“I play a lot of characters, and every time I do a video or a song, people go, ‘Oh, that’s what she’s like.’ And I’m not like any of them. I’m all of them. I’m none of them. You know what I mean?”
Released: October 21, 1992
Photographer: Steven Meisel
Perhaps the most notorious book ever published in the trade, Sex is also the largest-grossing illustrated book of all time. Photographed by Steven Meisel, designed by Fabien Baron, and written by Madonna, the book explores the Material Girl’s innermost sexual fantasies in vividly graphic form. Thousands of articles addressing the moral, religious, economic, and political implications of Sex focused such international attention on it that virtually all of the editions around the world sold out within a week of release.
- Madonna’s first coffee table book sold for $49.95 each.
- Sex entered The New York Times Bestseller List at No. 1.
- 1,400,000 copies sold in 6 months with 8 printings in total.
- US publisher: Warner Books
- Co-editions: UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan
- 128 pages of Madonna
- Packaged in mylar resembling a condom package with an audio CD containing “Erotic”, a remix of “Erotica”.
The Girlie Show
Released: August 18, 1994
The Girlie Show was Madonna’s second collaboration with Callaway. It recreates in words, images, and music her enormously successful 1993 world concert tour of the same name. Madonna herself contributed the preface and the book contains running commentary by Glenn O’Brien. The audio CD includes three live concert tracks.
- Madonna’s second coffee table book sold for $30 each
- 140,000 copies sold
- Published in the US by Callaway
- Co-editions: UK, France, Germany, Japan
- Packaged with an audio CD containing: “Like A Virgin”, “In This Life”, “Why’s It So Hard”
- Out of print.
The Making of Evita
Released: December 5, 1996
Author: Alan Parker with foreword by Madonna
A movie version of the Webber-Rice musical based on the life of the controversial wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron took years to get made. In this large-format book brimming with stills, British director Parker shares the trials, tribulations, and triumphs he and the cast endured in bringing the project finally to completion. Of course, the performance of the lead star, Madonna, casts itself over these visually arresting pages, as it did over the filming itself. Parker discusses awarding the role of Evita to her, how she prepared both as a vocalist and as a representation of a historical character, and the various problems encountered in the locations (which included having to personally secure permission from the current Argentine president to use the balcony of the presidential office building to film the cornerstone moment of the movie, Evita singing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”). For large cinema collections, catering to a hungry movie-fan clientele.
Photography: Steven Klein
Madonna presents herself as “a performer in a landscape where she creates and brings her ideas to life or death.” Steven Klein’s intention was to work with Madonna as a performance artist, creating a situation where she could respond directly to the camera without constraint. The project is not about photography of celebrity, but about the person and the passions beneath the surface. Klein sees Madonna as a messenger, asking people to wake up and confront the dehumanizing forces in the contemporary world.
Rather than the packaged glamour that one might expect from the collaboration of a pop star and a top fashion photographer, the work is raw and menacing. The spirit is apocalyptic. Madonna and Steven Klein enter into a subconscious realm of primitive fears and desires. The work has a religious passion and a sexual charge. The theatricality increases with the intensity of the emotions.
- Madonna’s third coffee table book sold for for $350 each.
- 260 pages of 4 color images in a sealed, numbered edition of only 1000 copies.
- Hand-bound and printed in Italy.
- Printed on customized paper with brushed cotton paper slipcase
Nobody Knows Me
Released: January 2004
Nobody Knows Me is Madonna’s ultimate statement to her fans. 52 pages of success, rare and unseen shots commented by an Icon and her angels. Music, love, fashion, stardom and much more
- “Nobody Knows Me” was available exclusively for one month only via Madonna’s official website.
- The book sold for $24
Released: October 1, 2008
Photographer: Guy Oseary
Maverick Records CEO Oseary presents this collection of photographs he took of client Madonna on her 2006 Confessions tour. He admits in the introduction that he was an amateur who was using an unfamiliar camera. At times it shows, but the mostly large-format, single-page shots and collages feature Madonna gyrating or playing her shiny black guitar—complete with stage pyrotechnics and the backstage action, as well as audience reaction throughout. In the end, Oseary nicely captures the feel of the tour. Fun highlights include a section on Madonna’s disco set and white, Saturday Night Fever–inspired costume, entitled Music Inferno. Proceeds from the book go to Michael Berg and Madonna’s charity, Raising Malawi, which brings relief to the large orphan population in Malawi.
With over 250 never-before-seen images taken by Guy Oseary and personally approved by Madonna, the photographs featured here showcase the provocative themes of her live performances — from equestrian to urban Bedouin, and from glam punk to disco fever — and celebrates what The New York Times called “the sheer spectacularity of her physical form.” Enhanced with Madonna’s short, sassy interspersed quotes, Confessions is a matchless, must-have record of one of the highlights of her career.
I Am Because We Are
Released: January 2009
Photographer: Kristen Ashburn, with foreword by Madonna
I Am Because We Are is the companion volume to the acclaimed forthcoming documentary film directed by Nathan Rissman and written and produced by Madonna. This book of images by award-winning photojournalist Kristen Ashburn–culled from her own work in Malawi and Africa over the past seven years as well as from her specially commissioned photographs for the film–provides an intimate look at the lives of eight Malawian children featured in the film and reveals the harsh reality of the AIDS pandemic throughout southern Africa.
The title is derived from the concept of “Ubuntu,” an idea in African spirituality that states that all of humanity is connected, that we cannot be ourselves without community, that an individual’s well-being is dependent upon the well-being of others.
These heart-wrenching stories are a call to action. In Malawi, a country of 13 million people, over one million are orphans. Looking into the hearts and minds of children who have suffered more than one can imagine, the book provides an unflinching view of life at the center of the global AIDS crisis. This is not just a story about orphans in Malawi, but about global responsibility and human interconnectedness.
I Am Because We Are includes a foreword by Madonna, an afterword by Ashburn, excerpts from interviews with Malawian children, their biographies, and extended captions. Author proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the charitable organization Raising Malawi for their extensive work with orphans throughout Malawi.