NEW YORK, N.Y. - As self-purchases, coffee table books may seem like pricey indulgences, but as gifts they're an easy way to please a connoisseur, hobbyist or wannabe.
Usually image-driven, often encyclopedic, consider one of these:
"Joe Eula: Master of Twentieth-Century Fashion Illustration," introduction by Cathy Horyn, image curation by Melisa Gosnell and Dagon James: An odyssey in sketches by the legendary fashion illustrator Joe Eula. He was there for Yves Saint Laurent's first Dior show in 1958 and, over five decades, also worked as a costume designer, stage director and creative director at Halston. Quotes culled from interviews included. Harper Design, $85.
"Study of Pose," by Steven Sebring and Coco Rocha: Rocha, a dancer-turned-supermodel, is known as the "Queen of Pose" in fashion. Here she strikes 1,000 of them for the photographer, filmmaker and digital innovator Sebring. Each page is one numbered black-and-white photo showing Rocha in a simple dancer's leotard and tights. And she did it inside Sebring's famous "Rig," an igloo-like contraption fitted with 100 cameras that shot her from numerous perspectives, all of which will be included in a companion app. Harper Design, $60.
"Cartier in the 20th Century," by Margaret Young-Sánchez, Pierre Rainero, Stefano Papi, Janet Zapata, Martin Chapman and Michael Hall: Glamorous and droolworthy 272-page history organized by theme in text and photos, with archival shots of Elizabeth Taylor and various royalty. In a slip box from The Vendome Press, in association with the Denver Art Museum, $75.
"Bill Duke's Dark Girls," interviews by Shelia P. Moses, photographs by Barron Claiborne: Based on an OWN Network documentary of the same name, the book includes more than 80 portraits of accomplished dark-skinned women with their first-person accounts of how they feel about their beauty and how they feel the world sees them. From Lupita Nyong'o to Toni Gaskins, a school guidance counsellor in the Bronx. Amistad, $35.
"Who We Be: The colorization of America," by Jeff Chang: A close examination, mostly in text, of the place of artists in culturally desegregating America and how views on race have changed over the last five decades. The book stretches from the 1963 March on Washington through President Obama's election and the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial. St. Martin's Press, $29.99.
"The Rolling Stones," edited by Reuel Golden, brief foreword by former President Bill Clinton: If it's large-scale satisfaction you crave for your superfan, this 13-inch-by-13-inch tome will do the trick at 522 pages of images, with limited text. Photographers David Bailey, Peter Beard, Cecil Beaton, Bob Bonis, Anton Corbijn, Annie Leibovitz and Helmut Newton are among the contributors, with a few Linda McCartney-shot images thrown in. Taschen, $150.
"Jimmy Page," by Jimmy Page: Visual autobiography by the Led Zeppelin guitarist, from his days as a choir boy to this promise at the end: "It might get louder." Includes the work of rock photographers, and personal and tour memorabilia in 512 pages. Genesis Publications, $60.
"All the Songs: The story behind every Beatles release," by Jean-Michel Guesdon and Philippe Margotin, consulting editor Scott Freiman: As if there's anything more for the truly obsessed, this 672 pager drills down to the genesis and production of 213 Beatles songs released in less than a decade, with photos and breakout factoids for fanatics. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, $50.
"The Art of Discovery," by Jeff Vespa, edited by Robin Bronk: More than 100 celebrity portraits (Jessica Chastain, Shailene Woodley, Jared Leto, Seth Rogan) and quotes in 216 pages describing important moments in their lives. A portion of proceeds will go to support the arts advocacy programs of The Creative Coalition. Rizzoli, $45.
"The World of PostSecret," by Frank Warren: It's been 10 years since Warren first asked people to anonymously send him handmade postcards with their deepest secrets. Since, he's received more than 1 million, travelling the world to talk about his project and lending them to museums. This is his sixth book of postcards (288 pages) and might be his last as he contemplates turning over the project to someone new. William Morrow, $29.99.
"Don Martin: Three Decades of His Greatest Works," foreword by Nick Meglin: More than 200 cartoons by Mad magazine's "maddest artist." There's an abundance of colour work, along with a selection of his posters and portraits. Running Press, $30.
"Rainforest," text by Lewis Blackwell: From aerial to macro, leading nature photographers — new work by Tim Flack included — bring the rainforest alive from Peru to Borneo. With attitude. "Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal," the book opens. Abrams, $60.
"The Gardener's Garden," introduction by garden designer Madison Cox: In 480 pages, more than 250 private and public gardens around the world are covered. Each is shown in full colour from several angles with detailed text covering their history and plantings. Organized geographically for gardens on five continents and 45 countries, from a 15th-century specimen in Japan to Versailles. Phaidon, $79.95.
"Vivian Maier: A photographer found," by John Maloof and Marvin Heiferman: More than 235 full-colour and black-and-white images shot by the mysterious nanny photographer who is also the subject of a documentary film, "Finding Vivian Maier." Maier's street and travel photography was discovered and her life reconstructed through interviews and the 150,000 images she had saved. Harper Design, $80.
"Camera Crazy," by Christopher D. Salyers and Buzz Poole: The cutesy history and specs of toy and novelty cameras, a term that generally spans simple plastic box cameras with fixed focus, limited aperture settings and a single shutter speed. Prestel, $29.95.
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