Photographers’ Sketchbooks


A refreshing and eye-opening behind-the-scenes exploration of the art of contemporary photography, richly illustrated with rarely seen works-in-progress from nearly fifty of today’s most original practitioners


ISBN: 9780500544341 Category:

Stephen McLaren, Bryan Formhals


Photography is so much more than pushing a button. It is a way of seeing, a way of life, a grasping of life. At the same time it involves an enormous amount of preparatory work, research, and trial and error.

All photographers – the visually restless, the diarists, the experimenters, the R&D obsessives, the collectors and the cross-genre free-wheelers – know this as they dream of future pictures and agonize over the next big project. They create speculative work that may blossom into something important, or wind up in a box under the bed – or its virtual equivalent.

This book offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the working methods of nearly 50 photographers from around the world.

In their own words, they present selections from their ‘sketchbooks’: everything from Polaroid studies to smartphone snaps, diaries, found photography, installations, zines, blogs and online photo streams alongside traditional contact sheets, photo albums and book dummies.

With over 500 images, Photographers’ Sketchbooks is a compelling insight into the ways professional photographers realize a personal vision.

Additional information

Weight 1874 g
Dimensions 21.9 x 29.9 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 November 2014
Number of pages 320
Format Hardback
Dimensions 21.9 x 29.9 cm
Weight 1874 g


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Stephen McLaren is a photographer, writer and curator based in San Francisco.

Bryan Formhals is a photographer and writer, and the founding editor of LPV Magazine.