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East London & Soho as photographic backdrops – September Photography books

London is the subject and background for three of our selected books this month, a sure testament to the strong relationship between the city and the medium over the course of photographic history. Among others, we also have a range of how-to books that will guide you through better family, wedding and personal photographic projects and how to make the most of social media’s visual potential to showcase your creations.

Syndetics book cover I’ve lived in East London for 86 1/2 years
“For about twenty years I made suitcases. My foreman was a bastard. Apart from that it was OK. But if I was less heavy…you know what I’d like to be? I’d like to be a ballet dancer. That would be my dream.” This is one of the many quotes you’ll find in this diminutive, yet larger than life book on Joseph Markovitch, who was born, lived and died in Shoreditch, not long after this heartfelt collection of photos and reflections on life was published. A little treasure!

brick laneBrick Lane / Phil Maxwell.
“Phil Maxwell is the photographer of Brick Lane. Over the last thirty years, no-one has taken more pictures there than he and his astonishing body of work stands unparalleled in the canon of street photography, both in its range and in the quality of human observation that informs these eloquent images. Here are more than two hundred dramatic black and white photographs of Brick Lane in the East End of London in chronological sequence, telling the story of volatile social change on one of Britain’s most celebrated streets from 1982 until the present day” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverUnder the influence : John Deakin, photography and the lure of Soho / Robin Muir.
“Considered to be one of the greatest of postwar British photographers, Deakin was renowned for his penetrating portraits, haunting street scenes and striking fashion work. Though he flourished briefly at Vogue, it was the lure of nearby Soho with its pubs, clubs and subterranean watering holes that captured his interest most. Loved and loathed in equal measure by friends and drinking companions, Deakin was a legendary member of the quarter’s maverick crowd of artists, writers, poets and assorted characters and misfits. As its most famous chronicler with a camera, he is inextricably linked to Soho’s bohemian heyday in the two decades following the War. Exhibition: Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK (11.04-13.07.2014).” (Library catalogue)

photo forum at 40PhotoForum at 40 : counterculture, clusters, and debates in New Zealand
“PhotoForum at 40 commemorates, reflects and celebrates a wide body of New Zealand photographs that have been published in the photography journal PhotoForum, and displayed in their exhibitions. It offers an unwritten history of the communities, relationships, and events that have shaped photographers and the images they make. This book brings together some significant images and portfolios (Peter Peryer, Murray Cammick, Anne Noble, Fiona Clark), and highlights the most pertinent and illuminating critical thinking and explosive debates about photographic practice in articles and reviews published in PhotoForum journal.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPhotography today
“In this utterly absorbing volume, Durden examines the impact of over 100 photographers who have risen to prominence since the 1960s. Artfully divided into 11 chapters-covering topics including the rise of copying and appropriation, faces and masks, color photography, street photography, landscapes, atrocities, the body, documentary, and the self-each chapter provides insight into how these photographers fit into a larger whole. The final chapter, “Photography Tomorrow,” deals with the death of film and the mass proliferation of digital representation. All major artists and movements are represented and Durden’s considerable research can be seen in the biographies and the book’s index.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAvedon : women.
“This book accompanies the Fall 2013 exhibition of Richard Avedon’s photography to be held at Gagosian Gallery Beverly Hills. Over his sixty-year career, photographer Richard Avedon was renowned for his distinctive, transformative eye. What might have been pictured as prosaic or unattractive through another photographer’s lens was presented by Avedon as unconventional, surprising, and sometimes revelatory. Through approximately 120 images, Avedon: Women explores Avedon’s unique artistic perspective.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverEye to eye : photographs by Vivian Maier
“Since her death in 2009, Vivian Maier has become internationally famous because of her heartbreaking story and brilliant photography. Virtually invisible to others, she died alone and in poverty but left a wealth of photographs-more than 100,000 images. For over a half-century Maier wandered the streets of New York and Chicago and journeyed through Asia and elsewhere making incredible photographs. Few knew of Maier’s pursuit during her lifetime, and her great talent went unrecognized. But since the body of her life’s work-a treasure trove of prints and negatives-was rescued from a storage locker and thrift shop, she has been acknowledged as a great artist.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAmerican jukebox : a photographic journey
“Immersed in the cultural landscape, filmmaker and photographer Felver (Beat) compiles moments both candid and posed from the past 25 years of American musical history. Framed by a brief personal narrative of the artist’s social life in diverse countercultural milieus, as well as forewords by David Amram and Lee Ranaldo, the book quickly proceeds to striking images of luminaries such as Emmylou Harris, Ozzy Osbourne, Odetta, Taj Mahal, and Eartha Kitt. Felver possesses a unique skill, presenting the artists in moments that suggest a personal connection and unveiling of celebrity, while maintaining a firm grounding in the act of musical creation.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverJust one more– : a photographer’s memoir
“In 1975 Gemma Levine boldly entered the world of professional photography, as an amateur, to chronicle the work of the sculptor Henry Moore. They forged a unique bond, and under Moore’s tutelage she went on to develop her own striking photographic style, building a diverse and unexpected career that took her from the deserts of Israel to Buckingham Palace as one of Britain’s leading portrait photographers: ‘With a camera in my hand, I have come to see the world as full of infinite possibilities.’ Containing more than 150 stunning images from a rich body of work that spans nearly four decades, this beautiful volume relates her special relationship with Moore.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverDecade - Alexi Lubomirski
Over the last ten years, Alexi Lubomirski has become an established name within the fashion industry, shooting for such publications as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and GQ. Decade is a collection of Lubomirski’s fashion and portrait work from 2003-2013. Containing studio photography and narrative fashion spreads in exotic locations, this book also features portraits of actors and celebrities such as Cate Blanchett, Victoria Beckham, Heidi Klum, Kirsten Dunst, Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor against a broad array of backdrops.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPicture perfect social media : a handbook for styling perfect photos for posting, blogging, and sharing
“Whether using a smartphone, a toy camera with quirky special effects, a versatile point-and-shoot, or a sophisticated DSLR-these tips and advice focus on stylistic and compositional tricks that can help you get the best shot with the equipment you’ve got.
For blogs that rely on images to tell the story, the quality of those images can be the difference between a blog that simply exists, and a blog that reaches thousands of readers. Picture Perfect Social Media gives you the skills to stand out in a competitive and ever evolving blogosphere, proving that you don’t need to be (or hire) a professional stylist or photographer to have stunning and unique images on your blog.” (From

Syndetics book coverThe new art of capturing love : the essential guide to lesbian and gay wedding photography
“Most wedding photographers naturally assume they should employ the same strategies they use for hetero couples when photographing same-sex couples. This guide quickly dispels that notion, addressing subjects such as asking each spouse which gender pronouns they prefer, and avoiding poses that make the couple appear as “friends or siblings.” Most importantly, Hamm and Dodds stress that photographers get to know their clients and find out details, such as what rituals will be featured in the ceremony, and what attire will be worn. Though some of tips and tricks are common sense for anyone in the wedding business, the guide offers a host of specific strategies, such as how to pose brides with two bouquets, and what to do if the grooms are the same height.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverYour child in pictures : the parent’s guide to photographing your toddler and child from age one to ten
“Celebrated photographer and best-selling author Me Ra Koh provides step-by-step instruction on photographing your family and taking pictures of your child. As a companion book to Your Baby in PicturesYour Child in Pictures helps you learn to capture your child’s special moments with 40 beautiful “photo recipes” that anyone can do, with any camera. From first haircuts to first days of school, from snuggly teddy bears to favorite dress-up clothes, the toddler and childhood years are full of precious days that disappear all too soon.” (

New photography books in July – ANZAC memorials, NZ street style, New York dogs & French cats

As the centenary of New Zealand’s participation in the First World War gets under way, a touring photography exhibition will be marking the commemoration of the conflict and its impact on New Zealand. Published to coincide with the exhibition is one of this month’s featured photography books – “ANZAC – photographs” by Laurence Aberhart.

