New photography books: New York City, the Alice behind Wonderland, a Cold War tourist and his camera, and more…
The season of giving being upon us, the first book in this month’s selection may give a few ideas to those who count photography buffs among their friends and relatives. Analog photography is not dead, contrary to popular belief. It is actually enjoying a revival and that old camera locked away in the dusty attic may just be the perfect gift this year!
For the rest, a wide range of titles that will delight, inform and entertain:
“From Colin Harding’s highly successful “Classic Cameras” feature, which runs regularly in “Black and White Photography” magazine, comes a superb showcase of photographic equipment. These 75 cameras, drawn from the National Media Museum in Bradford, England, appear in chronological order, with a chapter for every era and a double-page spread devoted to each camera. They range from old, rare, sophisticated and expensive models to some that are relatively common and simple, but still influential, like the Kodak Instamatic. Each spread has a large and impressive shot of the highlighted camera, smaller pictures of any variants, historical insight into the camera’s development, and, when appropriate, a short biography and photo of the inventor. – Inspired by a very popular column – The perfect gift for any camera enthusiast.” (Library Catalogue)
New York: A Photographer’s City
“An unparalleled compilation of contemporary photographs of New York City and its boroughs by famous and emerging artists. New York City has experienced extreme flux over the last ten years. Today, contemporary photographers from all over the world have been capturing the City, its dynamic boroughs, and all its transformations, offering views, cityscapes, and vignettes we’ve not seen before. New York: A Photographer’s City is a world-class look at the city, reflecting the avant-garde spirit of New York and containing previously unpublished work by well-known and emerging contemporary artists. This volume includes more than 350 images from all five New York City boroughs by more than one hundred artists such as Jack Pierson, Atta Kim, Doug Aitken, Joel Meyerowitz, Andreas Gursky, Tim White Sobieski, Ed Burtynsky, Thomas Struth, Jenny Holzer, and Michael Eastman, among many others, which not only document the city but also reflect and explore an innovative perspective of New York in the twenty-first century. New York: A Photographer’s City reveals a post-9/11, visually fresh approach to the City and will appeal to both fans of art photography and of New York.” (From Amazon.com).
Art Photography Now
“Now revised and expanded, this essential survey presents the work of eighty of the most important artist-photographers in the world. A must read if you want to keep your finger on the pulse of contemporary photography. The book is divided into seven sections—Portrait, Landscape, Narrative, Object, Fashion, Document, and City—that explore the diverse subjects, styles, and methods of the leading practitioners. Introductions to each section outline the genres and consider why photographers are attracted to certain themes, and how issues like memory, time, objectivity, politics, identity, and the everyday are tied to their approaches. Each photographer’s work is accompanied by Susan Bright’s commentaries and by quotations from the artist.” (From Amazon.co.uk)
Photography as Activism
“You want to look through the lens of your camera and change the world. You want to capture powerful moments in one click that will impact the minds of other people. Photographic images are one of the most popular tools used to advocate for social and environmental awareness. This can be as close to home as drug use, prostitution, or pollution or as far away as famine, war, and the plight of refugees and migrant workers. One well-known example of an activist photographer would be landscape photographer Ansel Adams, who trudged to Washington with stunning images of the American west to advocate protecting these areas. His images and testimony were instrumental in creating the National Park System and garnering specific protection for Yellowstone National Park. More recently Robert Glenn Ketchum’s images of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge raised awareness of why this area should be protected. Nigel Barker’s seal photographs advocates against seal clubbing. What is your cause and how can you use your camera to make the world a better place? This book provides a comprehensive theory of, and history of, photography as activism. It also includes interviews with contemporary photographers. It is a call to action for young photographers to become activists, a primer of sorts, with advice for how to work with NGOs and non-profits, how to work safely in conflict zones and with suggestions for distribution on websites, blogs, and interactive agencies.” (Library Catalogue)
PhotoBooth – The Art of the Automatic Portrait
