Everyone who wishes to learn, explore and enjoy photography, is welcome to visit and browse our photography reference library.

Since the establishment of Stills in 1977, the organisation has accumulated over two thousand books on photography. Many of these are now rare, out of print or just generally hard to find in shops or in other libraries. These books range from artist monographs and exhibition catalogues to magazines and theoretical writing on photography.

We anticipate that we have one of the largest publicly accessible collections of books on photography in Edinburgh. In recent years, some of these books have been made available to visitors to Stills to browse in person, but we had not had the opportunity to present them all in one place. We’re now pleased to be able to re-open our full reference library and extend this online.

If you are interested in browsing our collection, please visit our library catalogue webpage or contact for more information.

Library Categories

Anthologies: A collection of selected photography compiled by art museums, groups or national photography archives.

Example titles include: Open Road: Photography & the American Road Trip, David Campany: The Printed Picture, Richard Benson, The Museum of Modern Art

Monographs: Works by a single artist or a group of artists dedicated to specific subjects or themes such as a city, street views, specific landscape or portraits.

Example titles include: Robert Frank: The Americans; Poet of Prague: A Photographer’s Life, Josef Sudek; Graciela Iturbide, Juchitán; Untitled, Diane Arbus and Motion Picture, Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Critical writings: Literature revolving photographic theories and critical discourses such as photography in films, photography as a contemporary art form, photography and culture, etc.

Example titles include: Culture and Imperialism, Edward W. Said; Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Roland Barthes and Simulacra and Simulation, Jean Baudrillard.

Practical photography: Educational information on applied arts of photography, from initial guidance of using light, print, the darkroom, digital editing skills, to other advance techniques. 

Example titles include: Book-binding: A step-by-step guide, Kathy Abbott; Self-Publish Be Happy: A DIY Photobook Manual and Manifesto, Bruno Ceschel and Private Experience: Personal Insights of a Professional Photographer, Elliott Erwitt

Exhibition Catalogues: Documentation relating to items displayed in an exhibition at a gallery, museum or similar, including thematic essay from curators and academics.

Titles include: Walker Evans: Photographs for the Farm Security Administration 1935-1938; I Remember Heaven: Jim Hodges and Andy Warhol and Angela Ferreira: No Place at All.

Stills Publications: A rich selection from our 45 years of exhibitions including Political Cameras – Mount Mabu: Angela Ferriera; Beneath the Surface / Hidden Place; Nicky Bird; Hinges Between Days, All For One, Paul Gray, Elín Jakobsdóttir, A Thousand of Him, Scattered: Relative Newcomers in Diaspora, Mother Tongue, Photographs from 1977-2017, Alan Dimmick and OFF: Geoff Weston

Miscellany: Other works, collections of various photography related topics and a wide selection of artists zines.