Holiday books about faces. Not all guilty of lookism.

Since coffee table books reign as popular gifts at holiday time, I thought I’d suggest a few that fit into the “faces” theme of this website. I’ve listed the most-recently published books first. Lookism rules in some cases (Lindbergh) but not in others (Arbus).

Images of Women II,  by Peter Lindbergh.

Choosing images that span 2005 thru 2014, the German master photographer features his black and whites from the worlds of fashion, society, and film. He includes Nicole Kidman, Tilda Swinton, and Kate Winslet as well as some famous men. (See Russo’s book for more men. Russo’s book profits go to Smile Train.)

100 Faces Coffee Table Book, by Freedom Rodriguez.

In 2013, artist Rodriguez visited Kenya to interview, photograph and capture portraits of 100 Care for Aids clients. Using stories and photos from these interviews, Rodriguez painted each of the 100 people’s faces on the cover of a worn and discarded book. These portraits celebrate the lives and stories of Care for Aids clients and represent the millions of people around the world who’ve been discarded by families, friends and communities due to their HIV status.

The Allure of Beauty: Women in Hollywoodby Karen Durbin

In celebration of Hollywood’s legendary actresses from the 1930s to the present, Durbin has assembled images of Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich as well as Anita Ekberg, Julia Roberts, and many others. Each page of this vibrant anthology radiates with provocative images of unforgettable faces  that have forever changed the place of women in Hollywood. A glitzy narrative accompanies a carefully researched, sexy selection of photography that captures the individuality of each woman.


Making Faces,  by Kevyn Aucoin 

Makeup artist Aucoin made a significant impact on his industry. The faces he has “made up” are stellar and luminous: Cher, Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams, and Julia Roberts. More than making do, making up is the art of achieving your own special look, and Aucoin insists that there are no hard and fast rules–except for the obvious ones, such as “Don’t put lipstick in your eye.” Thru his gallery of noncelebrity before-and-afters, Aucoin shows clearly how to use his fundamentals to achieve dozens of different looks. The gorgeous final chapter reads like a list of exotic characters in a play–the Vamp, the Siren, the Diva…Isabella Rosselini, Kate Moss, Demi Moore, and Nicole Kidman pose as these dramatic, splendidly made-up characters. (A paperpack for gift-givers on a budget.)

About Face, by John Russo.

The first release from boutique publisher Pixie Press Worldwide, About Face, is 160 pages of “handsome.” Top celebrity photographer John Russo (GQ, Elle, Esquire) spent four years on his latest project, capturing the manly visages of Hollywood models and actors. Utilizing obscure Type 55 Polaroid film, Russo’s subjects were shot sans make up in natural light, enabling the capture these stark, surprisingly arresting, stripped-down images…As if page after page of gorgeous men isn’t enough to bring a smile to readers’ faces, a portion of profits from About Face will be donated to Smile Train, an organization providing free surgeries to children with lip and cleft palate deformities.” –944 Magazine  


Revelations and Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, by Diane Arbus.

Diane Arbus redefined the concerns and the range of the art she practiced. Her bold subject matter and photographic approach established her preeminence in the world of the visual arts. Her gift for rendering strange those things we consider most familiar, and uncovering the familiar within the exotic, enlarges our understanding of ourselves. Check out Revelations here.
When Arbus died at 48, she was already a significant influence–even something of a legend–for serious photographers, although only a relatively small number of her most important pictures were widely known at the time. The publication of Monograph in 1972–along with a posthumous retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art–offered the general public its first encounter with the breadth and power of her achievements. The response was unprecedented.  Universally acknowledged as a photobook classic, Monograph is a timeless masterpiece. A quarter of a century has done nothing to diminish the riveting impact of these pictures or the controversy they inspire. Arbus’ photographs penetrate the psyche with all the force of a personal encounter and, in doing so, transform the way we see the world and the people in it.
Puerto Rican Woman photographed by Diane Arbus

Puerto Rican Woman photographed by Diane Arbus

Cleft Heart, by Karl Schonborn (yours truly).

Not really a coffee table book, but sure looks good on one. Order it through the usual Amazon and Barnes and  Noble channels, or check it out here along with other books about faces. (A paperpack for gift-givers on a budget.)


To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.

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