Syndetics book coverANZAC / photographs by Laurence Aberhart.
“In almost every town you care to visit in either New Zealand or Australia, you will find a memorial to those killed in the Great War of 1914-1918. These memorials were commissioned and built in the years shortly after the conflict, but communities, families and comrades who returned from battle, eager not to forget their dead, or their sacrifice. Given their sheer number, these monuments are so familiar, and seemingly so familiar to one another, that nowadays we may barely give them a second look. Laurence Aberhart has made a career out of taking a second look. This book presents seventy magnificent photographs by one of New Zealand’s leading artists, with an introduction by historian Jock Phillips. It is published to coincide with a major touring exhibition, opening at Dunedin Public Art Gallery.” (Book jacket).

Syndetics book coverFoureyes : New Zealand street style 
“Four guys (Danny Simmons, Mino Kim, Chin Tay and Alex Blanco) who love fashion, people, and photography. This book is a collection of some of their favourite photographs that they have taken on the streets of New Zealand along with a few from their travels abroad.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWorld Press Photo 13 
“Every year since 1955 an international jury has convened in Holland under the auspices of the World Press Photo Foundation to choose the finest press photographs of the year. Universally recognized as the definitive competition for photographic reporting, it draws submissions from photojournalists, newspapers, and magazines throughout the world. Publishing the results of the most recent competition, this book contains the most haunting and inspiring photographs from 2012 & 2013 ;some 150 pictures selected from more than 100,000 images submitted. These prize-winning works capture the most powerful, moving, and sometimes disturbing events of the year.” (Syndetics)
To check our collection of yearly World Press Photo Publications, click on this link.


World Press Photos 2012World Press Photos 2008World Press Photos 2006

World Press Photos 2009World Press Photos 2010World Press Photos 2011


Syndetics book coverThe photobook : a history. Volume III / Martin Parr and Gerry Badger
“Parr and Badger present the third and final volume in their series covering the photobook, with highlights from over 200 titles spanning the post-WWII era to the present, many of which were self-published or whose makers remain anonymous. Topics vary widely, from propaganda and protest to sex, identity, and memory, to found photography. All 200 covers and several interior pages from each photobook have been reproduced, resulting in an incredible visual feast of styles and subject matter from around the globe. Further, each volume is meticulously described, as is its photographer, in accompanying essays. Highlights include Ken Schles’s haunting images from Invisible City, Todd Hido’s groundbreaking House Hunting, and Sophie Calle’s recent book about her mother’s death, Rachel, Monique. While many books deal with death, war, and atrocities, there are several humorous gems, such as Joachim Schmid’s volume of found photographs, Size Matters, and Jiao Putta’s government-produced food shots in Catalogue of Meat Products. Contemporary art and photo lovers will appreciate Parr and Badger’s wealth of knowledge about modern photography.”(Syndetics)

The previous two volumes are also available in our collection (click on the images to check availability):

The Photobook a history Vol 1 The Photobook a history Vol 2

Syndetics book cover“The French cat 
“Photographer and ailurophile Hale (101 Cataclysms), born in New Zealand and living in France, offers a gorgeous love letter to her adopted country, its cities and famous light, and most of all-its cats. Cats are adored in France, she finds. Even the “gutter cats” are cherished, fed by villagers and “allowed to remain singular, self-contained, standoffish.” Photographing felines wherever she can find them-basking on the docks, posing on a “baronial staircase”-becomes a sort of shorthand for her process of observing, parsing, and celebrating French culture and the land. Her methods also make for fun reading, how she travels with cat toys to attract the attention of her skittish subjects and to lure them into the frame (not always successfully; one cat rewards her with a vicious bite) .” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe New York dog
“McKenna (Smitten; 101 Salivations: For the Love of Dogs) has a well-established brand in animal photography, with work that includes greeting cards, calendars, and posters. This collection of portraits moves from France (The French Dog) to the United States in celebration of New York’s pooches. A foreword from Georgina Bloomberg, featured with her five rescue dogs, sets the tone of dedication to the city and its canine inhabitants. While some humans are included with their pets, the focus is on the animals in their environments. From Valentino and Geisha in Manhattan to Oscar in Queens, the dogs’ stories are as varied as New York’s neighborhoods.” (Syndetics)

Photography in June: Check out our online magazine collection


We have been reviewing new books on photography and I thought it was time we turned our attention to another great source of photography news, information and inspiration, available through our online library.

Our newest eLibrary addition, Zinio, is a great new collection including over 140 current magazine titles. Members of Wellington City Libraries can borrow as many as they like for free, and keep them as long as they want – with no overdue fees.   There’s a wide range of magazines – including a number of international photography titles.

And with overseas magazines titles, there’s no waiting for these digital copies: the magazines are available at the same time or sooner than their print editions appear in UK or US, with the same layout on the screen as they have in print, complete with photographs, graphics and even interactive content.  If you missed a previous issue, these are available for most titles as well.

So. whether you are looking to develop your editing skills, learn about gif images, want to research the latest photography equipment or keep up with fine arts photography exhibitions and publications, our magazines will keep you in the know at the swish of a screen.

Watch our Slideshare presentation to see how you can set up your two Zinio accounts (and one for the app).

May Photography

In a field still dominated by men, photography of women and by women feature more than usual in this month selection. Serendipitous,  refreshing and inspiring.

Syndetics book coverWomen of vision : National Geographic photographers on assignment / foreword by Ann Curry ; introduction by Chris Johns.
“For 125 years, National Geographic has documented the world and all that is in it with stunning photography that captures the soul of a story beyond the words on a page.
Some of the most powerful narratives of the past decade have been produced by a forward-thinking generation of women photojournalists as different as the places and the subjects they have covered. But they all share the same passion and commitment to storytelling that has come to define National Geographic.
Women of Vision was curated by National Geographic Senior Photo Editor Elizabeth Krist, who had the challenging task of choosing a selection of images to best represent the broad portfolios of the 11 extraordinary photographers.
Women of Vision is a tribute to the spirit and the ambition of these journalists and artists who have created riveting experiences for millions through the insightful, sensitive, and strategic use of a camera. From the last great wildernesses of Africa to the tumult of the Jersey Shore, these stories explore the realities of our world and the depths of what it means to be human in the 21st Century. These women of vision have taken millions with them on assignment through the pages of National Geographic–and in the process have set a new standard for excellence that will continue to inspire for decades to come.” (From book jacket)

Syndetics book coverVisible : 60 women at 60 / photography by Jenny O’Connor.
“Photographer Jenny O’Connor was born in 1952, the year that the highest number of births was recorded in New Zealand. She, and the women who feature in Visible, are part of the ‘baby boom’ generation. In 2011, as Jenny headed toward her 60th birthday in 2012, she began to wonder how other women nearing this same milestone felt about themselves, how society saw them and what their thoughts about their future were. Jenny’s desire to explore these questions was how this book began; by talking to 60 women who were 60 when she took their photograph. The words are theirs, writing whatever each wanted to say about themselves.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe New Yorkers / Robert Herman ; foreword by Sean Corcoran ; essay by Stella Kramer.
“The New Yorkers is a glorious look at a city bursting with color and life. It is a body of work full of frozen moments, serendipity and reflection. Through Robert Herman s work we recognize the New York we knew and the New York we still know today. His street photography freezes people and places in this city at decisive moments, with spontaneity and authenticity. In The New Yorkers the city waves at us, looks us right in the eye and brushes past us, without seeing. It layers images upon images like the best graffiti–always renewing and reforming itself. Stella Kramer, Pulitzer prize-Winning Photo Editor.
The New Yorkers is Robert Herman s astounding collection of photographs of New York City, shot between 1978-2005 on Kodachrome. The book immortalizes the transformation of Soho, Little Italy, Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side. These photos tell an authentic story of New York City: real New Yorkers living and working in their own neighborhoods. In Herman s bold use of light and composition, he effectively transforms everyday subject matter into vibrant, emotion-filled images. But beyond the stunning photography, it also tells another story: that of Herman s battle with bipolar disorder. A physical representation of the empathy Herman had for his subjects while struggling with his own sense of outsiderness is what makes The New Yorkers of interest to all who know and love the city as well as those who want to know it.” (From

