When the trip calls but the bank account prohibits, it’s time to decorate your coffee table. We found four photo-heavy volumes to last through your travel dry spell. If your bank account is really tight, you can always leaf through three (almost) entire books online. Click the link at the bottom of the description. Have a safe flight!
Los Angeles, Portrait of a City by David L. Ulin, Kevin Starr and Jim Heimann
Los Angeles is a misunderstood city — we’ll admit we’re still figuring it out — but that’s probably because most of us have a superficial understanding of what’s projected as a superficial city. The 572 pages of this weighty book work to get you deeper into the City of Angels; its nostalgic and often charming (see: cover) photographs guide you through its history, icons, culture and development in a calm, absorbing manner. It’s an ode, a tribute, but also an invitation to understand iconic L.A., all through images. Leaf through the book here.
Mario de Janeiro Testino by Mario Testino
Famous fashion photographer Mario Testino’s coffee table book is no high-fashion joke. Originally from Peru, Testino now frequently does work for high fashion ad campaigns and Condé Nast publications like Vogue and Vanity Fair, but before his fashion fame, he spent many summers of his early teen years in Rio de Janeiro, gawking at the “tiny bathing suits” and the “carefree and wild” young people of the Brazilian city. After so many years, he finally returned with a camera and a risque, semi-nude itinerary. The book is hefty and the photos are trendy, but the faces and unique poses of the Brazilians in these mixed black and white and color photos will leave you curious about the Portuguese-speaking population of South America (not to mention have you thinking about sand, surf and tropical drinks even in the dead of winter). Plus, you’ll find text from famous Brazilians like supermodel Gisele Bundchen to add additional points of view. This is a book for the ages — the kind your grandkids would buy in a vintage shop decades from now. Leaf through 166 of the 200 pages here.
Advertising can tell you a lot about a city, like the typical sense of humor, popular foods and how people get around. And why not narrow it down to the best advertisements in the world? In this beautifully designed hardcover, find everything from screenshots of Visa Europe’s TV commercials to images from the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation’s Asia Pacific campaign, all with a description on why the campaigns were successful and other interesting details. Leaf through the entire 576-pager on TASCHEN’s site.
Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips from National Geographic
This list would be incomplete without a tome from National Geographic, the touchstone for international, cultural and travel-related photography. The shots are consistently awe-inspiring and informative, and this book especially — a compilation of National Geographic writers’ most treasured trips — sparks some serious wanderlust. Aside from the stunning photography, what appeals to us most about this particular National Geographic book is its unconventional organization. The categories destinations are grouped under are not countries or even continents, rather subjects such as modes of transportation (“By road,” “By rail,” “On foot”) or motivation (“In gourmet heaven,” “Into the action”). As for the bits of travel advice included, we encourage you to do outside research to round the recommendations. Grab a pen and paper when you sit down with the book, because you’ll be doubling (at least!) your life trip list after flipping through.
-Tara and Karina for TKGO
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