There’s nothing like flipping through the pages of a beautiful coffee table book to get inspired, and the holiday season is the perfect time to gift the creative person in your life with a book. Fresh from the printing press, this list highlights a wide range of interests—meaning you’re sure to find the perfect gift.
Traveling photographer Thomas Barby uses his keen, artistic eye to see the world a little differently than the rest of us. Along his travels, Barby proceeds to capture a variety of scenic images, still life, and portraiture, mixing and matching them all into some wildly creative composites. His resulting manipulated photo montages reveal a new world that feels both familiar and unusual.
The photographer’s body of work has a sense of humor to it as it whimsical juxtaposes two unrelated subjects. While one wouldn’t automatically notice the resemblance between an elephant and a tree, the photographer makes it hard to ever look at a tree again without seeing the likeness in their wrinkly, coarse skin/bark. They also both have trunks.
Barby also plays with perspective in a lot of his work. He even incorporates a multi-angle technique that artist M.C. Escher, one of his artistic idols, would be proud of. Drawing much of his inspiration from surrealist painters like Escher as well as Rene Magritte and Roger Dean, the photographer also ironically attributes the concept for his atypical creations to everyday life. He says, “Visionary inspiration and imagination is not a technical skill learned in school.”