Syndetics book coverFrançois Halard / texts by François Halard and Isabelle Dupuy Chavanat ; edited by Beda Achermann and François Halard.
“This extravagant volume is the magnum opus of today’s most celebrated interiors photographer. One of François Halard’s first assignments, to photograph Yves Saint Laurent’s legendary Paris apartment when he was in his early twenties, cemented his reputation as one of the most original eyes of our era. His unique photographic sensibility—old-world elegant and bohemian, accessible and personal—is instantly recognizable. Thirty years later, Halard still captures our imagination with his breathtaking photographs.Included in this highly anticipated volume are Halard’s images of the glorious homes of the most important tastemakers, artists, and designers of the twentieth century: Axel Vervoordt, Roger Vivier, Richard Avedon, the Duchess of Devonshire, Julian Schnabel, Schiaparelli, Carlo Mollino, Balthus, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, and many more, including Halard’s own homes in New York, Paris, and Arles. Photographed in his inimitable “grand manner,” often for Vogue, this book also shows for the first time the more intimate “house portraits” that Halard would photograph for himself, where his personal vision shines through. François Halard will be a coveted, indispensable resource for all lovers of interior style and a master class in visual education.” (From

5110VVQEl8L__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Butch / Kanithea Powell ; photography by Beverli Alford.
“From award-winning film-maker Kanithea Powell, Butch is a lavish book that attempts to redefine the concept of “butch” through a series of photographs shot in a sleek fashion studio style, challenging traditional butch identity and shedding some new light on what it means today.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLegendary : inside the house ballroom scene / photographs by Gerard H. Gaskin ; with an introduction by Deborah Willis, and an essay by Frank Roberts.
“Gerard H. Gaskin’s radiant color and black-and-white photographs take us inside the culture of house balls, underground events where gay and transgender men and women, mostly African American and Latino, come together to see and be seen. At balls, high-spirited late-night pageants, members of particular “houses”—the House of Blahnik, the House of Xtravaganza—”walk,” competing for trophies in categories based on costume, attitude, dance moves, and “realness.” In this exuberant world of artistry and self-fashioning, people often marginalized for being who they are can flaunt and celebrate their most vibrant, spectacular selves.From the quiet backstage, to the shimmering energies of the runway. to the electricity of the crowd, Gaskin’s photographs take us to the ball. Legendary, comprised of photos taken at events in the New York city area, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Washington, D.C., is a collaboration between Gaskin, a camera-laden outsider who has been attending balls for twenty years, and the house members who let him enter the intimate world of ball culture. In addition to an introduction by Deborah Willis, Legendary includes an essay, “The Queer Undercommons,” by Frank Roberts.” (Dust jacket)

Syndetics book coverUnderwater photography : art and techniques / Nick Robertson-Brown.
“Capture an underwater world of glorious colours, extraordinary creatures and mysterious depths.
Underwater photography is a challenging discipline. To capture stunning images you must have confidence in your diving abilities and be very comfortable with your camera. This practical book explains and offers advice to the reader on both the art and the science involved in capturing underwater shots.
Nick-Robertson-Brown is passionate about marine wildlife. Having trained as a diving instructor, he now teaches underwater photography and regularly contributes to the photographic press.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverKen Duncan : life’s a journey : the adventure continues / Ken Duncan.
“This spectacular volume has been more than thirty years in the making. Featuring many never-before-seen photos, plus a host of stories untold until now, Ken Duncan: Life’s a Journey is a magnificent and yet passionate “commentary on life” from one of the world’s great photographers.
Part autobiography, part travelogue and part reflection, this is a book of wonderful variety and range. There’s humour, drama, anecdote and heart-searching. Every spread is illustrated by Ken’s superb images: from the Aussie outback to Africa, from Antarctica to China – and much more.
This book is in many ways a follow-up to Ken’s acclaimed 2008 volume Ken Duncan: Life’s an Adventure. That book surprised and thrilled readers, who read for the first time many of the stories behind Ken’s career. For Ken, the greatest accolade came when he heard of a farmer whose life had (quite literally) been saved by reading the book. Ready to take his own life after two years of destructive floods, the farmer had happened upon Ken’s volume in the farmhouse; he’d been completely turned around by Ken’s personal story of chaos leading to hope.
Ken Duncan: Life’s a Journey continues in this tradition, telling more – much more – of the unique Ken Duncan story. Ken’s passion is to speak honestly to his own generation – in the midst of a world often gripped by fear of financial crisis, terrorism or environmental catastrophe.
As Ken writes: “Daily we have choices to make: Will we live our lives in faith or fear? I choose faith. Who will join me in this peaceful revolution?”” (From dust jacket)

Syndetics book coverTransformational imagemaking : handmade photography since 1960 / Robert Hirsch.
“Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960 is a groundbreaking survey of significant work and ideas by imagemakers who have pushed beyond the boundaries of photography as a window on our material world. These artists represent a diverse group of curious experimentalists who have propelled the medium’s evolution by visualizing their subject matter as it originates from their mind’s eye. Many favor the historical techniques commonly known as alternative photographic processes, but all these makers demonstrate that the real alternative is found in their mental approach and not in their use of physical methods. Within this context, photographer and photography historian Robert Hirsch outlines the varied approaches these artists have utilized to question conventional photographic practices, to convey internal realities, and to examine what constitutes photographic reality. Hirsch explores the half-century evolution of these concepts and methodologies and their popularity among contemporary imagemakers who are merging digital and analog processes to express what was thought to be photographically inexpressible.” (Back cover)

April Photography

Syndetics book coverEmmet Gowin
“Throughout his prolific career as a photographer, Emmet Gowin has threaded together seemingly disparate subjects: his wife, Edith, and their extended family; American and European landscapes; aerial views of environmental devastation, brought together by his ongoing interest in issues of scale, the impact of the individual, and notions of belonging. This long-awaited survey pays tribute to Gowin’s remarkable career and his impact on the medium. Following his marriage to Edith Morris in 1964, Gowin began work on a series of images of his extended family that is now recognized as a touchstone of twentieth-century American photography. He photographed the children and the aging parents, and made intimate portraits of his wife, continuing a photographic tradition inherited from his mentor, Harry Callahan, with whom he studied in the 1960s. His focus broadened in the 1980s, when he began an exploration of landscape and aerial photography, most specifically in his documentation of Mount St. Helens and the American West. He has photographed in the Czech Republic, Italy, Mexico, Japan and the United States, with a continued interest in irrigation, mining and natural resources, and the effects of military testing on the environment. As a photography professor at Princeton University from 1973 to 2009, Gowin has exerted a powerful influence on several generations of photographers. “(From

Charles Marville : photographer of Paris / Sarah Kennel ; with Anne de Mondenard, Peter Barberie, Françoise Reynaud, Joke de Wolf.
“Charles Marville (1813-1879) is widely acknowledged as one of the most talented photographers of the nineteenth century. Accompanying a major retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in honor of Marville’s bicentennial, Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris surveys the artist’s entire career. This beautiful book, which begins with the city scenes and architectural views Marville made throughout France and Germany in the 1850s, also explores his portraits and landscapes s before turning to his photographs of Paris made both before and after the city’s dramatic modernization in the 1850s and 1860s. Commissioned to record the city in transition, Marville created one of the earliest and most powerful photographic series documenting urban transformation on a grand scale. Despite the importance of his work, Marville has long been an enigma in the history of photography, in part because many of the documents about his life were thought to have been lost in a fire that destroyed Paris’s city hall in 1871. Based on meticulous research, this volume reveals many new insights into Marville’s personal and professional biography, including the central fact that he was born Charles-François Bossu. He shed this name (which means hunchback) and adopted the pseudonym Marville when he began his career as an illustrator in the 1830s. With five essays by respected scholars, this book offers the first comprehensive examination of Marville’s life and career and delivers the much-awaited public recognition his photographs so richly deserve.” (Publisher)

