Books

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In this charming and captivating volume, National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths Belt discloses the secrets of a peripatetic life, revealing in often hilarious detail how she managed to juggle two children, bulky cases of camera equipment, and everything needed for a nurturing family life as she traveled to far-flung destinations around the world.
Belt was one of the first female photographers hired at the National Geographic Society. When her children were born, she kept right on going—and this book is a loving compendium of the wisdom she gained. It chronicles three decades of international travel, a moveable family, and the art she created along the way.

Check it out here. Via Rob Galbraith.

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In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.
Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.

Check it out here.

It was meant to be merely a slightly expanded edition of an out-of-print classic of photojournalism, Paul Fusco’s RFK Funeral Train, first published in September 2000 by Umbrage Editions. Fusco, a photographer for Look magazine in the 1960s, had been assigned to ride the train carrying the body of Robert F. Kennedy from New York City to Washington, D.C., for burial, on June 8, 1968. Only one of Fusco’s photographs from that day, when mourners all along the Northeast train corridor assembled at trackside to pay their respects, appeared in Look; dozens more were included in the Umbrage edition, which Aperture decided to update with a few others taken from the photographer’s own collection. Publication was set for this June, the 40th anniversary of Kennedy’s death. But all that changed when Lesley Martin, Aperture’s publisher, while researching another project at the Library of Congress, followed up on Fusco’s contention that the Look archives located there might contain a few more of the images he had taken during eight continuous hours of shooting on that dark Saturday 40 years ago.

There they were,” Martin tells PW, “in pristine condition having been in cold storage for the past 30 years. Paul had mentioned that there were ‘some’ images at the Library of Congress, so in good conscience and due diligence, I checked it out.” Martin was amazed to find a trove of more than 1,800 Kodachrome slides. The problem was that Martin’s find occurred in December, and the spring title was already in proofs. “It was a big decision to pull back the book. But Paul’s body of work on that single day—already so unique, impressionistic, emotionally powerful—was so much more.” The new book, retitled Paul Fusco: RFK ($50), will now be published in September, in a first run currently set at 10,000 copies. Included are essays by Evan Thomas, Norman Mailer and photography scholar Vicki Goldberg.

Check it out here.

Andreas Gursky is one of the most important living photographers, despite the fact that his work is often being judged on nothing but else but its size or its price. While his photos are indeed monumental, size is merely a means to an end – as is obvious to a viewer who is confronted by one of Gursky’s photographs. The prints are not big simply because he can print them big, but because they have to be big, because of what they show and how they show it.

Check it out here.

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Superficial Snapshots, Zine 2, An Issue with Lomos is going FAST. Tell your friends! Order one today before it’s too late

Check it out here.

This project in particular is interesting because it came at a time when Lee was experimenting with different camera formats and frame ratios. Within the span of the 89 images in Frederick Law Olmsted Landscapes he shifts from his Leica, to a Noblex pivoting lens panoramic camera, to his Hasselblad Superwide, and the results are noticeable beyond the obvious frame shape.

Check it out here.

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In addition to his versatile body of work for such magazines as National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times Magazine, Time, and Newsweek, photographer Joe McNally is also a sought-after educator, sharing how-to tips and telling anecdotes at workshops and lecture series throughout each calendar year. In McNally’s new book, The Moment It Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World’s Top Shooters (New Riders Publishing, $55), he shows off both of these aspects. One one hand, the book is a retrospective of McNally’s editorial, portrait, and commercial photography made over more than three decades. Each spread contains a single image from his portfolio, ranging from serious photojournalistic assignments to lyrical personal projects.

Check it out here.

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Albert Maysles as a cinematographer and a photographer has spent his life observing and documenting the paths that his own life has taken for 51 years. A new book from Steidl and the Steven Kasher Gallery called A Maysles Scrapbook takes us through those 51 years of image making in the first comprehensive monograph of both Albert’s personal photography and the wonderful film collaborations he created with his brother.

Check it out here.

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Driftless: Photographs from Iowa (Duke University Press, 2007) by Danny Wilcox Frazier came out with Frank’s words of praise as the forward to the book.

I stumbled across a copy of it a few weeks ago in the Harvard Book Store and was drawn to the images before I read anything about Frank’s role in making them known. Frazier’s decision to consider the effects of people and resources migrating from failing rural economies to the coasts and to cities was very interesting in itself but the images made the topic all the more severe. It is “as though the heart of America were being emptied.”

Check it out here.

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I don’t know if Douglas Kirkland has ever thought of becoming a director, but all his images contain the rich, contradictory synthesis of the stills from a successful film. If he had become a director instead of a great photographer, he would have told stories of men and women on the run from reality, reckless lovers considered mad by the world around them, exalted in their attempt to make sense of the events in life which nobody around them can understand. The perfect stills in his book, Freeze Frame, in my opinion, make up his film. It does not matter that the story refers you back to other famous films; all directors quote the colleagues they love and Douglas uses them to narrate his film. The camera (let’s call it that) focuses on the central characters – isolated, laughing, tired, concentrated, in thought, arm in arm, in a trance, but always detached and far from the universe surrounding them, the universe to which they seem not to belong. A world which looks at them with indifference, as though they were misfits desperately searching for a connection, for an impossible story.

