I’ve often referred to photo books as investments. When you think about it, a decent photo book is an investment. You invest your money and your time. The reward is the book, with pleasing images and, at the very best, inspiration.The inspiration to become a better photographer. The inspiration to push yourself to new limits. The inspiration to challenge yourself to new levels.
Like all investments, investments in photobooks are not without risk. Akin to the financial world, there can be safe investments and risky investments. It comes down to dollars and cents, really. There’s enough work from published photographers out in the webland, where a potential investor can get a pretty good idea of what they’re likely to get when they purchase a photo book. So, considering you’ve done at least a little research, a little homework, the only risk is in how much dough do you want to lay down for a book. Are you getting a good deal? That’s to be determined isn’t it? You can find great books under $40 USD, like Walker Evans’ American Photographs or Ed Templeton’s Wayward Cognitions. When you venture north of $50, a photo book best bring the goods. In both quality and quantity. Good examples here are Josef Koudelka’s ‘Exiles’ or the massive Garry Winogrand catalogue.