Syndetics book coverDorothea Lange : grab a hunk of lightning : her lifetime in photography / by Elizabeth Partridge.
“This generously illustrated (more than 100 plates) monograph is a companion to a PBS American Masters episode airing in 2014. -Partridge (writing, Vermont Coll. of Fine Arts; Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of -Dorothea Lange), an established children’s book author, examines the career and works of her godmother, Dorothea Lange, one of the 20th century’s most important women photographers. Beginning as a portrait photographer in San Francisco in 1918, Lange worked for various state and federal entities during the 1930s and 1940s, recording pivotal moments during the Depression and World War II. Later, she produced images for books and popular magazines, traveled the world in the 1950s and 1960s, and took fine-arts photos. In 1966, Lange became the first woman photographer to have a retrospective solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Focusing on Lange’s early works but also featuring a significant number of her later ones, this book is organized in the same way as a museum exhibition catalog, with a well-written, insightful introductory essay by Partridge. All the plates are captioned; some are showcased with quotations from Lange’s interviews and letters. Verdict? Of interest mostly to general readers, students, and others, this survey of Lange’s life and works is highly recommended for many public and some special and academic libraries.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe Latin American photobook / Horacio Fernández ; advisory committee, Marcelo Brodsky … [et al.].
“Compiled with the input of a committee of researchers, scholars, and photographers, ‘The Latin American Photobook’ presents 150 volumes from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela. It begins with the 1920s and continues up to today.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSerge Lutens : Berlin à Paris
“One of the world’s most famous stylists and photographers, and perfume creator par excéllence, for a time, Serge Lutens is an undisputed protagonist in the international scenario of the world’s most exclusive perfumes.
Born in Lille, he moved to Paris, where he was hired by Vogue to create make-up and hair-styles. This is how he came to meet leading photographers like Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. In 1967, Christian Dior commissioned Lutens to create a new line of cosmetics, which Vogue America was to describe as ‘revolutionary’. His years working for Dior, between 1967 and 1977, are the focus of this book, which presents the extraordinary hitherto unpublished material from the advertising campaign he created to launch his company’s new line of make-up.” (Publisher)

Syndetics book coverRodarte : Catherine Opie, Alec Soth  
“California Condors, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, Japanese horror films and Gordon Matta-Clark are among the many influences that make up the world of Rodarte. In just five short years, Rodarte has upended the fashion scene, bringing Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind the company, to the forefront of contemporary design and visual culture. Kate and Laura, who live and work between downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, California, have consistently brought their love of nature, film, art and science to bear upon their unconventional and exquisitely crafted collections. Burning, sanding, dyeing, knitting, twisting, staining and weaving are some of the many complex techniques that have entered into the Rodarte textural vocabulary. Kate and Laura’s past collaborations have included artists, actors, musicians and writers such as Miranda July, Autumn de Wilde, Ryan McGinley, Ari Marcopoulos and Darren Aronofsky. Created in collaboration with two of the art world’s most sought-after and acclaimed photographers, Catherine Opie and Alec Soth, this is the first publication to examine the world of Rodarte. For the occasion, each photographer has developed an entirely new body of work in collaboration with Kate and Laura Mulleavy, examining the many facets of Rodarte’s creative spectrum.” (Adapted from

lynchDavid Lynch : the factory photographs / [edited by] Petra Giloy-Hirtz.
“Filled with dreamlike and eerie images, this first book of photographs from the director David Lynch offers a window into the iconic filmmaker’s creative vision. Anyone familiar with David Lynch’s cinematic achievement will identify similarities between this series of photographs and his most powerful films. Dark and beautiful, mystical and enigmatic, these photos reveal Lynch’s unique style. The exterior and interior black and white shots of factories in Berlin, Poland, New York, England, and other locations are filled with Lynchian characteristics: labyrinthine passages, decaying walls, industrial waste, and detritus. Devoid of nature, the dying, manmade structures are actually being overtaken by nature’s innate power. They are haunting cathedrals of a bygone industrial era–the perfect setting for a David Lynch film, and a revealing addition to his unique and fascinating oeuvre.” (From

Syndetics book coverNight photography : from snapshots to great shots / Gabriel Biderman with Tim Cooper.
“Are you a night owl looking to make stunning images of streetscapes, fireworks, or the night sky? Do you like to bend time with long exposure photography? Do star trails or lightning strikes inspire you? Then this book is for you!
In Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, photographer Gabriel Biderman brings you the basics of digital night photography—exposure, composition, and light—and how to scout and capture different nocturnal locations once the sun goes down. Gabriel will help you understand the fundamentals and bring your unique artistic expression to any night situation. Beautifully illustrated with large, compelling photos, this book teaches you how to take control of your photography to get the image you want every time.” (From

Syndetics book coverHumans of New York / Brandon Stanton.
“Six months after Stanton got his first camera in 2010, he lost his job as a bond trader. Before that, he’d been spending his weekends photographing everything he could find in Chicago, returning home with more than 1,000 images each day. After a weekend trip to New York City floored him with the city’s wide variety of inhabitants, Stanton packed his bags and returned to launch “Humans of New York,” a photo blog that soon morphed into a Facebook page that garnered over 500,000 fans in a little over a year. Here, he presents his most striking images accompanied by commentary from his subjects. Many photo essays of this type have a singular topic in mind, such as highlighting urban blight or homelessness. Stanton doesn’t shy away from those topics, but he doesn’t dwell either, preferring to offer a more optimistic view of his fellow New Yorkers. There’s the Yugoslavian janitor who studied for 12 years to earn his classics degree; Banana George, the world’s oldest barefoot water-skier who’s now in a wheelchair; Muslims in prayer; and shots of adorable kids, crazy fashionistas, and young lovers, all paired with a comment from Stanton or from the subjects themselves. There’s no judgment, just observation and in many cases reverence, making for an inspiring reading and visual experience.” (Publisher Weekly)

Photography, by robots and humans

Syndetics book coverThis is Mars
This gorgeous collection of images of Mars were sent by the probes Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Pathfinder, and Mars Express, as well as Martian rovers. The result is an absolute gem, for photography, astronomy and geology enthusiasts alike. Random images taken by robots, creating incredible art. Beauty in the factual, curated by great names of photography, compiled into a lavishly produced monograph sure to captivate.

Syndetics book coverSite specific / Olivo Barbieri.
“Site specific is a summary of Olivo Barieri’s ten-year project to record the world’s cities in aerial photographs. The book offers a trhilling survey of thirty-six cities throughout the world. At the same time, it presents a narrative of Barbieri’s evolving approach to photography and his ideas about the nature of the medium. Presented chronogically, the photographs begin with the distinct “tilt-shift” photographs of Italian cities with which Barbieri first established his reputation, and lauched a popular stylistic movement for selective-focus photographs. During the series, he later introduced other devices and approches to  distort perceived reality to dramatic effect, such as playing with color, registration and the deletion or discoloring of particular details. The result is a remarkable photo essay about twenty-first century urban space and about photography itself.” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverKeeping time : the photographs of Don Hunstein : the unseen archive of Columbia records
“It is rare that a coffee-table book would seem too short. But with every image captured by record label photographer Hunstein in this volume, you’ll want more: more shots of a pensive, nervous Aretha Franklin; more outtakes from The Freewheeling Bob Dylan cover shoot; more of Miles Davis looking self-aware in a mink coat; and extra images of Billie Holiday during a recording session. New York Times music critic Pareles skillfully curates the archival photos by Hunstein, who silently documented the art of creation before “selfies” and branding. The images reveal the evolution of access and image in pop culture: musicians who were snapped in awkward poses before the fame and those who preened after it, never to be caught candid again. It’s as good a meditation on pop music and pop culture as is likely to be released this year. Verdict?: Fine arts librarians and special collections archivists may find this a worthwhile complementary research tool; it’s also an entertaining browse through history.” (Abridged from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverUnseen McQueen
“Every image unseen. Stunning photography of the King of Cool. These stunning images of Steve McQueen taken by photography legend Barry Feinstein – at the race track, on the set of Bullitt relaxing with friends – have all remained completely unseen until now and are reproduced for the first time in magnificent quality in this volume. Feinstein was a close personal friend of McQueen’s and his photos convey an intimacy rarely experienced in shots of the star. Stunning photography. Not to be missed.” (From

