Sunday, May 4, 2008
the winner to the first arbitrary contest is Michael Arling with his pick of A portrait in Landscape by Robert Adams. It wasn't my pick but it was the closest to Eden by Robert Adams. I was going to give it up to Papageorge's Passing Through Eden, but I am one of the few thinks Tod should stay in the classroom so I decided to pass on that guess. Michael will have to make room for the brink of a book by PL Dicorcia.
If any of you get a chance to find this little gem titled Eden by Robert Adams in a used book store it is quite a treasure. Published in 1999 under the dysfunctional team of Roth Horowitz, this tiny book is so meticulous it hurts. It reminds me of the precision, fluidity and size of the first printing of Eggleston's Guide. The title of the book is named after a railroad official and not the biblical paradise. "Eden is a place without human gentleness. The air is weighted by the sound of traffic" Only 1000 were printed so they are pretty hard to come by. Adams stays away from his didactic essays and allows these images to flow between the on and off ramps of this little town in Colorado. Thanks for all the guesses. Another giveaway soon
Friday, April 25, 2008
and the winner to The 5 Great Expectations List is....wait, before I disclose our winner I want to talk about my disappointed in this forum for a conversation. Perhaps it is inevitable that the discussion will eventually be reduced to insults on artists and even on people posting. The final moment for me was an extremely offensive comment who's insults to collier schore were so appalling it is not worth repeating. I am baffled, confused and worried about those in the art world whose anger rises so close to the surface. Instead of editing comments. I have decided to turn them off until I can come up with a better system for monitoring
and the winner is...wait, one more thing. I want to take this moment to thank everyone out there that has been sending me emails of support and encouragement about this site. I had so much traffic in the first week that I had to change my stats counter account to one that accepts more traffic. The most satisfying aspect of looking at the stats has been the percentage of returning viewers. Once again, Thank you and we will continue posting (hopefully more than once a week)
and the winner is... Crystal A with her list of:
1. Year One by Tobias Fäldth
2. Working from Memory by William Christenberry
3. It Is Difficult by Alfredo Jaar
4. Playgrounds by Peter Friedl
5. Wake by Adam Jeppesen
Basically it was a good list but the clincher for me was Year One by Tobias Fäldth. I love the title and the idea behind the book. It reminds me of a joke by Steven Write. "I kept a journal growing up. Day one, still tired from the move." Thanks to everyone that contributed and Crystal make room for the Misrach book-once you email me your address Misrach will be taking up way too much space on your book shelves.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The spring books are well on their way. There are still a few out there that I am really excited about seeing. I figured why not make room for these incoming books by giving away a few. Below are my 5 great expectations, a list ranging from the more established photo book producers to the first time monograph. Keep in mind this list may inevitably end up being a disaster once the boxes open and reveal utter failures. Come up with your list of five great expectations and the best list wins. Judged by yours truly, the winner gets 100 lbs of Misrach on the Beach...signed! Just send $95.99+tax for shipping and handling. Just kidding. Good luck and here goes.
5 Great Expectations:
Ryan McGinley by Ryan McGinley
It’s a guilty pleasure. If you really want to judge me, FutureSex / LoveSounds has been on repeat on my ipod for the last month so judge away! I haven’t seen a mock up or anything in the form of a book except for the show at Team Gallery. The opening was a madhouse and I felt overweight with the throngs of lolitas rubbing up against each other. What you could see of the work fell in the shadows by the casts of characters standing in front of their photographs. Back to the book, when I heard Twin Palms was going to be releasing it and not some ultra hip new publishing house backed by Sophia Coppola I thought about the possibilities of these gorgeous images translating to that Twin Palms paper. By now you know what I fan I am of Steidl, but Twin Palms is sure to do this book the justice it deserve.
There I Was by Collier Schorr
Full disclosure, Collier is a friend for a long time and I have seen most of the work in this book already. I am still very much looking forward to its release. As mentioned in many blogs there is a real concern about when photographers stick with what works and stop expanding on their own vision. This most recently came up with all the discussions around the current Crewdson show in New York. Schorr is an artist who has had critical acclaim as well as mass appeal. I honestly do believe that once those art review praises begin to translate to the rise in print sales it is hard to leave it behind and take chances on what might be a failure. There I Was is a departure in all aspects from subject matter to production levels. What it is not a departure from, is the fully realized body of work that Schorr is capable of producing in whatever she sets out to. This book is surely going to be on the level of what we should expect from my dear old friend.
CDG / JHE By JH Engström
Engström is one of the few photographers out there that is really thinking about the photography book as a complete body of work and not a series of photographs bound together with cardboard. The body of work comes from spending three weeks living in a hotel at the Charles de Gaulle Airport and photographing the terminals. If the history of photography books by JH Engström tells us anything it is that this book will be as well thought from design to completion as anything produced today. Remember when you bought the new sonic youth album just because, before you even heard a track? Yeah, it’s kinda like that.
