To peruse my bookshelf is to witness the dominance of one particular publisher, TASCHEN. Their continued brilliance in presenting both high and low culture ephemera via beautiful coffee table books makes them my go-to source for that ever-essential creative inspiration.
Thanks to their 365: A Year in Pictures range, we creative types can now indulge in a quick fix each morning before work via these somewhat biblical collections of photographs, illustrations, quotes and historical landmarks. I’ve been enjoying two editions, Surfing and Fashion: Ads of the 20th Century, which have proven to be more than just the novelty diaries they may initially appear, but brilliantly accessible and effective documents on their respective cultural movements.
Where Surfing offers a history of beach culture starting with engravings from 1778, to Duke Kahanamoku, Big Wednesday and the latest surf superstars, Fashion offers up vintage ads, illustrations from J.C. Leyendecker and designs from Jean Paul Gaultier. Of the two I favour Surfing. It’s film posters, cool surf shops and photos from LeRoy Grannis speak to my younger self and encourage ideas of dusting off my old surfboard; genuinely capturing the surfing spirit.
Each book successfully manages to offer several lifetimes worth of collected material in a brilliantly simple way, presented with TASCHEN’s usual flair. Diary or not, I can’t imagine you’ll find better collections for you reference library. Recommended.