Syndetics book coverThe New York times magazine photographs
“Edited by Kathryn Ryan, the publication’s director of photography, this book features more than 400 hundred images, organised into five sections: Portraits, Documentary, Photo-Illustration, Style and Projects. The photographs represent a gamu of modes, from hard-hitting war documents to conceptual work by contemporary artists: from elaborately constructed tableaux to the most simple portraits, lit by a single bulb. The volume’s final chapter presents a visual index of more than 250 Magazine tearsheets, where the photographsncan be considered in their original published context.
This book offers an unprecedented insider’s look into the workings of one of the most dynamic forums for photography anywhere, and examines the evolving language of both the medium and its journalistic context.” (From book cover)

Syndetics book coverHollywood in Kodachrome : 1940-1949 / David Wills and Stephen Schmidt.
“Curated from the luscious Kodachrome stock of the 1940s, renowned preservationist David Wills presents a dazzling Hollywood collection as never before printed. Drawn from Wills’s vast collection of first-generation negatives and prints, meticulously scanned and gorgeously printed, these icons of film and style are brought back to life almost more vibrantly than they were ever seen at the time. Now, with Hollywood in Kodachrome, Wills offers a stunning gallery of hundreds of impossibly lush, full-colour photos of the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Photographed using late 1940s sheet Kodachrome a film stock that remains legendary for its tonal range, colour accuracy, and detail the silver screen’s elite are brilliantly captured in unparalleled quality. Vividly portrayed in luxuriant detail, the stars in Hollywood in Kodachrome include Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra, Joan Crawford, Gregory Peck, Lucille Ball, William Holden, and many more. Including a foreword by Rhonda Fleming, and featuring more than 200 photos from classic films and publicity shoots, Hollywood in Kodachrome is a magnificent culmination of the 1940s’ most beloved icons.” (Publisher description)

Syndetics book coverHome truths : photography and motherhood
“This beautiful and striking book examines one of the most enduring subjects in the history of picture-making: the image of the mother. Focusing on the work of twelve international photographic artists (Janine Antoni, Elina Brotherus, Elinor Carucci, Ana Casas Broda, Ann Fessler, Tierney Gearon, Fred Hüning, Miyako Ishiuchi, Leigh Ledare, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Katie Murray and Hanna Putz), the publication challenges the stereotypical or sentimental views of motherhood handed down by traditional depictions, exploring instead how photography can be used to address changing conditions of power, gender, domesticity, the maternal body and female identity. ” (From book cover)

Photography As You Don’t Know It

To paraphrase the latest issue of  Aperture Magazine (Issue 213), this installment of our Photography blog features some books (and magazines) that will show you, “photography as you don’t know it”.

syndetics-lcThe current issue features a cover and article about New Zealand artist Len Lye’s Shadowgraphs, subject of one of our earlier posts, an early adopter of alternative photographic techniques, a long time before the birth of digital photography.
The technological developments of the last two decades mean that photography as a medium has evolved in many incredible and fascinating directions that were not possible before. Photography as a way to document reality is everyday challenged further, making amazing tools available to all, allowing anyone with the inclination (and some time) to create a world of make belief. Fiction and reality become more blurred as digital imagery becomes ever present in our daily lives.
However, we still marvel at the power of “documentary” photography to show us the world at its most natural and majestic, as Sebastiao Salgado has again demonstrated in his latest publication, or at its most simple and authentic, as these early and unusually black & white photographs of Martin Parr powerfully illustrate.

Let’s just remember to differentiate the medium from its subject matter and we shall be prepared to embrace all the forms photography can take.

Ultimate Surreal Digital PhotographySurreal Photography – Creating the impossible
“Master the art of imaginative photo-manipulation. Ever since Man Ray imposed the sound holes of a violin onto his models back, photographers have been enthusiastic practitioners of surreal art. With the advent of high-quality digital photo-manipulation the possibilities for creativity have become infinite. This book reveals the latest developments in the field and demystifies the techniques used by modern surreal photographers, whether they favour straight-out-of-the-camera surrealism or sophisticated digital manipulations. Breaking down the shooting and editing process so any reader can follow, this book provides step-by-step instructions for creating extraordinary scenes. With contributions from numerous artists, including Natalie Dybisz, Jon Jacobsen and Patrick Desmet, readers will be able to explore many different styles, from impossible landscapes to unsettling portraits.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lc50 portraits : stories and techniques from a photographer’s photographerGregory Heisler:  : 50 portraits : stories and techniques from a photographer’s photographer
“In this first-ever showcase of his work, Gregory Heisler, one of professional photography’s most respected practitioners, shares 50 iconic portraits of celebrities, athletes, and world leaders, along with fascinating, thoughtful, often humorous stories about how the images were made. From his famously controversial portrait of President George H.W. Bush (which led to the revocation of Heisler’s White House clearance) to his evocative post-9/11 Time magazine cover of Rudolph Giuliani, to stunning portraits of Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Hillary Clinton, Michael Phelps, Muhammad Ali, and many more, Heisler reveals the creative and technical processes that led to each frame. For Heisler’s fans and all lovers of photography, Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits offers not only a gorgeous collection of both black-and-white and color portraits, but an engrossing look at the rarely seen art of a master photographer at work”. (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcSebastiao Salgado – Genesis
“Epic journeys to the ends of the earth: Salgado’s opus on our planet in its natural state. On a very fortuitous day in 1970, 26-year-old Sebastiao Salgado held a camera for the first time. When he looked through the viewfinder, he had an epiphany: suddenly life made sense. From that day onward – though it took years of hard work before he had the experience to earn his living as a photographer – the camera became his tool for interacting with the world. Salgado, who “always preferred the chiaroscuro palette of black-and-white images,” shot very little color in his early career before giving it up completely. Having been raised on a rural farm in Brazil, far from civilization and without television, Salgado possessed a deep love and respect for nature; he was also particularly sensitive to the ways in which human beings are affected by their often devastating socio-economic conditions.  “Genesis” is the result of an epic eight-year expedition to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society – the land and life of a still-pristine planet.” (From

syndetics-lcThe Non-Conformists
The Non-Conformists features Martin Parr’s first major body of work from the mid-1970s, published here for the first time in book form. A wonderful and charming surprise for Parr enthusiasts and fans of traditional reportage, this body of black-and-white imagery predates the cutting colour work that earned him his fame in the 1980s. In 1975, fresh out of art school, Martin Parr found poor footing in the London photography scene, so he moved to the picturesque Yorkshire Pennine mill town of Hebden Bridge. Over a period of five years, he documented the town in photographs, showing in particular the aspects of traditional life that were beginning to decline. Susie Parr, whom he had met in Manchester, joined him in documenting a year in the life of a small Methodist chapel, together with its farming community. In words and pictures, the Parrs vividly and affectionately document cobbled streets, flat-capped mill workers, hardy gamekeepers, henpecked husbands, and jovial shop owners.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcAlexander McQueen: Working Process
“In 2008 Alexander McQueen commissioned photographer Nick Waplington to document the creation of his Fall 2009 collection–all the way from inception to runway showing. Unfortunately, it was to be the last Fall/Winter collection that McQueen would stage before his untimely death. This show, which he titled The Horn of Plenty, found McQueen revisiting his 15-year archive of work and recycling it into a new collection. Every step of the creative process is documented in fascinating detail and readers receive a rare insight into the inner workings of McQueen’s creative process. This substantial overview, with more than 120 photographs, is published just as McQueen edited it, commemorating the most personal of his collections.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverVanity fair, 100 years : from the jazz age to our age
Vanity Fair 100 Years showcases a century of personality and power, art and commerce, crisis and culture–both highbrow and low. From its inception in 1913, through the Jazz Age and the Depression, to its reincarnation in the boom-boom Reagan years, to the image-saturated Information Age, Vanity Fair has presented the modern era as it has unfolded, using wit, imagination, peerless literary narrative, and bold, groundbreaking imagery from the greatest photographers, artists, and illustrators of the day. This sumptuous book takes a decade-by-decade look at the world as seen by the magazine, stopping to describe the incomparable editor Frank Crowninshield and the birth of the Jazz Age Vanity Fair, the magazine’s controversial rebirth in 1983, and the history of the glamorous Vanity Fair Oscar Party.” (Books In Print)

