My Reference Library
Collecting cameras leads to all kinds of printed material: Instruction Books, Advertisments, Registration Forms, Boxes, even original Bills of Sale. So what do you do with this stuff? Well, my Canon Library is the answer. These are good sources of information and instruction and they are part of the back story to any collection. So, like the cameras, when I come across this stuff, and it does not offend copyright (with the possible exception of Canon’s – but look at the free advertising they get!) or trade on the work of another, I will scan and post these things right here in the Library. Again, I caution you to be patient. I am creating this site live on the internet so you can watch every step and view incomplete pages. It is easier for me and keeps you the more up to date.
I have a few dozen booklets in my possession which do not appear here. I will slowly be posting these here as time permits. I want to do really good scans which takes a lot of time (which I don’t have!). I am looking for more to include. If you are browsing here and you have some Canon material you don’t know what to do with, drop me line. I may be interested in it and if you send it to me I will share it with everyone in the Canon community.
I have acquired the following reference books on cameras and photoraphy, and Canon of course. I do not have rights to the material in these works and cannot reproduce them here for you. However, if you are interested, I highly recommend them to you.
Books about Canon
Peter Kitchingman (2008)
I like books. I am a reader from away back. There is something about the feel of a well made book; there is a sensuousness about it. Not everyone feels this way I know. My wife wants all those books “out of the house!”. But for me, they are magic. And this book by Kitchingman is one of supreme magic. The depth and breadth of detail, the illustrations, the physical presentation, this book is stunning. Expensive but all good things tend to be. If you are interested in early Canon lenses, this is the bible.
Canon Manual Focus SLR’s – A Collectors’ Guide
Eric Scopec (Hove Collectors Books – 2001)
Canon Compendium Handbook of the Canon System
Bob Shell (Hove Collectors Books – 1994)
This book is the finest discussion of the Canon camera I have found. The comments on history and equipment are an essential read for any Canon afficionado.
Lens Work III
The Eyes of EOS (March 2011 – 13th Edition)
I had just finished (January 2018) posting PDF files of the various chapters of Canon’s Lenswork III when I came across a new print copy of these collected PDF articles in a Kerrisdale Camera shop in Coquitlam.
This very handsome volume is a Canon publication and to a large extent is an unabashed 272 page advertisement for Canon EOS lenses. But it’s well worth the investment for any Canon lover. The book is above average in quality of paper, binding, photography: in short, a joy to hold and read. And it contains a great deal of useful information.
In particular, the section entitled Optical Terminology is a gold mine of technical definitions and explanations. Overall, this is a valuable addition to any camera library.
Leonard Gaunt – Focal Press Limited 1975
This is an instruction book more than a technical historical work. It covers cameras from the Canonflex to the Canon EX EE and gets into their accessories. Final chapters cover film developing and print making. Not a great book for collectors but I do refer to it on occasion.
Peter Dechert (1985)
Canon Single Lens Reflex
Peter Dechert and Historical Camera Publications 1992
This is another essential book from Peter Dechert with a wealth of information on the Canon SLR film camera from the Canonflex to the EOS film cameras. I refer to it constantly in my writing.
The History of Photography
from 1839 to the Present – Beaumont Newhall
This book, unlike 500 Cameras, above, is a history of the people and processes. Although it discusses the cameras, the pictures are of … well … pictures and the text is about people, processes and what those people thought about their craft. Is it art? If not, what is it? It is a wonderful discussion.
The Dictionary of Photography
Adrian Bailey – 1987
I found this book in a used book store near my home. It is a simple volume and yet the entries are profusely illustrated and very comprehensive. I actually think it is a good reference work although topics are not covered in any depth. However, the price was right and it will be useful.
Aperture Foundation – 1997
This is not a large volume but it is a great book. It has a short biography of Stieglitz and a large selection of his photographs with notes and statistics. The photographs are beautifully reproduced with a range of tone that reveals details in the images you normally don’t see in print. It is an essential read for anyone interested in early American photography and the early arguments about the place of photography in the art world.
From Adams to Stieglitz
Nancy Newhall – 1989
Nancy Newhall knew the great photographers of the 20th century and wrote engagingly about them. This volume is a collection of her writings about the pioneers of modern photography. It takes inside inside the people, politics and development of the art over a 50 year span of years. A great read!
Memoirs of a Life in Photography – 1993
Beaumont Newall was a 20th century photographic institution in North America. He was a photographer, historian and writer and he knew most of the great photographers of the formative years in photography in North America. In this book he writes recollections of his life and work and the people he has known. He writes in an easy interesting style worth several evenings of your life. It is a great read.
Stieglitz on Photography
Compiled and Annotated by Richard Whelan
I bought this book as part of my education on the early thinking about photography as art and it has been a blessing. Stieglitz is a little hard to read after all these years and the changes in popular writing style but the effort is well worth the effort. This book contains some of the foundational writings on photography by a giant in the field. It also contains examples of the work of early contemporary photographers as well as works by Stieglitz himself. Worth every penny!
Ansel Adams – An Autobiography with Mary Street Alinder 1985
If you love his photography, you will love this book. It is written in a folksy kind of way that draws you in to his story. There is nothing truly exciting about hard work, attention to detail, and a desire to take pictures, but still, the story is engaging. For anyone interested in the man’s art, this is the story behind the art.
