We're closing in on the end of the list, and it's been difficult to arrange the last three entries. Now remember, these are just the ten best photography books on MY shelf, not ANYWHERE. I certainly don't own every photography book ever published.
#3 - Ansel Adams at 100 - John Szarkowski
Released on the 100 year anniversary of Ansel Adams birth (2002), in my opinion, it is one of the great photographic publications. After beginning with a long biographical section on Adams that contains many rarely seen portraits of Adams and contemporaries, it moves to the photographic section of the book. First up of the 114 reproductions included are some of Adams early images from 1920, and then moving chronologically through his life. It is amazing to witness his growth as a technician and as an artist, The reproductions are immaculate and strikingly beautiful. My favorite section of the book is where on opposing leaves, it compares two Adams prints made from the same negative at different periods in Adams life. In all of the cases provided, the images are very different, but both beautiful, proving that as Ansel was fond of saying "The negative is the score, and the print is the performance."
The book's paper is custom-made, it is bound in linen and presented in a linen slipcase. A heavy book that is a pleasure to view.
There is a paperback version available, but I have not personally seen it and have heard reports of a lack of quality in some of the printings, so I cannot vouch for the paperbacks quality as I can the original hardcover.