Syndetics book coverCaught in the act : actors acting / director & photographer, Howard Schatz ; editor & producer, Beverly J. Ornstein ; writer, Owen Edwards.
“Actors fascinate us in part because they live out the truths we cannot, or do not, want to live out ourselves. In his latest book, acclaimed photographer Howard Schatz develops upon his well-received monthly feature for Vanity Fair, In Character. Schatz’ mastery of his craft is demonstrated as he himself acts, taking on the role of a director and giving his subjects detailed situations to explore, which are listed with the resulting image. The actors featured here-including John Malkovich, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Douglas, Colin Firth, Laurence Fishburne, Whoopi Goldberg, Michael C. Hall, Hugh Laurie, Amy Poehler, and Geoffrey Rush, among other illustrious greats-demonstrate their skill for improvisation while Schatz captures the complexity of their emotional and physical range. This inventive collection is a richly entertaining revelation of the fantasy of transformation. Schatz does not simply create characters from these actors-he helps to reveal their humanity.” (Syndetics)

2013-07-25 09.58.08When in Paris in July 2013, I came across an outdoor exhibition on the railings of the Luxembourg garden. A series of 80 large scale photos recounted the history of the Tour de France, to celebrate its 100th edition, paying homage to the riders, but also to the spectators and the landscapes, the other crucial protagonists of the event.
I couldn’t help but take this shot of a cyclist enjoying the exhibition as I passed.

Photography courtesy of Françoise Padellec.

syndetics-lcTour de France 100 – A Photographic History of the World’s Greatest Race
“First staged in 1903, the Tour de France lasts three weeks every July and takes its c.200 competitors through over 3600km of varied terrain, including testing mountain stages. The race is broken into one-day ‘stages’, with the overall leader wearing the fabled yellow jersey.
Tour de France
100 celebrates 110 years of the Tour and publishes in the run up to the 100th race. It captures key visual moments in its history, including heroes of the race, great rivalries, moments of high drama, accidents and scandals, all accompanied by Richard Moore’s authoritative text that illuminates and expands upon the superb imagery.” (From

Pure Glamour: New fashion and beauty books for February

I hope you’re all feeling glamorous!! Because our selection of new fashion and beauty books this month is nothing if not glamorous; we have a whole book dedicated to shoes (swoon), as well as big, beautiful books documenting Christian Dior, Paul Smith and the essence of French style. We also have your guide to gentlemen’s fashion, and an illustrated history of luxury fashion brands. We have Collette Dinnigan’s new book, and also an anthology of rock and roll fashion photographs that aren’t to be missed.

Syndetics book coverFor the love of shoes / edited by Patrice Farameh.
“Women have long realized that cool shoes do not only complement the outfit, they are the whole point. From Cinderella to Carrie, we have all fallen head over heels for the right pair-and to hell with cost or comfort! This book explores the outer realms of avant-garde shoe design. Unfettered by commercialism, these pioneering designers give full rein to their artistic visions. These zany pieces contain an array of extraordinary forms and materials. With influences ranging from Las Vegas pizzazz and arcane tribal relics to contemporary architecture, it may be difficult to distinguish between fun footwear and conceptual sculpture.” (

Syndetics book coverJohn Varvatos : rock in fashion / John Varvatos with Holly George-Warren.
“In John Varvatos, the legendary designer reveals his perspective on how rock & roll music and style have influenced his own designs and fashion worldwide. Varvatos’s personally curated collection of more than 250 images are some of the most provocative ever shot by top rock photographers from the late 1960s to today, from the Rolling Stones to the Kings of Leon. Also included are select images from Varvatos’s own advertising campaigns. Every chapter also contains numerous quotes from the musicians themselves, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Iggy Pop, Jack White, Pete Townshend, Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, and Patti Smith. An extraordinary anthology of some of the finest images in rock & roll and the most influential rock looks in fashion and popular culture.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverDior glamour : photographs from 1952 to 1962 / Mark Shaw ; foreword by Lee Radziwill ; text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni.
“A collection of the lavish and iconic gowns of Christian Dior, from the 1950s and 1960s, captured by the legendary photographer Mark Shaw. Iconic photographer Mark Shaw documented the ultra-exclusive Parisian fashion world, focusing on Paris’s long-standing top couturier Christian Dior. This lavish volume embodies the glamour of that time, from rare moments of Christian Dior during fittings to editorial-style photographs of models, socialites, and actresses posing in Dior’s ballgowns, day suits, and haute couture collections. With an eye for intimacy and opulence, this book features more than 200 color and black-and-white photographs, many never published before, having only recently been found in a secret vault by his estate.” (

Syndetics book coverHello, my name is Paul Smith : fashion and other stories / by Paul Smith, Deyan Sudjic and Donna Loveday ; edited by Alan Aboud.
“This handsome volume celebrates over forty years of the playful and trendsetting English fashion brand and retailer Paul Smith. Always in fashion, Paul Smith perfected a classic style that exudes a sense of English tradition combined with humor, playfulness, and mischief. This marriage of sophistication and the unexpected has given birth to a style and identity that forty years and many collections later remains charming, personable, and effortlessly hip. Using hand-drawn designs, archival photographs, gorgeous original photography, and engaging essays, this colorful catalog weaves together a compelling visual tale of Paul Smith s prestigious projects and creative processes from behind-the-scenes to on the streets that built this multifaceted empire of cool.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverObsessive creative / Collette Dinnigan.
“In this much-anticipated book, renowned fashion designer and icon Collette Dinnigan provides an intimate insight into her life and work. In this sumptuous volume jam-packed with hundreds of photographs of the clothes on and off the runway, sketches, watercolors, and images from the designers personal albums.” (

Syndetics book coverLuxury fashion : a global history of heritage brands / Caroline Cox ; foreword by Cameron Silver.
“Luxury brands are not about banal retro styling or taking refuge in past glories; they are brands with a heritage that still chimes with contemporary culture. Luxury Fashion is a unique tribute to the world’s most hallowed fashion brands. Glossy and highly informative, it provides in-depth feature portraits of fifty of the finest luxury fashion brands (renowned heritage labels and hidden gems) as well as an essential directory of a further 150 brands, which includes details of key items and where to find them. Each featured brand is beautifully illustrated, with historical and contemporary images, evoking the story of how artisans from all over the world have created objects of desire that have endured because of their superb quality, superior craftsmanship and timeless design appeal.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe art of being a woman : my mother, Schiaparelli, and me / Patricia Volk.
“Patricia Volk’s glittering memoir, written with charm, panache and wit, juxtaposes the lives of two women – the iconoclastic fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and the author’s own mother – to tell the story of how young Patricia fashioned herself into a woman. Patricia Volk’s mother Audrey was an upper-middle class New Yorker, a great beauty, a perfectionist, and a polished hostess who believed in women doing things the proper way. The iconoclastic Italian fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, on the other hand, never found a rule she didn’t want to break. For Patricia, who read Schiap’s ‘scandalous’ autobiography, Shocking Life, at a tender age, these two women offered fabulously contrasting lessons in everything from fashion, make-up, lingerie, family and entertaining, to love, sex, superstition and gambling – lessons that would stay with her for the rest of her life.” (

