Tag: photography

Children sleeping on a balcony

Weegee’s Naked City

This is a masterful photo book, by a photojournalist who worked for newspapers in the 1930s and 1940s. He shot with a hand-held 4×5 and flashbulbs. I don’t know if he thought of himself as an artist, but he was a true outsider artist. He roamed New York at night, processed his film in a darkroom built into the trunk of his car and delivered his prints to his editor at Picture News by day.…

Pennsylvania Coal Mine Tipples

by Bernd and Willa Becher

This is the oddest and loveliest of the Becher’s volumes of architectural typologies.

You can have your blast furnaces, I love the coal mine tipples. I love the way you can see the structure, the bracing, usually made of nailed together boards, all creaky and improvised. The shabby landscapes, shot plain as day in the soft light of winter when there are no leaves on the trees, nothing to obscure the grandeur of wooden towers for coal shafts.…

American Pictures

Jacob Holdt

I’ve always admired Jacob Holdt’s achievement in this book. With the most curious of cameras he made a photographic journey through America, and always took the time to visit, eat with (and for some reason usually sleep with) the poorest people he met. A really beautiful book.…

Sons Of Sinbad

by Alan Villiers

This book was introduced to my childhood home by my uncle Jerry (who lived in the Sausalito hippy houseboat community) and it was read by my parents and myself and my siblings at various times. We all used to quote its slogan “Allah’s winds are free, therefore his faithful use them”. It is a really beautiful book on so many levels: the exquisite photography by the author, the ethnographic details of beduin society, and most of all the accounts of the working of an wooden arab sailing cargo vessel, a dhow.…

The Americans

by Robert Frank

Is there anything more to say about this amazing monograph? How could Robert Frank get it so right, go so deep, with such seemingly small means? How could these few photos create such a powerful force of art? When I was in high school this book had an intense effect on me.

Generations of photographers have made their own personal trek across the USA, but none that I’ve seen have surpassed this great work.…

Listening to the River

by Robert Adams

This book is a subtle and quiet monograph of black and white photos of the desolate backroads around Denver.

I’ll say how I found it. I picked it up in a bookstore, flipped through it and put it down, annoyed. What was the point of that, I thought? A couple of days later a I went back to check it again: what was the point of such a book?!…

The Keepers of Light

by William Crawford

It is subtitled “A history and working guide to early photographic processes”.

When I was in art school, at the University of Washington, this was my primary guide. It is no bible, because it is flawed in many respects—it contains many poor formulas, but it did get me experimenting with chemistry and making prints, and working out the key formulae for myself.  I made very many cyanotypes and salted paper prints.…

Havana: 1933

by Walker Evans

A very lovely project by Walker Evans as a young man. Much of the credit for this excellent monograph goes to curator Gilles Mora: Mora gives us full frame versions of Evans’ images. Evans typically cropped his photos, usually to their detriment.

Evans traveled to Cuba at an interesting time: just before the communist revolution. He was assigned to illustrate a socialist critique of Cuba’s Machado regime.…

Age of Steam

By Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg

A books of lovely vintage black and white photography of steam locomotives, shot from early to mid twentieth Century. And some vintage illustration and engravings.

Find a vintage copy, if you can, of this ode to steam locomotives. The rotogravure printing is worth it.…

From Uncertain to Blue

monograph by Keith Carter

Carter explored the tiny towns of west Texas with the goal of acquiring a single outstanding photo from each one. I guess there is no shortage of sweet tiny towns in west Texas.…