Thursday, May 10, 2012

Expanding my library

I seem to be buying a lot of photography books lately. After flicking through Patrick Zachmann's book W. or the Eye of the Long-Nose at the ECU library last week, I just had to have it. The week before it was another Magnum photographer, Trent Parke's, Bedknobs and Broomsticks that took my fancy and resulted in an exhaustive search which finally turned up a signed copy, which should arrive any day now... I hope.
Bedknobs & Broomsticks
by Trent Parke
Published by Little Brown Mushroom
40 pgs, 6.625 x 7.875 in. custom side-stapled
Numbered edition of 1000
Designed by Hans Seeger
ISBN#: 978-0-615-37550-2
Publication date: June 2010
Anyway, with some exceptions, I'm not generally a big fan of Annie Leibovitz's photos... Nothing wrong with them, no one can deny that they're superbly crafted and extremely beautiful... but much of the content just doesn't interest me. IMO, they're pictures that pay homage to a morally bankrupt and vacuous world...And they don't make me 'think' or offer any new insight. But after reading this review of her latest book, Pilgrimage by Gaby Wood in the Age, maybe I'll head over to Boffins bookshop and flick through the pages... and maybe even buy it.
Annie Oakley’s heart target from a private collection in Los Angeles, California
Image courtesy of Annie Leibovitz via The New York Times
"In many ways, Pilgrimage is a sequel to the book composed in mourning. After a high-profile bankruptcy, Leibovitz chose to photograph places associated with figures who had meant something to her, or who had at least influenced others 
...That word ''abandoned'' is critical, since - although many of the images that made it to the book are carefully composed - the sense that she is capturing things because she sees them right now guides the entire project. Gone are the dozens of assistants and wind machines and props. Leibovitz is mostly alone, trying to summon the past as the light disappears.
The darkroom in Ansel Adams's home in Carmel, California, now owned by Adams’s son, Michael, and his wife, Jeanne, friends of Leibovitz
Image courtesy of Annie Leibovitz via The New York Times
So she photographs the detail in Dickinson's sole surviving dress; the books on Sigmund Freud's shelf; a pigeon skeleton labelled by Darwin; Georgia O'Keeffe's box of pastels; Virginia Woolf's desk, covered in stains and scratches. She records the paths her subjects walked each day, the view from a study window, a living room by candlelight, the blue tinge of a bedroom at dawn. Leibovitz is adept at capturing the corners of things, as if documenting the process by which they catch your eye." - Gaby Wood.