Syndetics book coverFrench style / Bérénice Vila Baudry.
“French Style Berenice Baudry was born in Argentina and raised in France. She was a fellow of the Ecole Normale Superieure where she studied French and Spanish literature, and received her doctorate from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. After living four years in Spain, she currently resides in New York and teaches at Columbia University.” (

Syndetics book coverQuintessentially gentleman / head of editorial and writer, Nathalie Bradbury.
“Quintessentially Gentleman is a luxury guidebook for the sartorially savvy man. This edition explores some of the biggest fashion brands as well as the most exclusive bespoke tailors and craftsmen and readers can discover the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of lifestyle etiquette. Be it the finest cut suit, a fashion-forward branded anorak or traditional tweeds for a country weekend, Quintessentially Gentleman will reveal surprising insights into the most respected and admired names in industry.” (Publisher’s website)


This month is rich with many different styles of photographers and photography. From stark black and white to garrish colour, from historical to contemporary, documentary to studio.
New Zealand photography gets a very respectable representation too, from visual accounts of Edmund Hillary’s feats to Marti Friedlander’s autobiography, not forgetting two unique books on animals, with heartwarming stories of dogs who have lived through the Christchurch earthquakes and the fascinating photographic account of the first 37 days of some tui fledglings.
The world of entertainment and glamour is well served with beautiful photography collections from Lee Miller, Terry O’Neill and contemporary prodigy Søren Solkær Starbird.
Finally, if you are looking for inspiration to create gifts that involve photography, look no further, A Beautiful Mess is sure to give you some cool ideas making the most of your cellphone camera. And it is linked to a very cool blog too.

syndetics-lcThe conquest of Everest : original photographs from the legendary first ascent
“On 29 May 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stood on the summit of Mount Everest … anniversary book … features a trove of original photographs … and other rare materials from the Lowe collection … contributions from the late Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Chris Bonington, Kenton Cool, Peter Hillary, Tom Hornbein, Reinhold Messner, Colin Monteath, Jan Morris, Norbu Tenzing Norgay, Doug Scott and Stephen Venables.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lc Lee Miller in fashion
“Lee Miller was a Vogue cover girl, Man Ray’s lover, the first photojournalist at the liberation of Dachau and Buchenwald, and one of the most important female photographers of the 20th century. Combining fine art and urban wit, her photographic technique was learned from the great photographers of her day, among them are Edward Steichen, Man Ray and George Hoyningen-Huene. Becky E. Conekin’s Lee Miller in Fashion gives us a wide lens view on Miller’s fashion photography. Set against the fast-changing landscapes of New York, Paris, and London, it reveals a neglected chapter in Miller’s life: how this incredible woman challenged conventions and broke boundaries in her fashion photography for the leading magazines of the day. Using never-before-seen photographs and archival research, Conekin shows how Miller’s fashion photographs were a brilliant combination of sharp wit, high art and modernist edge.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcSelf-portrait / Marti Friedlander with Hugo Manson
“From a childhood in London’s East End to half a century in New Zealand photographing wine-makers, artists, children and kuia, Marti Friedlander has lived a rich life, one defined by the art of looking. In Self-portrait, Marti tells her story for the first time. As forthright and revealing in words as in her photographs, she tells of growing up in London orphanages, being Jewish, working in a Kensington photography studio, marrying a New Zealander and moving across the world to a challenging new country. Here she began to photograph the ordinary and the extraordinary, protests and politicians, balloons and beaches, capturing on film the transformation of New Zealand life over more than fifty years. This book is a rich meditation on one women’s photographic journey through the twentieth century.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcJohn Cato: retrospective
“In his photographic essays, Cato explores the harsh beauty and spiritual force of the outback. His images, fashioned from the extreme light and shade of the southern sun, have an almost sculptural intensity: a termite-ridden fence-post pierced with rusty-wire, the wind-furrowed surface of a water hole, the twisted bark of a gum tree. They are beautiful pictures, realised with great technical control, but Cato is not content to see himself merely as an ‘artist’ or a ‘photographer’. He describes himself – in his beliefs – as an ‘animist’: I believe that rocks have souls just as much as people. I think the word that has been used about my work which pleases me the most, is elemental, and it is that element of life within the landscape that to some is a deep religious experience. It is a vision that he traces back to the mythology of the Ancient Greeks, but it has interesting resonances, too, with the beliefs of the Australian aboriginals and the practice of their art.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcTerry O’Neill
“Terry O’Neill has captured the iconic, candid and unguarded moments of the famous and notorious for six decades. He was the first photographer to observe the tectonic social and cultural shifts occuring across Britain as the nation emerged from post-war fatigue and in particular he chronicled how youth hijacked fashion, the arts and music to herald an era that became universally acclaimed as the Swinging 60s. He pioneered reportage photography of emerging bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Animals, talent-spotted new icons such as Elton John and David Bowie and very quickly became the photographer of choice of many Hollywood stars, from Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn to Raquel Welch and Paul Newman. He remains the only photographer to have photographed every James Bond actor, more htan 25 Bond girls and a staggering 150 Oscar-nominated actors and actresses. Now, for the first time, an exhaustive cataloguing of his archive conducted over the last three years has revisited more than two million negatives and has unearthed many unseen images, from Ava Gardner to Amy Winehouse, and Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela. Every photograph was carefully selected by the artist himself to represent the scale and breadth of an unparalleled career.” (Book cover)

syndetics-lcCloser : Søren Solkær Starbird
“Over the past decade, Søren Starbird has captured breathtaking photographs of the world’s leading musicians. CLOSR collects the work of this talented Danish artist who has risen to astronomical heights in the world of international photography. His portraits, ranging from deep and intimate studies to large format cinematic scenes shot in mind-blowing locations, have been published as features and on the covers of the world’s leading magazines such as Q, GQ, Arena, Rolling Stone and Wallpaper.” (From book jacket)

syndetics-lcTui – A nest in the bush
“This book is an intimate and rare look at the beginning of a Tui’ life, presented as a series of photographs showing the 37-day development of a pair of tui from eggs to fledglings.
Meg Lipscombe is a photographer living at Lake Tarawera nesr Rotorua, surrounded by native forest and an abundant variety of bird life. One spring morning in 2011, Meg noticed a tui disappear into a bush with a twig in its mouth, and discovered that its nest, while hidden from below, could be seen from her balcony. By carefully removing some leaves from the bush she was able to get a clear view of the nest, giving her a rare opportunity to visually record the beginning of a tui’s life.
The growth and development of tui chicks has never been photographed in this way before, and this beautiful sequence of photographs will have great appeal to anyone, young and old,  who appreciates this much loved and iconic bird.” (Book jacket)

syndetics-lcQuake dogs
“Strange-but-true Christchurch earthquake dog stories… includes stories of USAR dogs that worked in the central city right after the February earthquake; Guinness, the unofficial mascot of the Student Volunteer Army; Nemo, who has a special gift for predicting earthquakes; dogs who were rescued and dogs who rescued others; and stories showing dogs’ uncanny knowledge when trying to find their owners.” (Book cover)

syndetics-lcA beautiful mess : photo idea book : 95 inspiring ideas for photographing your friends, your world, and yourself
“Sisters Elsie and Emma share their love o photographing their everyday life with95 favorite tips and ideas for documenting your own real life with any camera or smartphone. Packed with the same happy, creative spirit and unique style that has made their blog, A Beautiful Mess one of the most popular DIY style websites in the world, these all-new projects and photo challenges will inspire you to style and snap better photos and then transform them into simple yet stunning projects and gifts.” (Adapted from book jacket)

syndetics-lcColor Rush – American photography from Stieglitz to Sherman
“From this color saturated world we live in nowadays, it is hard to believe that there was a time when color photography was not the norm. This book explores the developments that led to this point, looking at the way color photographs circulated and appeared at the time of their making. From magazine pages to gallery walls, from advertisement to photojournalism, Color Rush charts the history of color photography in the United States from the moment the technology became available. At the start is the unveiling of the autochrome in 1907, the first commercially availaable color process and continues through the 1981 landmark survey show and book, The New Color Photography, which hailed the widespread acceptance of color art photography. This book was published by Aperture to accompany the exhibition of the same name, held by Milwaukee Art Museum earlier this year.” (Adapted from book cover)

September Photography

This month two influential New Zealand photographers feature prominently in our selection. Laurence Aberhart and Ans Westra, household names in the world of photography, bring us two views of what once was and how things have changed. In stark contrast the works of fashion and celebrity photographers Brian Bowen Smith and the Markus & Indrani pair take us to a world of glamour and artifice, showing how photography has chameleon like qualities and is a tool that can depict very different facets of the world.  Historical and nature photography are not ignored either, nor the staple of instructional manuals.

