Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Photography Books  (Read 4201 times)
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« on: May 09, 2008, 03:04:23 PM »
ReplyReply

This thought is prompted by recent experiences where I have been trying to distract myself from the falling value of the Pound Sterling against the blessed Euro, which darn system I have to engage with every so often in order to do vaguely important things such as eating. And driving and so on. I just bought 33 litres of gas and it cost me € 42.11 for the pleasure of topping up the tank. I donīt know what that costs in the States nor anywhere else, for that matter, as I have to buy the stuff here in Spain.

Common thinking is to put the blame on those lads in the Middle East and their rampant need for fleets of Rolls-Royces to shuttle them to and from airports or marinas to either palaces or hotels in the sky; I used to subscribe to that facile view as well until I was made aware of the enormous increase in profit of our own dear, domestic old petrol company BP during these times of inflation and crisis. Funny, I thought, who owns BP then? Good Lord, we do! And who in the UK trousers around 75% of the value of every petrol (gas) sale in tax? Right! You got it in one: the same bandit that has gold plated pension plans and bullet proofed post- political life job expectancy. And he doesnīt live in the Middle East either, though he might well be in line to buying himself a retreat there, if not actually be given one gratis for services rendered... Thinking of these national heroes reminds me of the Prudent One who sold our treasure chest of British Gold just when gold hit its lowest price on recent record; from one job to another, but nobody resigns. With those perks, would you? Would I?

Some of you might be considering a holiday going into Canada in order to buy those bargains that Mr LuLa has been writing about; not a bad idea, far more sense to that than going to Europe where the prices will make your eyes water, particularly when value for money was already highly suspect in the first place, long before the current crisis hit. Or, you could go to Britain and if you make a reasonable offer, they might let you buy it. But then again, not in dollars.

Which is why I was thinking about photographic books. They have been a source of solace through many a depression, both personal as well as economic and have generally not failed to lift my mind above and beyond the horrors of the outer world with its ill-bred mobs and those boorish, ubiquitous celebrities whose inane pronouncements are taken as gospel by the very mobs to whom I have just referred. But the magic isnīt working anymore; the books donīt move me.

Well, not strictly true: one still has the power, the H C-B one on Paris. Okay, letīs also include the Jeanloup Sieff one out of Taschen in 2005. The rest? The long long honeymoon seems to have ended, just in time to co-incide with the arrival of the new economic realities and the question I find myself asking is would I have bought those other books today? Not because of price, but more because of how relevant or not they seem to be to my life at this time; whether indeed they ever were relevant beyond the fact of my having worked the same profession as their authors, or even how often I might care to take them off the shelf again.

Does your own library still offer perpetual joy or, perhaps, is it relatively too new for doubts and still holds you seduced by its many charms?

Rob C
Logged

juicy
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 254


« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2008, 03:34:50 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi!

That Sieff -book is excellent!
Another interesting Taschen publication is a book of Arnold Newman.
Ansel Adams at 100 is timeless. Also "Albert Renger-Patzsch - Photographer of Objectivity" has retained it's value and inspiring freshness for me although the range of motives and the ways of representation between the aforementioned artists spans a huge spectrum.

Cheers,
J
« Last Edit: May 09, 2008, 03:35:22 PM by juicy » Logged
DarkPenguin
Guest
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2008, 03:38:13 PM »
ReplyReply

If your books move you to a time and place that can be a wonderful escape or it can highlight the differences between that place and where you are now.  How those play depends a lot on your mood and how closely you personally identify with the images you're looking at.

Glad to see you posting again, Robsie.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2008, 03:39:01 PM by DarkPenguin » Logged
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2008, 04:33:38 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
If your books move you to a time and place that can be a wonderful escape or it can highlight the differences between that place and where you are now.  How those play depends a lot on your mood and how closely you personally identify with the images you're looking at.

Glad to see you posting again, Robsie.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194699\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Mr P

You are probably right; the difference between the days when I was jetting across the world doing fashion and calendars to the life I lead now is sure to be a huge factor in how I perceive memories of those times as reflected in monographs of my then contemporaries. Maybe it just hurts a little too much to have oneīs nose rubbed in it by the revisiting through the medium of books... In particular, I have the Lichfield Unipart Calendar book and in it I see so many faces of girls with whom I also worked doing much the same thing; Lichfield died but Iīm still alive, yet somehow, that doesnīt really compensate for the stagnation of retirement.

Maybe photographers donīt retire, but that doesnīt mean their clients donīt and it pretty much amounts to the same thing.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words re. renewed posting!

Rob C
Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6180


When everybody thinks the same... nobody thinks.


WWW
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2008, 04:27:13 PM »
ReplyReply

Hmmm... perhaps time to turn to a different type of photography? Landscapes maybe?

P.S. Have not noticed your absence from posting, but if that is the case then I am glad you are back!
« Last Edit: May 10, 2008, 04:29:15 PM by slobodan56 » Logged

Slobodan

Flickr
500px
Geoff Wittig
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1017


« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2008, 06:45:36 PM »
ReplyReply

I have too many photo books, probably over 400. When I consider a new purchase I do consider my dwindling reserve of storage space, but mostly how a book is likely to "age". Some clearly don't age well; you find yourself picking it up five years later, having a "what the hell was I thinking" moment. So I aim for books that are beautifully printed, intelligently written, and address a subject I find compelling. For a while I bought some books on subjects that really didn't hold my interest (like, say, street photography) but seemed useful to "round out" my collection, or were considered important by the "experts". I've stopped doing that, because even the most highly regarded classics on subjects that don't appeal to me still leave cold.

