Hold the Coffee: The Best New Photography Books

Courtesy Knopf / Flip Schulke

Four new photo books for the living room table. Coasters required.

Who Shot Sports

Edited by Gail Buckland

After Cassius Clay won a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome but before he (let alone Muhammad Ali) became a household name, he was shot for Life magazine in Miami. The 19-year-old boxer told photographer Flip Schulke that he trained underwater. It was a classic, media-savvy Ali fabrication: He couldn’t swim, but he thought a shot of him putting up his dukes at the bottom of the Sir John Hotel’s pool would make for a memorable image, and he was right. The photo above, taken seconds after the Life snapshot, may be less famous but more honest. “He looks like such a kid; he’s so alive,” says curator Gail Buckland, who selected the picture for Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present, a book (published by Knopf) and exhibition (at the Brooklyn Museum, opening July 15) about the symbiotic relationship between athleticism and photography. The photo’s spontaneity is typical of the work Buckland included. “The decisive moment in photography is not the decisive moment in a game. It’s about harmony and balance,” she says. “It becomes a true picture” (Knopf, $45; penguinrandomhouse.com). —JS

The Queen’s People

Hugo Rittson Thomas

Made with royal approval, Thomas’s lavish photographs of the Queen’s family, retinue, staff, and regalia radiate pomp and circumstance. All that’s missing is the trumpet fanfare (Assouline, $845; assouline.com). —RH

The End: Montauk, N.Y.

Michael Dweck

In the 12 years since Dweck released his iconic photo book glorifying Montauk’s surf culture, the town’s rugged mythos has been commodified, giving the title a bittersweet double meaning in this beautiful anniversary edition (Out in July from Ditch Plains Press, $3,000; ditchplainspress.com). —RH

The Last Stop

Ryann Ford

Ford’s Kickstarter-funded photo collection documents a vanishing piece of Americana: the rest stop with character. No gas stations, no mini-marts, just roadside shelters and picnic tables that fuse into majestic landscapes (powerHouse Books, $45; powerhousebooks.com). —RH