Laurence AberhartLaurence Aberhart – Recent Taranaki Photographs
Published to accompany the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery exhibition of the same name, this fittingly understated yet gorgeous book contains the 30 new works comissioned for the exhibition, together with earlier photographs representing Taranaki and held by the gallery. A celebration of Aberhart, one of New Zealand’s most respected photographers, as much as the Taranaki region, and the special bond that connects them, this book is also a reflection on Aberhart’s relationship with and depiction of  some of New Zealand vanishing landscapes and landmarks.
Words that come to mind to describe Aberhart’s work range from quiet, contemplative, melancholy, timeless to austere. This quote from the artist “What inherently interests me is the transitional: the pieces in our landscape that were something once, aren’t that anymore, will be something different in the future, or may not exist. I’m interested in capturing them when they’re somewhat adrift”, is an apt description of his aesthetic and intellectual focus.
The book also includes insightful essays on Aberhart’s work and creative process. (Staff review; Image supplied by Govett-Brewster Art Gallery)

syndetics-lcNga tau ki muri = Our future
“The purpose of the book is to give a directive to the country, an awareness of things changed and lost within its short history. If we don’t plan for the long term and keep taking stop-gap measures, we leave very little behind. Instead of becoming like the rest of the world, this beautiful place should become a shining example of hope for survival in a newly balanced environment. ” Includes 137 Westra photographs of the New Zealand landscape, with text contributions from Hone Tuwhare, Russel Norman, Brian Turner, David Eggleton and David Lange. (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcBrian Bowen Smith – Projects
“Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Brian Bowen Smith became a professional photographer by a less traditional route than most. While performing as a pro athlete, Bowen Smith happened to catch the eye of legendary photographer Herb Ritts, who invited him to appear in a Gap ad campaign. Ritts subsequently became his mentor and friend. Four years spent as Ritts’ assistant helped Bowen Smith to establish his photographic style, and assignments for W, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Self and Interview soon followed. Now living in Los Angeles, Bowen Smith has established himself as a veteran celebrity and beauty photographer, having worked with some of the best-known TV, music and movie stars of today (both up-and-coming and established), among them Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Warren Beatty, Orlando Bloom, Adrian Brody, Cindy Crawford, Sheryl Crow, Cat Deeley, Emily Deschanel, James Franco, Scott Glenn, Ethan Hawke, Demi Moore, Carolyn Murphy, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Hillary Swank and Billy Bob Thornton, among many others. As this first monograph shows, many of these stars have gone on to become close friends. Projects spans the gamut of Bowen Smith’s work, from personal work to commissioned assignments done over the past ten years.”(From

syndetics-lcMarkus + Indrani – Icons
“Markus Klinko and Indrani–the hottest team in celebrity and fashion photography–have produced album covers for Beyonce, Mariah Carey, and David Bowie, and shot everyone from Lady Gaga to Kate Winslet, Jay-Z, Lindsay Lohan, and Naomi Campbell. As former stars of the Bravo series Double Exposure and in past lives as a recording artist and top model, respectively, Markus and Indrani have spent most of their lives in front of the cameras, giving them a unique perspective on the realities and fantasies of their celebrated subjects. The result is a collection of powerful, definitive, iconic images of some of the most engaging stars of our time. As cutting edge as ever seventeen years into their career, with Icons Markus and Indrani showcase their work for the first time in book form. The text, based on interviews with the photographers and many of the stars they’ve shot, describes the uniquely fascinating professional partnership of the former lovers, how they work, and tells stories about the famed subjects of their photography–at turns funny, fascinating, and endearing. Filled with more than 250 full-color photographs in crisp detail, Icons is an engrossing showcase of the hottest stars of our day in all their glamorous, glossy, and dynamic perfection. It’s a dream package for legions of celebrity followers and photography enthusiasts.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcShort nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis
“Edward Curtis was dashing, charismatic, a passionate mountaineer, a famous photographer–the Annie Liebowitz of his time. And he was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his great idea: He would try to capture on film the Native American nation before it disappeared. At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, Egan’s book tells the remarkable untold story behind Curtis’s iconic photographs, following him throughout Indian country from desert to rainforest as he struggled to document the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. Even with the backing of Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan, it took tremendous perseverance–six years alone to convince the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. The undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. He would die penniless and unknown in Hollywood just a few years after publishing the last of his twenty volumes. But the charming rogue with the grade-school education had fulfilled his promise–his great adventure succeeded in creating one of America’s most stunning cultural achievements.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcDesert Air
“Hyper Arid is the first comprehensive photographic book on all of the world’s extreme deserts (defined for the purposes of this book as those that receive no more than 4 inches of precipitation per year), the most remote and inhospitable places on earth. It is also a visual adventure story by one of the world’s top expedition photographers who has spent the last 15 years on this epic body of work. The stunning and surreally beautiful photographs are enriched with stories from his adventures in the world’s most difficult places: smuggling his aircraft into Libya, getting arrested for spying in Iran, crashing into a tree in Western China, and into the ocean off the coast of Mexico. The book is a comprehensive exploration of virtually every dune field and patch of barren ground that add up to the last great class of wilderness left on our planet. To visualize these remote places in a unique way, Steinmetz learned how to fly the world’s lightest and slowest aircraft, a motorized paraglider. This experimental foot-launched aircraft consists of a backpack motor and a parachute-style wing that lets him fly low, and slow, to take pictures of places that have never been seen before. Together, these extraordinary places are like a disparate family of co-evolved landscapes, each similar, but uniquely beautiful” (Syndetics)

Blogging for photographers
“The days of fame through word-of mouth are gone. In order to be successful and seen, you need to be online and you need a blog. This book is for photographers—whether enthusiasts or established professionals—who want to show their photography to the world. Jolie O’Dell, blogging guru, teaches all the necessary skills required to set up and maintain a successful blog about photography, from the technical side of things to writing intriguing, appealing posts.” (from

syndetics-lcDirection & quality of light : your key to better portrait photography anywhere
“Learn how to: determine the optimal subject position for natural light portraits; position hard light sources and soft light sources; choose light modifiers to adjust the light quality; adjust the distance and position of the main, fill, hair, and background lights for refined results; combine ambient light and flash for seamless, natural looking results; use on- and off-camera bounce flash to produce big results with small light sources; balance the light levels on the subject and the background for more effective portrait designs; mimic the beauty of window light with flash; get amazing results with video lights; gel your lights for flawless color balance or creative color effects; produce beautifully lit portraits in less-than-ideal situations.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lc Sports Photography: from snapshots to great shots
“Starting with the basics of equipment, camera settings, and exposure, Bill covers the fundamental techniques of sports photography–understanding lighting, handling composition and focus, and timing peak action. He explains how to choose a shooting position on the field of play, identify the defining moments away from the action, and learn the etiquette of covering live sporting events. He then breaks down the shooting processes of specific sports, outlining the challenges and demands of each and showing how to isolate individual athletes in action.” (Book cover)

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