Gifts for the friend who loves strategically placed photobooks

We all have that one mate who likes things that look cool – and make them look cool at the same time.

There’s no better friend to buy for than the coffee-table arranger. Whether they’re into flashy homeware, scuzzy fanzines, rare erotica or a wildcard novelty item, there’s no end of joyful, sometimes sexy things that look great on a coffee table, a bedside table, an occasional table or a pool table. You name it, we’ve got it.

Stüssy ceramic boot vase

The centrepiece of every good-looking coffee table ought to be some kind of garish, novelty ornament. There’s nothing good-looking about keeping your flowers in a boring glass jug, so give it the boot in favour of this ceramic Stüssy number. The best way to get in on 2023’s cowboy-mania without actually giddying up.

Punk Picasso by Larry Clark

The ultimate coffee table book, Punk Picasso pulls together countless tidbits about the polarising photographer and filmmaker’s work for a proper magnum opus. Part-scrapbook, part-archive, its title is lifted from a David Denby review of Clark’s 2001 film Bully. Featuring snaps of Chloë Sevigny, River Phoenix and portraits of sharp-cheeked skaters, there’s something for everyone in this 496-page slice of countercultural history.

Catherine Opie’s Dyke Deck

Give the gift of spicing up afters with this glorious, super-rare deck of cards, courtesy of legendary American photographer Catherine Opie. Initially released in 1995, each card features black and white portraits, some of Opie’s friends, others of people she street-cast in San Francisco. To avoid any confusion: jocks are clubs, femmes are diamonds, couples are hearts and butches are spades. Plus, it even comes with tailored suggestions for Poke-Her” games. UNO, who?

Beautiful Croydon by Sarah Stedeford

We’re big fans of Sarah Stedeford over at THE FACE – in fact, she shot Aitch for one of our digital covers last year. The photographer got her hands dirty in the making-of her new book, Beautiful Croydon, which features darkroom handprints and a custom sticker pack. Featuring a medley of mohawks, squinty smiles, intense gazes and killer haircuts, it’s a timeless snapshot of Sarah’s home borough. Oh, and if you needed any more reason to get your grubby mitts on it, the book even glows in the dark. Come on.

The Sort Sex Book

Sort’s fifth issue is more than just a mag (it features a laser cut glory hole, for crying out loud). A full-pelt reimagining of Madonna’s iconic 1992 Sex book, it creates a time capsule of contemporary queerness, via raunchy imagery and fashion editorials featuring underground DJs and artists. There aren’t many collector’s items that come with a thong, but this one does.

Pub ashtray

Enough of those poncey ceramic ashtrays that cost an arm and a leg. Bring the pub to your pal’s home with one of these second-hand ciggie holders from Oxfam. They look the part, come in loads of different shapes and sizes, and can double up as a vehicle to hold trinkets or keys if your friend doesn’t smoke.

THE FACE winter issue

This list wouldn’t be complete without more shameless self-promotion (we recommended our 2002 Phoebe Philo issue as a gift last week). But who can resist this kind of link-up? The best pop star in the world, Olivia Rodrigo, shot by none other than Jim Goldberg. Cut it up, frame it, stick it on your wall, whatever. Good idea, right?

More like this

The best of THE FACE. Straight to your inbox. 

00:00 / 00:00