Reza War + Peace: a Photographer's Journey is a look at the human impact of war through the eyes of the renowned photojournalist Reza Deghati, known by his first name. This book is a three - decade retrospective of his war photography for National Geographic, Time and Newsweek, in locations around the world. Reza captures the ravages of war in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia and other countries. The images sometimes are of the frontline soldiers in battle, but just as often, they are pictures of the citizens who are affected by the war. There are images of violence and death, but there are also photos of courage and strength, as ordinary people struggle to make a better life amid the surrounding tumult. As a result, Reza War + Peace presents a message of both sorrow and hope.

In stark contrast to this worldview is The Oxford Project, which focuses on the roughly 700 residents of Oxford, a peaceful, rural community in eastern Iowa. A young photographer named Peter Feldstein came to Oxford in 1984 after landing a teaching job at the nearby University of Iowa. He soon set out on an ambitious project: to photograph every resident in town. His studio portraits of the modest townsfolk were displayed in galleries and exhibitions, then filed away until 2005, when Feldstein decided to return to Oxford to photograph his subjects again.

The resulting images are a fascinating look at how people age and develop, a kind of real - life "before" and "after" experiment. What makes The Oxford Project more interesting is that Feldstein brings along writer Stephen G. Bloom to interview and write about the subjects to see how their lives have changed over the 21 years between the shots. This informal sociological study works largely because most of the residents of Oxford chose to stay there, making it an intriguing look at small - town America.

The best picture show

Give Encyclopedia Britannica and Getty Images credit for ambition in the publication of History of the World in Photographs: 1850 to the Present Day. This thick edition is a comprehensive look at the development of photography, from the grainy sepia portraits of the late 19th century to the colorful, high - resolution digital images of the early 21st century. The book presents a year - by - year exploration of the most important photos in history, including images of the Civil War, World War II, Tiananmen Square and 9/11. It also includes a DVD with 20,000 additional photos. This volume is a must for any serious photography buff.

This book is something to see

Visions of Paradise is a compilation of some of the best images found in National Geographic, chosen by its award - winning photographers. Each photographer was asked: "Where - or what - is heaven on Earth?" The answers were as varied as the parts of the world where the pictures were snapped. Chris Johns' image of paradise is four bushmen walking in the arid desert of Namibia. O. Louis Mazzatenta's picture is of a lone white wolf crossing the Arctic tundra. Robert Clark's definition of paradise is an early - morning shot of a worker checking the rails of the wooden roller coaster at King's Island in Ohio. These and hundreds of other photographs transport readers to some of the most beautiful places around the globe.

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