“Since its introduction to the public in September of 1926 on a street corner in New York City, the automatic photobooth has captured the interest of the general public and fine artists alike. Raynal Pellicer, author of “Mug Shots,” examines the self-portraits–sometimes practical, sometimes whimsical–produced by this enduring 20th-century novelty. The countless documents included here feature shots of Francis Bacon, Billy Childish, Allen Ginsberg, John F. Kennedy, Anne Frank, Salvador Dali, Andre Breton, Wim Wenders, Walker Evans, and John Lennon, among others. “Photobooth “draws a fantastic inventory of artistic variations on the snapshot, bringing together works of art and self-portraits of persons both known and unknown, from the 1920s to the present.” (Syndetics)
Eyewitness – Hungarian Photography in the Twentieth Century
“The names of these photographers are familiar and their iconic images even more so: American Soldier Landing on Omaha Beach, D-Day, Death of a Loyalist Militiaman. Yet the common Hungarian background of Brassai (born Gyula Halasz), Robert Capa (Endre Erno Friedmann), Andre Kertesz (Kohn Andor Kertesz Andor), Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Martin Munkacsi (born Mermelstein Marton) has been lost to immigration and pseudonyms. Just as a photographer frames the subject through the viewfinder, this book frames Hungarian photography in a larger context, drawing new relationships between its five subjects, generating fresh insights into the impact of history on this particular art form. The three opening essays and the organization of the images into five chronological chapters capture key themes or tensions in the development of Hungarian photography.” (Syndetics)
A Cold War Tourist and His Camera
“Cold War-era imagery is defined by the striking contrast between the ideal of the nuclear family and the nightmare of nuclear annihilation. In 1963, Warren Langford, a Second World War air force veteran and career public servant, travelled through Europe, North America, and Africa as part of the National Defence College’s curriculum of Cold War training. Langford, never before much interested in photography, bought a camera and produced some 200 slides of his travels. In A Cold War Tourist and His Camera, his art historian daughter and political scientist son bring his photographs – an unexpected combination of iconic images of Cold War dangers and touristic snapshots – back into view.” (Syndetics)
The Alice Behind Wonderland
Not so much a photography book as a book on a photographer and the story behind one of his most famous subjects.
“In the summer of 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church in Oxford, Charles Dodgson–better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll–dressed the six-year-old Alice Liddell in ragamuffin’s clothes, and then snapped the camera’s shutter. In The Alice Behind Wonderland, Simon Winchester uses the famous photograph of Alice as the launching pad for an appreciative energetic and penetrating look at the inspiration behind, and the making of, one of the greatest classics of children’s literature. Indeed, Winchester shows that Dodgson’s love of photography deeply influenced his view of the world, helping to transform this shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world’s best-loved observers of childhood. Much like the fictional Alice’s world, as the photograph is subject to closer examination, ‘Alice Liddell as The Beggar Maid’ becomes curiouser and curiouser, capturing a moment during a golden afternoon that would endure forever. ‘Alice Liddell as The Beggar Maid’ was, in short, the muse that would inspire the creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Deftly engaging with Dogson’s published writings, private diaries, and photography, Winchester weaves together the poignant, turbulent, and entirely fascinating story behind Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.” (Syndetics)
(This title is a timely addition to the collection that comes as Tate Liverpool hosts Alice in Wonderland, a unique exhibition that gives insight into the creation of the famous novel and its inspiration on generations of artists.)
Hotel Il Pellicano
Again, you will not find this book on the Photography section of the Art, Music and Literature area of the library but rather, in the travel section, as it is dedicated to the famous Il Pellicano hotel.
“A captivating look at the glamorous, jet-setting lifestyles of those who frequent the legendary Hotel Il Pellicano, overlooking a secluded bay in Tuscany’s Porto Ercole. One of the hippest and most beautiful destinations in the world, the chic Hotel Il Pellicano, located on the Argentario, is a hangout for many from the design, fashion, and art worlds. With photographs by the great chroniclers of yesteryear glamour, John Swope and Slim Aarons–who captured the likes of Emilio Pucci, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Britt Ekland, Kenneth Tynan, and Susanna Agnelli relaxing here–as well as Juergen Teller, one of the most influential fine art and fashion photographers working today, the book presents three different epochs in the history of this modern-day dolce vita. A Visitor’s Note by Bob Colacello and a full history of the hotel by Bronwyn Cosgrave explore Il Pellicano’s illustrious legacy and its continuing seductive allure.” (Syndetics)