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What’s On Your Coffee Table?

Coffee Table

Photograph Rick Audet

One thing I love about going over to other people’s houses is seeing what they have on their coffee table. I know this isn’t a custom the world over, but here in the USA you’ll often find a number of books on a living room or family room table. Often these books tell a short story about the owner of the table and books. What are their interests? Are they into art or stories? And how often do they dust their house?

Ironically enough, I don’t much notice the books on my own coffee table, mainly because they are on a shelf below the table, slightly out of sight. But they are books I keep there for a reason; when I’m in need of a journey from everyday life, these are the books that I want readily at hand to remind me the things I find important in life.

And being a photographer I found that all but one of my coffee table books were either about photography directly, or contained some amazing photographs that I can look at over and over and not get bored. And I assume other photographers would have some great books I may want to add to my pile one day. With that in mind, and because it’ll be a bit hard to visit all 250,000+ of your living rooms personally before I die, I’d like to ask:

What’s on your coffee table?

Sharing up what I have, in no particular order:

  • Magnificent Moments – Edited by George H Harrison – This book features some awesome photography and introductions to the many photographers behind the shot.
  • National Geographic On Assignment, USA – by Priit Vesilind – It’s like something of a “Best of” compendium of USA based assignments from the wonderful pages of National Geographic
  • Nightwatch; A Practical Guide To Viewing The Universe – by Terence Dickinson – This is the non-photography book, but a great guide to have around, especially for interested children.
  • Orbit – by Jay Apt, Michael Helfret and Justin Wilkinson – Another National Geographic book. Shots of the Earth from space that are simply stunning.
  • Antarctica: The Global Warning – by Sebastian Copeland – A gift from a brother, this book attempts to document the changes global warming is creating in Antarctica.
  • America’s Spectacular National Parks – Edited by Dana Levy and Letitia Burns O’Connor – This is one huge book!! Comes with many fold out panoramas of the great Parks in the USA. A great virtual tour of the Parks system.

Share what’s on your coffee table, especially if its a photographic gem others would enjoy, in the comments section below.

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Peter West Carey
Peter West Carey

leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

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