No matter how blue I feel, or how cold my own creative fires seem to be, settling down with a mug of coffee and a great photo book does the trick. My current infatuations are John Sexton's Recollections and David Plowden's elegiac retrospective Vanishing Point.
Logged
Neil Hunt
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 59


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2008, 04:42:18 AM »
ReplyReply

"But the magic isnīt working anymore; the books donīt move me."

Perhaps its just a matter of exposure, when I used to buy photography books the only places you could see what you wanted to see was in a book or maybe from time to time in a gallery. Now its a click of the mouse. Also perhaps the few photographers who consistently produce a great body of work over years now have a harder job to stand out against the much increased background noise of the once in a lifetime lucky amateur shots.
Logged

Neil Hunt
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 59


WWW
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2008, 04:43:28 AM »
ReplyReply

PS - Diesel is Ģ1.22 a litre now.
Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2008, 01:06:58 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
PS - Diesel is Ģ1.22 a litre now.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194983\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I saw on Sky News a day or so ago that by 2010 they suggest oil at 200 dollars a barrel.

This week we went to place an order on a new set of wheels; by the end of the week we had cancelled the option, discovering that the pound/euro equation had swung at least 15% against us.

Tourism  and property are the biggest sources of revenue this part of the world has got; both are falling fast and the sometime joke of the two Brits buying one can of Coke and two straws has gone sour as those same Brits are unable to buy the straw, never mind the Coke. Todayīs Sunday Times runs a story on the problems facing many buyers of holiday homes out here - as president of a small community of owners I can vouch for the difficulties some people face keeping up with the rise in the € and/or the fall of the pound. Even BMW is having a rough ride on the stock market and it seems Porsche has dropped sales by either 40 or 60 percent, I forget which, but telling all the same. But thatīs the problem with contracts: you tie different nations together under the armlock of a single currency and they lose the ability to take responsibility for the value of their own because thatīs gone, replaced by an invention, the camel created by the committee designing the horse.

It might well be that the gloom surrounding everything has discoloured my vision of my books, but nonetheless, I took much bitter-sweet pleasure again last night reading a few pages of my Jeanloup Sieff tome to which I made reference in the OP; as the copy I have is in three languages, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, I sometimes have to leap nimbly from the Spanish to the Italian or the other way around in order to make sure that the nuances are not lost to me by less than perfect reading (of course, whoever did the translations could be off too, as some passages suggest to me) and one of the things that gives me great joy is his deconstruction/destruction of the self-created, self-invented authority of the art curator and critic; itīs well worth the high purchase cost just for those magical few lines on the topic!

The sadnes comes from the huge sense of loss that his departure from this world placed upon my soul, not helped by the fact that the book entered my life after his death and that all of it, the anecdotes of who, where and when, the for whom and with what intent much of the work was done, can not be seen anymore as a sort of slowing down, retrospective take on his working life but as an obituary. It is a different animal indeed! But his words, the intelligence behind the writing, the incisive, unshrinking take on the world of photography combined with a delightful modesty, and the photographs, of course, still make the reading a pleasure.

(We had toyed with the idea of buying a new, contemporary-style set to replace the venerable Sony Trinitron; a fresh take on whatīs actually available out in the ether has put that notion safely away in the waste bin. Kind of makes me think of what might sometimes happen to us in photography: we spend a fortune on new equipment just to make the same old picture, time and time again.)

Sam Haskins was always an influence on my photographic ideas and I was thrilled when I first clapped eyes on Five Girls; of course, I couldnīt afford to buy it then and had the local library order it for my perusal. They were not all that happy when it arrived, but I enjoyed it a great deal. Then Cowboy Kate came along and they got me that one too as I still found such expenditure a bit too much. A year or so ago, Cowboy was re-published with some additional material added and I bought it then. Certainly shows what skilled hands could do pre-PS, but I think I would have been happier if they had re-released Five Girls instead - my distant memory of it is possibly flawed, but it might have been less contrived, in a way, which is how I like my girl photography. Trouble with Cowboy is not the pics, but that I canīt find much of the written story in the photographs; perhaps it might have been better to leave it as a set of images vaguely connected to western paraphernalia. This doesnīt spoil the pics, just my concentration which tends to wander off looking for what I feel Iīve missed in the pics that Iīve found in the narrative... confusing.

Oh well, my take on my David Hamiltonīs  25 Years of an Artist has dulled somewhat too. From what I took to be his first book, Dreams of Young Girls (also obtained via the reluctant public library source) I developed a huge liking for his style of photography, his technique. So, again many years later, I bought the 25 book and from the initial great pleasure of ownership my mind has gone somewhat the other way, in that I have to admit to bowdlerising my copy by the skilled use of a very sharp blade. Worse, Hamiltonīs own words seem to do him no favours at all, putting the intent of his oeuvre onto the wrong side of doubtful, at least to my mind.

Dear oh dear, why do these people mess with our heads?

Rob C
Logged

Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad