Saturday, March 21, 2009

Books and more books.

In the last few months we have received and ever increasing number of books to review. Most of them have been excellent books and the only thing limiting us from reviewing them all is time. Due to this we decided to add some new entries in the blog and give these books some well deserved attention and give you some new books you should definitely have a look at.

The Blue Room
Eugene Richards
Phaidon Press
168 pages / 78 color photographs
Hardcover $100.00

This has got to be one of my favorite books (top 5) of last year and if it hadn't already been out for so long I would have given a thorough review on it.

"Eugene Richards was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a neighborhood of Boston. After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in English and journalism, he studied photography with Minor White at MIT. In 1968 he became a health care advocate in eastern Arkansas. Two years later, he helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, Many Voices, that reported on black political action and the Ku Klux Klan. After publication of his first two books, Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta (1973) and Dorchester Days (self-published in 1978), Richards was invited to become a nominee at Magnum. He was a member until he departed in 1995, returned to the cooperative in 2002, and departed for a second time in 2005.

Despite his success in other fields, Richards remains best known for his books and photo essays on cancer, drug addiction, poverty, emergency medicine, the mentally disabled, aging, and death in America. His intense vision and unswerving commitment have led him to become what many believe is America's greatest living social documentary photographer. This new body of work, entitled The Blue Room, is one of Richards' most personal works to date. It his is first-ever color project, and it brings together the overarching themes of all his work ''the transient nature of things'' in a beautiful and moving series of pictures of the landscape and abandoned houses of the American West, covering the states of Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and the Dakotas. This is the area where settlers came around the turn of the twentieth century, pursuing the promise of homesteads where they could build successful communities. However, in the wake of the Great Depression and the dust storms of the 1930s, the farms in this isolated, semi-arid region faltered and failed, leaving the land littered with forgotten homes.

Richards' photographs are a statement on the vulnerability of man in the face of the shifting economic opportunities and the climate; a commentary on the inevability of change. In these contemplative pictures we are inspired to imagine the lives of the homes' former occupants. Richards enigmatic pictures make The Blue Room a thought-provoking meditation on memory; a quiet yet incredibly powerful body of work."

Casa No Name
Deborah Turbeville
Rizzoli New York
240 pages / 278 color and black and white photographs
Hardcover $60

"Casa No Name is the embodiment of internationally acclaimed photographer Deborah Turbeville’s love affair with a profoundly storied house in Mexico. First appearing on the scene with moody, elegiac photos in the 70s, Deborah Turbeville’s work defied the contemporary conventions of fashion photography, and she employs this same painterly quality in this tribute to her home in the central highlands of Mexico.
In Casa No Name, Turbeville beckons the reader into the private world in which she has has captured the spiritual nature of Mexican culture. Rooms are populated, and walls are covered floor-to-ceiling with traditional religious artifacts including hand-carved saints, folkloric dolls in hand-sewn costumes, and wooden tableau boxes including an 18th century French diorama in the shape of a chapel, complete with kneeling supplicants. A wooden figure of the local Virgin Santa Maria Candelaria is central, and the high-ceilinged rooms surround a courtyard lined with faded biblical frescoes and furnished with gently decayed wicker, bird cages, and pots of lush plants.
In addition to images from her house, Turbeville populates Casa No Name with portraits of women and children that evoke her fashion work, and complements all with marvelous narrative describing her spirtual journey to, and connection with the house. Turbeville’s dreamy portrayal of her home is a fascinating extension of her fashion oeuvre, and an inspiration for anyone interested in the soul and style of Mexico.

About the Author: Born and raised in New England, Deborah Turbeville moved to New York at the age of twenty to work for designer Claire McCardell, and later became an editor for Harper’s Bazaar and Mademoiselle before turning to photography. Starting with American Vogue in the 1970s, Turbeville’s editorial work has appeared regularly in such publications as British, French, Italian, and Russian Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, Zoom, and W. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums, both nationally and internationally. Turbeville's distinctively evocative style was recognized by the Fashion Group Lifetime Award for Fashion Photography in 1989 and the Alfred Eisenstadt Award for Magazine Photography for the Fashion Single Image and Photo Essay in 1998. In 2002, Turbeville received a Fulbright scholarship for a lecture series
in photography at the Baltic School of Photography in St. Petersburg, Russia; and she has taught at Smolney Institut in that city, on behalf of Bard College. Turbeville divides her time between New York, Mexico, and Russia."

Another Place
Artist's book
Ewa Monika Zebrowski
poetry by Mark Strand
Edition of 20

"Ewa Zebrowski's thoughtful photographs are like her elegant books - each one is a refined world within itself. Her wok imparts in us a quiet and ineffable desire. We wish to be within the world she photographs." -Sam Abell, photographer

Ewa Monika Zebrowski’s artist’s books can be found in the Special Collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec, the National Library of Canada, Columbia University, Middlebury College, Smith College, Wellesley College, the University of Washington, the University of the South, Yale University as well as in the collections of various private collectors in Canada and the United States.

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