Looking for a unique and wonderful gift for someone this holiday season? Schiffer Publishing has some fantastic new books out that you have to see! Reviews below:

This fascinating history covers the growth of women’s professional photography beginning from the Civil War and moving forward in time for the succeeding two generations or so. It covers the general progress of women’s work in the field, with many many examples of their excellent work. It also give brief biographies on individual women’s careers. I particularly enjoyed the photos from the Old West, including Mary Jacobson’s work in San Antonio, Texas around the 1850s and Sarah Short Addis’ work in California and Mexico in the late 1800s.

The book is not only a beautiful history of their careers, it also helps illustrate how access to professional careers helps further women’s rights and freedoms, while contributing significantly to society as they are empowered to offer their services to the public. The book is very well laid out, with high-quality paper, binding, typography, and of course the lovely vintage photography. The photos are technically black-and-white, yet are published in color so we can see the aging and particular shading of the photo-finishing of the time and technologies. This book would make an excellent gift for any female photographer interested in continuing the progress women have made in the field.

This is a wonderful coffee table book featuring lavish photography of the people and places, decorations and celebrations, fun and fabulous San Antonio at Christmastime. Beautiful full-page, color photography is found on each page, with brief explanatory captions throughout. It truly captures what the holidays are like in the River City, as warm-weather celebrations and decor are discovered everywhere, all sharing the Texas spirit.  A wonderful gift for anyone who loves Christmas and San Antonio!

When I’ve taught Modernism, I often find my students confounded by the style. They inevitably find it cold, distant, unwelcoming. In that, they fail to see how lively, welcoming, and dynamic that Modern architecture and interior design can be in real life. And, wow, here is the book that proves the point. It’s geared toward those who are (1) fans of mid-century Modernism found throughout Palm Springs, California, and (2) people who love dogs.

Each spread features a text description, including the architect, on the left, with a full-page photo on the right of the homes interiors or surrounding yards — all of which includes the owners’ dogs, as found in their stunningly gorgeous-yet-very-clean natural environments. Each page is a delight, for many reasons. The paintings, furnishings, and homes themselves are dramatic, each in their own ways, yet the cute doggies dispel any sense of distance, welcoming the viewer into the space, leaving each photo a revelation. Is it a gimmick? The book can be seen like that, sure. But I think — as with Modernism itself, there is much more going on that may appear at first. Wonderful gift!

We used to go sight-seeing frequently. Oftentimes, though, we’d forget the details of where we’d been shortly after leaving. I also noticed that snapping photos left me preoccupied about getting the right shot, so my memories are more about taking photos, looking through a viewfinder, instead of simply experiencing the places we visited. Over the past year, we didn’t travel as much as we used to. Instead, though we used our time at home to “brush up” on our watercolor skills.

So now that we are ready to travel to a few outdoor areas, we’ve been asking ourselves how to make the most of the experience? And that’s why I am so delighted with this wonderful book. It explains, in warm and engaging prose, how artists in years past would keep a watercolored journal of the places they’d visit. And I think this is an excellent approach to truly absorb where we visit.

The book is the perfect guide. It includes a description and history of the Hudson Valley in New York, home of the famous Hudson River Valley School, a group of extraordinary luminist painters. There are 12 briefly explained lessons to help learn how to create our own sketchbook journals — the binding and design of this book is both well-made and reminiscent of the same. Then follows 28 full-color watercolors, each in a beautiful two-page spread, alongside the author’s narrative, historical insights, and other musings.

Then, there are 20 pages or so to sketch and paint on, some with watermarked quotations and other inspirations. The guide concludes with several brief chapters offering recommendations for art supplies and clothing for plein air painting, Hudson Valley information resources, and an excellent reading list for the Valley and regarding sketchbooks generally. This is such an insightful and engaging book on our new hobby. As we paint, we engage with every detail of our surroundings, and not only enjoy ourselves more, we truly get to know and remember the wonderful surroundings we visit.

This extensive history and catalog of compacts from the 1920s and later. The beautiful book could be considered as much a coffee book as an academic work or collectors’ catalog. It includes over 1,100 color photos, showcasing the fine enameled artistic talents and designs these little jewelry-like boxes offered. The chapters revolve predominantly around two creators’ brands — Elgin American and the J.M. Fisher Company, although there are briefer chapters on other manufacturers/jewelers.

While the compacts shown are primarily designed in the art deco style, many veer off into art nouveau. The latter, especially by Fisher, are among my favorites. They often feature silver overlays with solid colors of enamel in the background — amazing. There are other styles with , as well The book itself is beautifully printed on very fine paper and bound in the highest quality.