Books On My Desk: “On Photographs” (Not “On Photography”), A Japanese Halo, Landscapes Without Mountains

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Somehow, since my last post on my many unopened photography books, more have arrived. I posted about three hoping to shrink the stacks—seven new ones have appeared, add to the two piles upon my desk. I'm going in the wrong direction. Luckily my desk is more of a table so there is space, but just barely. The newest arrival is On Photographs by David Campany. Campany is an intellectual in the style of Susan Sontag and credits her, perhaps in a backhand way, for spurring the writing of this book. Hers was On Photography, but contained none of it, his is On Photographs and contains many photographs, each with a…

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Book Review: How He Became Ansel Adams—A Review of Senf’s “Making a Photographer” (Part Two)

  • Post category:Art / Books

(This review of Rebecca Senf's Making a Photographer: The Early Work of Ansel Adams appears in two parts. This is part two. Part one can be found here.) If a deep dive into the Parmelian Prints wasn't treat enough (or new enough) for you, Making a Photographer explores in-depth Ansel's photo album of the Sierra Club's 1928 trip to the Canadian Rockies. It was a month-long adventure. Ansel took about 250 photographs during the course of the trip with a range of cameras, producing 6 1/2-by-8 1/2 inch film negatives, 4-by-5-inch film negatives, 3 1/4-by-4 1/4-inch film negatives, and a handful of 4-by-5-inch glass plate negatives. He eventually assembled 178…

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Book Review: How He Became Ansel Adams—A Review of Senf’s “Making a Photographer” (Part One)

  • Post category:Art / Books

(This review of Rebecca Senf's Making a Photographer: The Early Work of Ansel Adams appears in two parts. This is part one. Part two can be found here.) Rebecca Senf's book on Ansel Adams, Making a Photographer, is a treasure box, full of surprises. The first surprise is that it contains the photographs of Ansel Adams at all. This might seem a strange thing to write--why wouldn't a book about Ansel Adams, easily one of the most famous photographers in history, include Ansel's photographs? But it is true--other biographies of Ansel (I always think of him using his first name, Ansel, never his surname) struggled to include his work. The…

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Books On My Desk: Renaissance Etching, Soth, and Wolfe

  • Post category:Art / Books

Ah, books. Such an old technology yet photography books--art photography books--are in something of a golden age. There is a flood of them, too many to even know all of the titles. I buy my share, although they seem far easier to buy than to actually find the mental space to open them and go through them. I like to set aside a block of time, not just a quick look. A block of time is necessary. A few miles from my home is a colony of elephant seals. They come every winter to breed, to try and avoid the great white sharks just offshore, the males fight each other…

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Books On My Desk: Klett, Parks, and Aufuldish

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It's possible to have too many books, especially art books. I've got shelves full of them, piles on the floor crowding the furniture. Every so often I swear I'm going to stop buying art books then I do and then I don't. I do--I'll go a month or two without buying. But then I don't--they start sneaking in the house, a few laying on my living room table, a few in the family room, a few in my office, dispersed throughout the house to disguise their number. It's not a collection. My books, aside from being largely books on photography, do not cluster around any certain subject or period. It…

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