The best photography books for visual escapism

Two men in African tribal costume embracing on a bed.

Roy Rietstap, Amsterdam member and co-owner of the MENDO bookstore, shares his pick of coffee-table reads to feed your imagination

As told to Jess Kelham-Hohler    Images courtesy of MENDO (above: Pieter Hugo)    Tuesday 5 May, 2020    Short read

Perhaps now more than ever, our eyes are hungry for beautiful things. We have options – virtual art tours, pieces adorning the walls of our home, a scroll through Instagram to images of past travels – but for Roy Rietstap, the best escape comes in the form of photography books. 

As the founder and co-owner of MENDO, an Amsterdam-based bookshop, famed for its curated edit of beautiful books on art, fashion, architecture and more, Rietstap has a proven eye for images that provide visual indulgence. Here, Rietstap shares his pick of five books from MENDO’s award-winning web shop that’ll offer a welcome respite for your eyes, and your imagination.
A woman posing in front of fruit.
A photographic book cover.
Wolfgang Tillmans
A major survey of the photography from Wolfgang Tillmans, the contemporary German artist who revolutionised the medium of photography and became the first photographer to win the Turner Prize in 2000.

‘Beginning in the early 1990s, Tillmans documented the people and situations in his immediate surroundings in scenes from London, New York or Berlin, creating the portrait of a new generation in a style-defining manner. His shot for the Frank Ocean Blond album is one of the best covers around: simple, arresting and recognisable. It’s even more impressive that it’s recognisable as Tillmans’ work, despite his wide range of subjects.’

A boy carrying another boy in a wheat field.