKflo obsesses over Tina Barney. Like many observations, this one belies a deeper truth. In fact, my adoration for her work goes beyond books. Learn more about this world-renowned photographer here.

stettheimer dollhouse tina barney photographer akira kurosawa tina barney alice austen judy chicago The met museum sally mann the body - LadyKflo's Best Art and Photography Books

Top Art and Photography Book List

But Tina Barney books aren’t the only art and photography books to buy. There are many treasures on my special shelf. Here’s a list with my take on each. I return to these books over and over. So, they hold value to me. Sometimes I seek inspiration and flip around like a browser. But I usually know what I want. These are the books that deliver. They’ve got the glossy gorgeous pics. Plus each book’s curation lends a thoughtful frame to the stories within.

Top of the pile position belongs to The StettHeimer Dollhouse for good reason. Housed within our Museum of the City of New York, this dollhouse astonishes. The museum specializes in telling the stories of our city and people through objects. This personal and real approach makes history especially tangible and intriguing. The Stettheimer Dollhouse sets the perfect example. In fact, a portrait of its master bedroom heads this post. Carrie Walter Stettheimer crafted this meticulous marvel over the course of her lifetime. Check out her exceptional kitchen in the picture below .

Carrie Walter - high society new york - LadyKflo's Best Art and Photography Books

Next in the coffee table book tower sits an old favorite. In fact, I’ve had it since the early 1990s. The Body: Photographs of the Human Form by William A. Ewing.  This book’s entirely black and white pictures of the human body. From exquisite to grotesque, it’s all here. I dig it for the historical quirks included. But there’s something for everyone in these glossy minimalist pages.

Some call Akira Kurosawa the best Japanese filmmaker of all time. No matter where he ranks, Kurosawa’s an artist. His films stun me with rich resonance. But they sometimes confuse me too. The Films of Akira Kurosawa by Donald Richie solves this for me. Richie’s a true scholar. But even better, he can write. The films make more sense thanks to him.

Sally Mann: Immediate Family makes some people squirm. I didn’t know why when I first met Sally. We went to the same college. So, when this book came out she visited and signed my copy. It didn’t occur to me then that children without clothes could be controversial. I only saw exquisite emotional photographs. Honestly, that’s still all I see in this book.

Night Blooming Cereus - photograph Immediate Family - LadyKflo's Best Art and Photography Books

One of my favorite museum exhibits of all time The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago astonishes. If you can go see it at the Brooklyn Museum, you won’t regret the visit. But, of course not everybody can get to Brooklyn. So, there’s this remarkable book. Delve into fantastic photos of a groundbreaking artwork with historical gravity.

The bottom book in my pile lays the foundation for a momentous art experience. In fact, it represents THE museum of the city – The Met. You may not initially want the enormous Metropolitan Museum of Art by Howard Hibbard. After all, downsizing is all the rage. I get it. But this book’s perfect for certain situations. Sometimes you want to see the greatest museum. But it’s cold outside. Your pjs and cocoa mug are calling. This book lets you have it all no matter the weather.

Best Book of All Time

But the truth is that my favorite coffee table book, art book, and just plain book isn’t on this list. That’s because it’s far too special to even go in the pile. I look at it all the time. It’s Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces. Click through to read about this iconoclast nun and her extraordinary work.