Festive ideas for the accidental photographer

syndetics-lcNew Zealand – Craig Potton

As we enter the festive season, this book might be high on the list of most coveted gifts. A majestic display of what New Zealand’s nature has to offer and what we may want to discover or rediscover during the summer months. A beautiful coffee table contender by one of New Zealand’s most distinguished landscape photographers, famous for his moody, often dramatic images of the wild parts of New Zealand.

syndetics-lcRobert Doisneau – Paris Les Halles Market

Once coined the Belly of Paris by Emile Zola, for its crucial role in the social, economic and gastronomic fabric of the capital, the central market of Les Halles was painfully extracted from its historic central location in the 70’s and transferred to the outskirts of Paris, to become the largest wholesale food market in the world (Rungis). In its place, a large commercial centre was constructed, which became known for its controversial architecture and the doggy characters loitering in the pedestrian area.
In 1932, Robert Doisneau was a budding photographer in love with Paris and its people in their daily activities and Les Halles was a hive and treasure trove for such imagery.
This book is a celebration of the market, depicted with candour and passion over 40  years. Doisneau became a fierce supporter of the market and documented the demolition and subsequent transformation of “le trou des Halles” into its current state. On the eve of a new remodelling of this vibrant part of Paris, “Paris Les Halles Market” is a timely reminder of the history of the place, and a nostalgic window into a bygone world as described by the affectionate words of Doisneau himself. “Saint-Eustache, the “village church”, was itself a mixture of styles and aromas: incense-scented and Gothic on the inside, celery-scented on the outside. And all around, humanity massed in the glow of fairground lights, rich and poor alike, truck drivers and market porters, butchers and Dior customers, grocers and drunkards. Everyone was on familiar terms, and all around there floated a sense of great gaiety and good will, values that electronic computers cannot calculate.” (excerpt from book)

syndetics-lcLooking at Ansel Adams

As expected for such a photography legend, the library holds quite a few titles by and about this seminal artist.
This latest addition is a nice combination of text and photographs in equal parts, making “Looking at Ansel Adams” a very attractive illustrated concise biography. The book is divided into chapters following the chronology of his career and his major photographs such as ” Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941″  or “Trailer-Camp Children, Richmond, California, 1944”.  A succession of personal accounts from Adams himself, together with contributions from his closest artist friends, family letters, postcards and mementos combine into a rich canvas complemented by details of the making of some of the iconic photographs we are so familiar with.  The book starts with a list of the major “characters” at play in the man’s life and concludes with a useful chronology and a glossary of photographic terms.

syndetics-lcMario Testino – Private View

The name is synomym with fame & glamour, fashion and celebrity. For the past 30 years, Mario Testino has been consumed by a passion for the world of fashion photography and has reached the pinnacle of his career, although he would argue that he is only started  “My favourite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. I think if you are curious you create opportunities, and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities. People close doors all the time.”
A workaholic, Testino never tires of travelling the world to create ever more challenging, exciting and vibrant tableaux and protraits.
Mario Testino Private Views” was published to celebrate his inaugural exhibition in China. Beautifully and cleverly designed, this book is divided into three separate sections: LARGER THAN LIFE,  which shows portraits and snapshots of celebrities; IN MY OWN FASHION, which features the world of luxury brands and fashion magazines; and finally, PORTRAITS OF THE ROYAL FAMILY, which unveils some surprisingly informal and personal snapshots of the British monarchy.
An excellent introduction by Jennifer Allen gives us added insight into Testino’s world and craft.
Incidentally, the Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is currently hosting two exhibitions of Testino’s work: In your Face is a retrospective of his work and influence in fashion photography whereas British Royal Portraits is exclusively dedicated to the British Royal family.
For further insight on this major photographer, read the accompanying Guardian article , watch the New York Times video of an interview with Testino and borrow the DVD of “The September Issue” from our DVD collection. A fascinating account of the world of fashion.

International Garden Photographer of the Year (Kew Gardens)International Garden Photographer of the Year

There are as many ways of looking at gardens as there are eyes in the world and this book gives us a wonderful collection of ways of seeing all aspects of gardens, from details of plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables and even animals that inhabit those man made spaces, to sweeping landscapes in all seasons and every continent. Here is a lyrical portrait of our relationship with nature and our attempt at shaping and enhancing it.
The International Garden Photographer of the Year competition was established in 2008. This book showcases some of the best images produced in the last 5 years.

syndetics-lcsyndetics-lc20th Century Photography Museum Ludwig Cologne & The George Eastman House Collection – A History of Photography

Here are 2 new companion titles from the prolific and democratic Taschen house. They are both intent on presenting a history of photography based on two specific and important collections: the Museum Ludwig Cologne on one hand which holds 860 works by hundreds of some of the most famous 20th century photographers and the George Eastman House based in Rochester, New York, the first museum dedicated to photography in the United States founded in 1949 by George Eastman of the Eastman Kodak Company. Compact yet full of essential facts and quality reproductions, these will certainly become reliable sources for anyone interested in the history of photography.

syndetics-lcShooting in Sh*tty Light, The top ten worst photography lighting situations and how to conquer them

Summer, family reunions and weddings are looming and cameras in cupboards, on shelves and in custom designed bags all over the country are getting agitated in anticipation. This is the time when many of us will be catching up with friends and relatives, taking those yearly portraits, trying their hands at new equipment, lenses etc.
This book is a mine of information for every challenging situation where the light is too strong, too low or just plain wrong. Divided into 10 chapters covering 10 typical lighting problems, the author goes through the issue in simple terms, explaining and highlighting any useful jargon and illustrating the process, from analysing  the situation, taking an awful initial photo (as it would come out if you let your camera decide for you), to adjusting and finding the best solution possible. Very useful!

syndetics-lcGIMP for Absolute Beginners

GIMP is a powerful open source graphics application with most of the features of its proprietary counterpart, Photoshop. This book provides a general introduction to GIMP for beginners, but it also contains topics that general GIMP users will find beneficial. You’ll learn how to navigate the GIMP‘s modular interface, how to use the layering system and tools, and how to both modify photos and create original web art. You’ll also learn how to extend the GIMP with tools like the GIMP Animation Package. What you’ll learn Learn how to navigate the Gimp Interface Edit photos and retouch images Getting familiar with tool workarounds Customize and configure the GIMP Interface Increase your design prowess Have fun with more complex graphics projects Who this book is for Hobbyists, occasional designers, enthusiastic photographers, graphical design amateurs, and beginning illustrators. (Library catalogue)