Bureaucratic's by Jan Banning
Ok, so when Parr puts his stamp on it, we pretty much know it is going to be up to par. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Honestly though, can someone please take Kathy Ryan off of all those most important people in photography lists and put Martin on the top. Have we reduced the goals of art photography to a series of photographs in the New York Time Magazine? Sorry for the rant but there is some real truth there. This is the 3rd of Martin Parr’s series of books that he is recommending to be published by Nazraeli. The first one was reviewed by the much-admired 5B4. The 2nd was the beautiful Asako Narahashi book Half Awake and Half Asleep in the Water. Bureaucratic's by Jan Banning embodies the typology aspect of photography that I think has caused much of the demise of photo education over the past 15 years. I am usually quite dismissive of this type of post-Becher conceptualism. Generally I feel as if it is taking the easy way out. This series however is one of the few examples of when it works it works well. I have seen a few of these images and was pretty excited to learn that Parr had selected it for the series. It truly is a contemporary document presented in the purest form. “...The subjects in the photographs are all civil servants holding executive power... Each subject is posed behind his or her desk, within their bureaux: the rooms from which they exercise their (substantial or very limited) power.”
Meadowlands by Joshua Lutz
Joshua Lutz is perhaps the least known from this list and the one persons book that I am most excited to see. From what I can tell his first monograph titled Meadowlands is somewhere between the best of Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi and Ethridge’s Rockaway, NY. I saw some of the images at a show when visiting a colleague at Sarah Lawrence College. To say I was blown away is an understatement. I knew I had seen the name somewhere and then remembered that it was from the Powerhouse order list. If this book is done with the care, attention to detail and subtle nuances that I saw in the show, it will quickly become one of the best photography books of the year. My fingers are crossed on this one.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
It’s been a crazy 10 days that I am finally coming off of. Between Aipad and Christy’s I am happy to return to listening to music and writing in this blog. I did have the pleasure of encouraging a collector I was working with to unsuccessfully bid on Emmet Gowin’s first self published book, Concerning America and Alfred Stieglitz, and Myself. Wow! Once this month of guessing my favorite book is finished here is a hint to my newest favorite book from the past. The title and the cover alone are more thought out than anything I have seen recently. Maybe there is something about him still being an art student at Yale and then Harvard that gave him the freedom create such an imaginative experiment. Not quite, this was done in his final year at Virginia Community College. Before even opening the cloth case we are given an homage to Robert Franks original printing of the Americans with the blue on white graph paper. Printed in red along the bottom, underneath sloppy junior high school sketches, reads Concerning America and Alfred Stieglitz, and Myself. What does that even mean? First one who gets this gets my entire collection. (Not really) But honestly as Gowin states “from the beginning I wanted to make pictures so potent I would not need to say anything about them" "This youthful homage is probably at least as much about America and the seductive power of photography as it is about Stieglitz”
Now the sad truth about collecting and holding onto photography books. I had a copy of this book 10 years ago that I got from a photographer who needed to unload his collection to finish a project he was completing. In pricing the collection I believe this was one of the books that we threw in the not worth much but I will take off your hands pile. This wasn’t me taking advantage of this sale, but rather my lack of knowledge combined with inability to foresee the growth of the rare photo book market. Five years later I must have sold it or given it away when I moved apartments. Well, It just sold for $85K at Christy’s where they renamed it Concerning America and Alfred Stieglitz, and Myself and 85 Thousand Dollars and Poor Decision to not Hold onto Books I loved.
Monday, April 7, 2008
In the spirit of female blog unity I want to discuss The Westerns by Katy Grannan. I was blown away at this monumental book. Perhaps it goes back to ideas of expectations that I talked about in the post on Roe Ethridge. I never thought Grannan was capable of making such a stunningly perfect book. The all white cover with the drawing of a bird on a branch brings us into this mystical landscape filled with the “new pioneers” of California. The images at first glance appear shockingly exploitive as she takes on the much sought out photographers subject matter “the other." However as you turn the pages and delve deeper into this vertical book of horizontal landscapes of portraits centered often across the gutter the images portray an enormous amount of tenderness. So it is here that I ask the question; Could a man have made The Westerns? Should we talk about it in relationship to Avedon’s In the American West? Perhaps there is a sense of compassion that is more innate in Grannan's work than Avedon and fairer comparison should be made to Arbus or Tanyth Berkeley. I am still thinking this one over. Possibly this post is a little premature as my thoughts are still being formulated. Oh well.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Architects wish they were photographers, photographers wish they were filmmakers and book dealers wish they were publishers. With that said, one of my goals for this year, besides my continued quest in finding the best photography book of the year, will be to publish my own book. I have a few photographers in mind but still looking. If you know of someone or are someone with a hidden book out there please let me know. This is not a contest of any sort, just a discussion that I would like to have as my search continues. The idea is to do something different, something meticulous and something that withstands the test of time. If you cant wait for me you can always try Blurb for $25,000.00 to finish or even to start your book-deadline is July 14th.