Friday, January 18, 2008

My New Books

I only brought back four new books from our December trip to Texas. I think that leaves about 28 more books on my Amazon wish list and it never seems to get shorter because I always find another one or two that I just have to add. But the ones I did bring back are giving me a lot of pleasure.

5 X 7 by William Eggleston - All the images in the book were made during the 1970's with a 5 X 7 camera...some in black and white and some in color. I'm surprised that more of them don't feel "dated" but the hair and clothing isn't the first thing I see. It is the face. I can't help but compare them to some of the current books of portraits which feature mostly young people very turned in to themselves and a sense of disinterest in the rest of the world. Eggleston's fame came through his color work after being "discovered" by John Szarkowski but there are enough images in this book to prove that he was a master of Black and White as well. He broadens my understanding of photography in the USA in the 1960-1990's time period.

Vanishing Point, Fifty Years of Photography by David Plowden - I "found" David Plowden in the late 1980/early 1990 time period when I bought one of his books in a half-priced book store. I was so enthralled with his view of middle America that I started looking for his books and at one point even tracked him down and called to let him know how much I like his work. Plowen's work is all Black and White. The images are luminous and are beautifully full toned without being quite as "zoned" as the Ansel Adams school. It is so wonderful to have this retrospective of his work since the books that I had of his are in storage in Texas and besides the image reproductions in this book are better than a couple of the books that I have. I'll keep looking at the images to remind myself that no matter how far I can take a Black and White image in Photoshop, I'd rather stop with David Plowden's "look" of Black and White images.

The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings by KayLynn Deveney and Albert Hastings - This book in some ways reminds me of Love in the 90's: The Story of a Lifelong Love by Keri Pickett. But the charming thing about this book is Albert Hasting's comments and thoughts about the images as he collaborates with Deveney. It is charming and poignant. It is a small book and it will probably be one that I will pickup and slip in my purse to read again while waiting in a doctor's office or the immigration office.

And speaking of book size, almost every photography book I have bought in the last couple of years has NOT been a book that I can easily take to bed with me to look at before I go to sleep. They have been in the 11x14 size frame, some even larger, and they have been thick and heavy. When I first started collecting photography books, I always had a stack of them by my bed and most of them were more in the size frame of 10x12 and maybe 3/4 inch thick. I agree that the image reproduction has improved a great deal in recent years. But now besides not being a bed-time book, I don't find most of them to be "lap" books. When I want to look at one of my newer photography books it is best done sitting at a table.

Scott Kelby's 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3 - I am currently doing the tutorials in this book and I'll wait and write about it in a later blog.

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