From classical to conceptual, from practical to artistic, an eclectic review of our photography shelves this month
You’ll get both instruction and inspiration out of the new photography books this month. We start off with tips for iPad users and children, before taking a look at the world through lenses.
The iPad for photographers : master the newest tool in your camera bag / Jeff Carlson.
“The iPad has proven to be a very popular gadget and many of its functionalities often stay untapped. This book will help you make the most of its amazing camera function, whether a novice to pro shooter, with simple step-by-step instructions from basic capabilities to more advanced ones such as triggering the camera shutter remotely, using the screen as a fill flash, calculating the depth of field and tracking outdoor light conditions. You’ll be amazed!” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)
Click click click! : photography for children / George Sullivan.
Rarely do we come across a book on photography dedicated to children and yet, with the development of digital photography and the proliferation of devices that offer camera functions, photography has never been more accessible whether via pocket cameras, cellphones or the iPad. This book is therefore a timely addition to our collection and a great resource for younger readers. The book is conventionally structured, in an accessible style, starting with the history of photography, continuing with a review of famous photographers through the ages. The second half is dedicated to the technique of photography and the ways modern technology allows editing and integration of photographs in all sorts of platforms, printed or online.
Paris by night / Brassai ; foreword by Paul Morand ; [translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert].
Born in Hungary, Brassaï studied art in Budapest and Berlin before moving to Paris in 1924. Trained as a painter, he turned to photography at the suggestion of fellow Hungarian André Kertész in the early 30’s. First published in 1933, Paris by night was met with immediate critical acclaim. Brassaï became a respected chronicler of the city, capturing the lives of ordinary Parisians, working as a journalsit by day, he roamed the streets of the capital at night, producing the ethereal and often gostly images of a less familiar night world. The original edition contained 64 reproductions printed in heliogravure. The present edition uses the latest engraving technology to translate faithfully the quality of the original photographs. Presented on thick black matt paper, each print is of stunning quality and tonality. A very different feel from Woody Allen’s depiction of Paris by night in the 20’s in Midnight in Paris, available on DVD from our extensive DVD collection.
Beautiful Britain / Iain McKell ; with an essay by William Oliver.
There is an irony in the title, as well as a tenderness about a subject not always obviously beautiful. Ian McKell has been photographing all his life with the intention to create a visual diary. “I wanted to get it all. The rawness of it. I wanted to show it all and be honest,” he says. “I wasn’t pandering. I didn’t have all the baggage, I wasn’t precious about money, I was young”. In this book, photographs spanning 35 years have been collected to ” reflect my background growing up and working in Britain. They document the people, events and movements that have shaped me as a photographer.” McKell has acknowledged the influence of Diane Arbus on his work which is obvious to the viewer. Like Arbus, he places himself among his subjects rather than observing “them” from the distance of the photographer removed behind the camera. The photographs work best as a collection as they give a sense of a place, depicted in its sociological, political and human complexities. McKell is an astute observer and great portraitist.
New York : portrait of a city = Porträt einer Stadt = portrait d’une ville / by Reuel Golden ; directed and produced by Benedikt Taschen.
“This book presents the epic story of New York in photographs, photo-portraits, maps, and aerial views—nearly 600 pages of emotional, atmospheric images, from the mid-19th century to the present day. Supplementing this treasure trove of images are hundreds of quotations and references from relevant books, movies, shows and songs. The city’s fluctuating fortunes are all represented, from the wild nights of the Jazz Age and the hedonistic disco era, to the grim days of the Depression and the devastation of 9/11 and its aftermath, as its broken-hearted but unbowed citizens picked up the pieces.
