New on the Bookshelf

I love books about photography, books of photographs and books about photographers. Reading other photographers insights into the craft, criticism of the craft, deconstructing other photographers images all help me on this odd journey that I'm on. Unlike some photographers, I don't have GAS, I suffer from BAS!  In the past month or so lots of new books have arrived on my desk. I might comment on some of them more formally in the future. (The books with a * next to the title are in process of being read, the books with a # next to them have been read)

  • *"Road to Seeing" by Dan Winters. A massive book, wonderfully printed, chronicling the events in Winters' life that had an impact on how he views photography and his image making process.
  • #"Here Far Away" by Finn Thrane, Images by Pentti Sammallahti. I'm always on the look out for books by photographers of other nationalities. Again, a wonderfully printed book and Sammallahti are fascinating to study.
  • *"The Digital Print: Preparing Images in Lightroom and Photoshop for Printing" by Jeff Schewe. An excellent resource and I've learned an amazing amount already.
  • *"Why Photography Matters" by Jerry L. Thompson. A slim volume of less than 100 pages. It's one of the few books I started re-reading the day after I finished it. Commentary coming soon.
  • *"Believing is Seeing" by Errol Morris. Examines the back stories to photographs such as Fenton's "Cannonballs in Crimea" and examines the"received wisdom" regarding the photos.
  •  #"About Looking" by John Berger. Although I don't care for Berger's Marxist theory of criticism, at least he's honest about it and doesn't come across like a clever boots like Sontag.
  • #"Understanding a Photograph" by John Berger; Edited by Geoff Dyer. See above
  • #"Ways of Seeing" by John Berger. Neatly kicking Sir Kenneth Clarke's traditional view of European art in the groin, it's a companion book to his BBC series from early 70's. The series is up on YouTube and the book and series is worth a read/look. It's available at Amazon, I found my copy in a used book store.
  • "Camera Lucida" by Roland Barthes. I've been beating my head on this one for over a year. I will get through it one day, honest. Even if takes a bottle of Absinthe!
  • *"Aperture Magazine Anthology - The Minor White Years" Edited by Peter Bunnel. Interesting read to be sure. Looking back at the issues facing photographers in the 50s, they're not all that different from now in reality. The advent of relatively inexpensive high performance cameras where bringing a lot of amateurs into the professional ranks, undercutting them on price for portraits, weddings and the like. Sound familiar? Articles by some of the great photographers and photo editors of the time on composition, captioning, photo critique and the like are a very good resource and refresher.
My son went on an exchange program to Japan and brought me back these two jewels. Both are beautifully printed on heavy paper. If you can find them, they are a delight to look at.
  • "Ephemeral Dreams - Building 30 on Battleship Island" by Masashi Takahashi. Photos of an abandoned industrial island off the shore of Japan. The book takes images from 1972, just before the island was abandoned to images taken this year.
  • "Sleeping Beauty" by Shozo Maruta. Very interesting collection of images of old Japanese street cars rotting away.   
Once these are read, I'll be diving into the reading lists that MIT has provided with their photography course outlines.

1 comment:

  1. John, would you be interested in a list of the photo books I have (I need to clean house)? I could send you anything you're interested in. You can reply on TeamD if you prefer.