This is one of my favorite books on photography. It’s a history of photography with excellent discussions about the early processes used to capture images. But more than the processes, it discusses how photography fits into the graphic arts and how the early innovators viewed this. It is a book I go to time and again for information and for just plain entertainment.
50 Photographers You Should Know
Peter Stepen – Pub. by Prestel
If I should know these people then I have a lot of reading to do. But, it is a great reference. The biographies are a little thin but for where each one fits into the history of photography this is a great volume. It is a great read and worth the few dollars I paid in my local 2nd hand book store.
The Picture History of Photography
Peter Pollack, Harry N. Abrams
New York 1969
This is a great book. It covers the history from the beginning and it is well written. Not only that but the illustrations are wonderful. and very relevant to the text. This is a book to spend hours with. Another valuable addition to the collection.
All About Cameras
I may collect Canon cameras but I really enjoy all cameras and their history. If I had the money, and the space, I would collect them all! So naturally I buy books about cameras. They are the kind of books you can pick up and flip to a page and read for a few minutes. And if you have questions, they are a place to start before you dive into the internet.
Not all camera books are really great and some are written without a deep knowledge of the subject. But there are some that are a valuable resource for my research.
170 Years of Photographic Innovation – Todd Gustavson (2011)
This is a picture book of cameras from the earliest models to digital with descriptions and historical perspective. But it is mainly pictures. And they are luxurious. If you are interested in the history of cameras, then this is a book for you.
On the down side, it does not discuss the people and events of that history. There is no consideration of the processes and the people that developed them. This is a book about machinery. And as a reference work, it is a good one.
Collecting and Using Classic Cameras
Ivor Matanle – Thames and Hudson 1986
This is a neat book. It has good information and history on many classic cameraqs. The photographs are interesting and the description of the cameras is engaging and informative. I have no trouble recommending this book.
Discussions About Photography
I have come across books that discuss photography and its effects on society and they make for an interesting read. Some seem to try building a philosophy of photography but they lose me when they go there. However, they are still very interesting to read and to ponder.
by Halla Beloff – Basil Blackell Limited 1985
This is a discussion of what photography is and how it has affected modern society. It is an enjoyable read but I think Beloff makes too much of the photographic process and draws to many conclusions about the photographer’s relevance in the world. However, it gives a lot to think about and is a good read.
by Roland Barthes – Hill & Wang, New York 1980
This book is a rambling contemplation of photography. It tries to define photography and create a sort of philosophy of photography. I don’t think Barthes is successful in this. The attempt leaves the reader unsatisfied.
by Susan Sontag – Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1973
This somewhat rambling essay ranges over the meaning of photography and its effect in the world. There is nothing here of interest to someone wanting to learn about taking better pictures. But it is a good read for someone thinking about the meaning of photography.
The Art of Photography
by Bruce Barnbaum – RockyNook Books 2010
I find most books on photographic technique to be shallow and less then helpful. They seem written to make profit rather than offer serious insights. This book is not one of those. The is a serious discussion of photography which I found to be interesting and insightful. And the pictures are really excellent.
Between the Eyes
by David Levi Strauss – Aperture Press 2003
This volume is more about politics than photography but it does contain some insights into photojournalism which I found interesting.
Collections of Photography
Being interested in the technical end of photography, which is where I started, I have been interested in looking at the work of others. It is not just to learn techniques for my own photography but just to enjoy them for themselves as photography. That said, I have been buying the odd book of photographs that aren’t about history or cameras or philosophy.
Working Light – Photographer Edith S. Watson
by Frances Rooney – Carleton University Press 1996
Edith Watson was an amateur photographer who took pictures in Canada and some parts of the United States from the 1890’s to the 1930’s. From the photographs I would guess that her camera was a common “Kodak” as the lenses were not that sharp. But she had a good eye for an interesting photograph. And the text that goes with the collection is engaging. A very interesting collection. I like it.
An Enterprising Life – Leonard Frank Photographs 1895 – 1944
by Cyril E. Leonoff – Talon Books, Vancouver 1990
Leonard Frank took pictures in Alberta, British Columbia and Alaska. He photographed almost anything that passed in front of his lens. At a time when cameras were challenging his work is sharp, fine grained and clear. He was obviously a master photographer. This collection of wonderful images is accompanied by text giving the story of the pictures
Pembrokeshire by David Wilson
Published by Graffeg 2009, 2013
This a small volume of B&W photography taken in and around Pembrokeshire in South West Wales. The pictures are reminiscent of the work of Ansel Adams and they are stunning. His subjects and technique are a true inspiration. A great little collection!
The Family of Man
Published for the Museum of Modern Art, New York, by Maco Magazine Corporation 1955
This book documents a photographic exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art in New York curated by Edward Steichen. It was a famous event and the show went on tour around the world to great acclaim. It was a major photographic event of the mid-20th century.
Julia Margaret Cameron
by Joanne Lukitsh- Phaidon Press Limited, London and New York 2001
This small volume is a collection of the work of Julia Margaret Cameran who was a Victorian artistic photographer working in the 1960’s and 70’s. She made a name for herself in the earliest days of photography when photographic technique was heavily influenced by the painters of the age.