Hundreds of iconic images are featured, sourced from dozens of archives and private collections—many never before published—and the work of over 150 celebrated photographers, including: Victor Prevost, Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans, Weegee, Margaret Bourke-White, Saul Leiter, Esther Bubley, Arnold Newman, William Claxton, Ralph Gibson, Ryan McGinley, Mitch Epstein, Steve Schapiro, Mary Ellen Mark, Marvin Newman, Allen Ginsberg, Joel Meyerowitz, Andreas Feininger, Neil Leifer, Charles Cushman, Joseph Rodriguez, Garry Winogrand, Larry Fink, Jamal Shabazz, Allan Tannenbaum, Bruce Davidson, Helen Levitt, Eugene de Salignac, James Nachtwey, Ruth Orkin, Joel Sternfeld, Bruce Davidson, Keizo Kitajima, and many many more.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
Pilgrimage / Annie Leibovitz ; introduction by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
“Pilgrimage took Annie Leibovitz to places that she could explore with no agenda. She wasn’t on assignment. She chose the subjects simply because they meant something to her. The first place was Emily Dickinson’s house in Amherst, Massachusetts, which Leibovitz visited with a small digital camera. A few months later, she went with her three young children to Niagara Falls. “That’s when I started making lists,” she says. She added the houses of Virginia Woolf and Charles Darwin in the English countryside and Sigmund Freud’s final home, in London, but most of the places on the lists were American. The work became more ambitious as Leibovitz discovered that she wanted to photograph objects as well as rooms and landscapes. She began to use more sophisticated cameras and a tripod and to travel with an assistant, but the project remained personal. Leibovitz went to Concord to photograph the site of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond. Once she got there, she was drawn into the wider world of the Concord writers. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s home and Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott and her family lived and worked, became subjects. The Massachusetts studio of the Beaux Arts sculptor Daniel Chester French, who made the seated statue in the Lincoln Memorial, became the touchstone for trips to Gettysburg and to the archives where the glass negatives of Lincoln’s portraits have been saved. Lincoln’s portraitists–principally Alexander Gardner and the photographers in Mathew Brady’s studio–were also the men whose work at the Gettysburg battlefield established the foundation for war photography. At almost exactly the same time, in a remote, primitive studio on the Isle of Wight, Julia Margaret Cameron was developing her own ultimately influential style of portraiture. Leibovitz made two trips to the Isle of Wight and, in an homage to the other photographer on her list, Ansel Adams, she explored the trails above the Yosemite Valley, where Adams worked for fifty years. The final list of subjects is perhaps a bit eccentric. Georgia O’Keeffe and Eleanor Roosevelt but also Elvis Presley and Annie Oakley, among others. Figurative imagery gives way to the abstractions of Old Faithful and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Pilgrimage was a restorative project for Leibovitz, and the arc of the narrative is her own. “From the beginning, when I was watching my children stand mesmerized over Niagara Falls, it was an exercise in renewal,” she says. “It taught me to see again.”" – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)
Looking east : portraits / by Steve McCurry.
“This portfolio contains a selection of the best and most poignant portraits by Steve McCurry, known and loved the world over for his beautiful and enduring images of the landscapes and cultures of South and Southeast Asia. The collection includes some iconic such as the “Afghan Girl, Pakistan, 1984″ staring straight into the camera with her piercing green eyes, as well as previously unknown portraits of children, monks, pilgrims and travellers that McCurry has encountered on his journeys throughout Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Tibet. Printed on luxurious large format paper, this is a compelling collection, and a master class on classic portrait photography.” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)
Art and photography / edited by David Campany.
“This generously illustrated book presents 190 works by 160 significant international artists, most of whom live in the United States, England, or Germany. Campany (photography, Surrey Inst. of Art & Design) surveys the variety of spaces photography has occupied in art since the mid-1960s. He uses eight themes (e.g., “Memories and Archives,” “Objective Objects,” and “Traces of Traces”) that depart from but complement those from the histories of art and photography. While he arranges his text in the format prescribed by the “Themes and Movements” series editors-with an introductory essay, key artworks, a documents section, artists’ and authors’ biographies, a bibliography, and an index-Campany does not cover the subject in a formulaic way. His compilation of excerpted texts by art critics, philosophers, professors, interviewers, photographers, and others nicely complements his essay and the featured works. Well documented (though with a few editorial oversights), Campany’s noteworthy if not seminal contribution to the history of photography reads like a well-designed museum exhibition catalog.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)