Check it out here.

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The times they are a-changing. So, we at SWINDLE want to evolve, too. Issue 15 marks the unveiling of our newly redesigned layout. We’ve made the text more engaging, we’ve standardized the fonts, and added two regular columns: James Gaddy’s Classic Graphics delves into the history of iconic logos, and Henry Rollins gives us Dispatches from the Territories. We’ve got a feature on stunt doubles, who risk their lives in anonymity to make movie stars look badass; Doug Pray’s first-person account of making his latest feature documentary, Big Rig; the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s “School of Popular Painting,” an elite group of artists who showcase the thriving urban culture of their country’s capital, Kinshasa; and a fashion spread that is an ode to ‘80s group Strawberry Switchblade. Only SWINDLE can scour the cultural landscape of the globe to give you a mash-up of content this sweet!

Check it out here.

It is rare for a photographer that came of age in the 1960’s and 70’s to not cite Robert Frank’s The Americans and Walker Evans’ American Photographs as the two books that inspired them to take up a camera and explore the world. It is lore that gets repeated so often it almost seems disingenuous in the retelling. I have often thought that it isn’t possible that so many people could be so instantly enamored since, as much as it may be embarrassing to admit, both of those books took a while for me to warm up to them and see their true greatness. I’ve come around, probably in the same way that an early critic of the first edition of The Americans had when he described Frank as one who “produced pictures that look as if a kid had taken them while eating a Popsicle and then had them developed and printed at the corner drugstore.” That critic failed to specify which flavor of Popsicle would have fueled such a remarkable feat. If he had, maybe photographers would have flocked to have given it a taste.

Check it out here.

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From Allison V. Smith:

Superficial Snapshots Zine 2: An Issue With Lomos
29 pages, 34 photos
limited edition. 250 signed copies.
(first 20 get signed 5×7 print–sold out)
$22.50 (add $3. to ship out of country)

Check it out here.

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Most of the books that I have written about contain within their photographs an implied metaphor or meaning that provokes the viewer into different frames of mind. One of the pleasures in looking at work for me is to tease out these meanings that derive partly from the work and partly what my own history enables me to see in the work. There are other photographs that excite but with an innocence steeped in the purest pleasures of looking and examination of a subject clearly and interestingly described by an artist and camera. Larry E. McPherson’s The Cows published by Steidl is such a book that I enjoy for just these reasons.

Check it out here.

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I officially approved zine two today! The zine has 34 photos all shot with my lomo LC+A. Printed on 80-lb cover stock paper which really gives it a flip book feel. The photos I consider to be my travel snapshots. My dad said it well as he looked through the mocked up zine last week, “this isn’t your best work.” I explained that they are throw away photos. I haven’t sleeved or archived any of the film, I see them as sketches. I’ll put up a paypal button next week when the zines are here. They’ll be 22.50 this time. I can’t wait for you to see it!

Check it out here.

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Seen:

The Secret Museum of Mankind website, the “World’s Greatest Collection of Strange & Secret Photographs” – Boing Boing

Ian Macky says: “Published in 1935, the Secret Museum is a mystery book. It has no author or credits, no copyright, no date, no page numbers, no index. Published by ‘Manhattan House’ and sold by ‘Metro Publications,’ both of New York, its ‘Five Volumes in One’ was pure hype: it had never been released in any other form.”

Three million cheers to Macky for not only scanning all 564 pages of this treasure of a book, but for cleaning up the images, transcribing the text, and adding thumbnail galleries and a copy of a 1942 magazine ad.

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Gang Leader for a Day – Sudhir Venkatesh – Book Review – New York Times: “On a hot summer day in 1989, Sudhir Venkatesh, a callow sociology student with a ponytail and tie-dyed T-shirt, walked into one of Chicago’s toughest housing projects, clipboard in hand, ready to ask residents about their lives. Sample question: ‘How does it feel to be black and poor?’ Suggested answers: ‘very bad, somewhat bad, neither bad nor good, somewhat good, very good.’ Actual answers: unprintable.

Mr. Venkatesh got rid of the clipboard and the questionnaire, but not his fascination with life in the Chicago housing projects. He stuck around, befriended a gang leader and for the next decade lived a curious insider-outsider life at the notorious Robert Taylor Homes on the city’s South Side, an eye-opening experience he documents in the high-octane ‘Gang Leader for a Day.’

In a bit of bravado Mr. Venkatesh, who now teaches at Columbia, styles himself a ‘rogue sociologist.’ Dissatisfied with opinion surveys and statistical analysis as ways to describe the life of the poor, he reverted to the methods of his predecessors at the University of Chicago, who took an ethnographic approach to the study of hobos, hustlers and politicians. Much like a journalist, he observed, asked questions and drew conclusions as he accumulated raw data.”

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