The best art and photography books to read this May

The best art and photography books to read this May

6 May 2020 - 16:33 BY Holly Black

From Butlin’s to the Belle Epoque, here are the best titles to enjoy this month, here are the best art and photography books to enjoy this month.


Theatre

Lewis Khan (Lostlight Books, £50)
© Lewis Khan


With unprecedented access to two London hospitals following a creative bursary, photographer Lewis Khan has produced a fascinating photobook that paints an intimate portrait of the realities of the NHS. It includes enigmatic portraits of staff and patients, stark footage of procedures and snapshots of the mundane aspects of life on a ward. Khan is donating the profits from the book’s sale to NHS Charities Together. 


Aubrey Beardsley: Decadence and Desire

Jan Marsh (Thames & Hudson, £14.95)


Discover the salacious world of Victorian artist Aubrey Beardlsey. In his short lifetime he established a controversial career, collaborating with Oscar Wild on Salomé and shocking audiences with his succinct monochromatic inkwork that was reminiscent of Japanese shunga and ancient Greek eroticism. To this day, his illustrations continue to scandalise, with a (currently closed) exhibition of his work at Tate Britain featuring several pieces hidden behind a modesty curtain. 


Lartigue: The Boy and the Belle Époque

Louise Baring (Thames & Hudson, £28)

Anna la Pradvina, Bois de Boulogne, 1911. Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue © 2020 Ministère de la Culture – France/AAJ HLAnna la Pradvina, Bois de Boulogne, 1911. Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue © 2020 Ministère de la Culture – France/AAJ HL


Jacques Henri Lartigue captured the world of Belle-Époque France with the refreshing candour of an adolescent who had discovered the joy of photography as a young boy. His candid images of Parisian life, in the cultural boom that preceded World War I, redefined the visual language of the medium.


Butlin’s Holiday Camp 1982

Barry Lewis (Hoxton Mini Press, £16.95)

© Barry Lewis


The eighth volume in the ‘Vintage Britain’ series pays homage to the distinct, no-frills fun of this celebrated resort chain. Lewis’s nostalgic images hark back to a time of amusement arcades, ‘Glamorous Grandmother’ competitions, chipper Redcoats and all-weather sunbathing. Taken while on assignment for The Observer Magazine, this is the first time his images have been brought together, and remind us of the joys of a very British getaway. 


Holly Black is The Art Society's Digital Editor


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