Book Casing

Great books recommended by great people.

Alec Soth's Bookcase

Alec Soth (born 1969, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States) is an American photographer, based in Minneapolis, who makes "large-scale American projects" featuring the midwestern United States. His photography has a cinematic feel with elements of folklore that hint at a story behind the image. New York Times art critic Hilarie M. Sheets wrote that he has made a "photographic career out of finding chemistry with strangers" and photographs "loners and dreamers". His work tends to focus on the "off-beat, hauntingly banal images of modern America" according to The Guardian art critic Hannah Booth. His work has been compared to that of Walker Evans and Stephen Shore. He is a member of Magnum Photos.

Photo by: Jolson239

Recommends

Widely regarded as one of the most important American painters of the 20th century, Alice Neel is internationally recognized for her contributions to Abstract Expressionism, especially her perceptive portraiture. Neel (1900–1984) was a portrait painter at a time when this was traditionally the role of a male artist. After ascending to prominence in the 1960s as the feminist movement gained momentum, she has remained an iconic figure in the history of American painting.

A self-proclaimed “collector of souls,” Neel often painted friends and family, as well as the celebrated artists and writers of her day, such as Andy Warhol, Frank O’Hara, and Meyer Shapiro, delving into personalities and idiosyncrasies with a rare frankness. Alice Neel: Painted Truths brings together paintings that demonstrate Neel’s range and ability, along with insightful commentary from four leading art historians. Although the book focuses on her portraits, it also covers the artist’s early social realist paintings and cityscapes, tracing the evolution of Neel’s style and examining themes that she revisited throughout her career.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

This is a compelling, sad and beautiful road story: Luc Delahaye, photographer and melancholy storyteller, travels in winter across the dark landscape of Russia, where he takes an intimate look into the private face of Russia's moral and social crisis. This is an exceptional body of work, bridging the divide between art and journalism. The photographs are poetic - simultaneously terrifying, exciting, intimate, moving and very revealing. They offer many pleasures despite the depressing subject matter of a nation falling to pieces, in winter, through alcohol and drug abuse.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Fine green cloth-covered boards with title blind-stamped on cover, and stamped in black on spine; with photographically illustrated dust jacket. Photographs and text by Larry Sultan. Edited by Eric Himmel. Designed by Katy Homans, with Sayre Coombs.

Also recommended by

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

:

Uncommon Places

Published by Aperture in 1982 and long unavailable, Stephen Shore's legendary Uncommon Places has influenced a generation of photographers. Among the first artists to take color beyond advertising and fashion photography, Shore's large-format color work on the American vernacular landscape stands at the root of what has become a vital photographic tradition. Uncommon Places: The Complete Works presents a definitive collection of the original series, much of it never before published or exhibited. Like Robert Frank and Walker Evans before him, Shore discovered a hitherto unarticulated version of America via highway and camera. Approaching his subjects with cool objectivity, Shore's images retain precise internal systems of gestures in composition and light through which the objects before his lens assume both an archetypal aura and an ambiguously personal importance. In contrast to Shore's signature landscapes with which Un-common Places is often associated, this expanded survey reveals equally remarkable collections of interiors and portraits. As a new generation of artists expands on the projects of the New Topographic and New Color photographers of the seventies--Thomas Struth (whose first book was titled Unconscious Places), Andreas Gursky and Catherine Opie among them--Uncommon Places: The Complete Works provides a timely opportunity to reexamine the diverse implications of Shore's project and offers a fundamental primer for the last 30 years of large-format color photography.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

:

Essays in Defense of Traditional Values

The eight essays in Beauty in Photography provide a critical appreciation of photography by one of its foremost proponents. The result is a rare book of criticism, alive to the pleasure and mysteries of true exploration.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Treadwell is Modica's first major published collection -- a rich, empathetic, and often wrenching study of small town family life in upstate New York. Focusing on one young girl and her extended clan of family and friends, with whom Modica forged a ten-year relationship, the images in Treadwell express pathos and humanity without sentimentality or spectacle.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

A facsimile edition of one of the "classic" photography books. Elsken focuses on the Left Bank of Paris in the 1950s—a time when it was recognised as a centre of creative ferment which would determine the cultural agenda of a generation. With its unconventional, gritty, snapshot-like technique the work has been acclaimed as expanding the boundaries of documentary photography.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

In this exquisitely produced book, the influential American photographer Robert Adams revisits the classic collection of nocturnal landscapes that he began making in the mid-1970s near his former home in Longmont, Colorado. Originally published by Aperture in 1985 as Summer Nights, this new edition has been carefully reedited and resequenced by the photographer, who has added 39 previously unpublished images. Illuminated by moonlight and streetlamp, the houses, roads, sidewalks and fields in Summer Nights, Walking retain the wonder and stillness of the original edition, while adopting the artist's intention of a dreamy fluidity, befitting his nighttime perambulations. The extraordinary care taken with the new reproductions also registers Adams' attention to the subtleties of the night, and conveys his appeal to look again at places we might have dismissed as uninteresting. Adams observes, "What attracted me to the subjects at a new hour was the discovery then of a neglected peace."

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

In his work as a physician, Williams had learnt the skill of objective observation which he applied to his poetry, examining, as he said, 'the particular to discover the universal'. Marked by a vernacular American speech and direct observation of the landscape and people of his native New Jersey, his poetry explores the 'raw merging of American pastoral and urban squalor. Emotionally restrained but rich in sensory experience, the poems were written according to the guiding concept: 'no ideas but in things' and those 'things', a red wheelbarrow, a group of trees, a river, convey the local and the particular with a vivid intensity.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

In his highly acclaimed text, Robert Hughes points out that the reality pursued in Freud's paintings goes far beyond naturalism.

It is both startling and disconcerting, producing some of the most powerful and moving visual images to have appeared in the last thirty years. Freud—once dubbed "the Ingres of existentialism"—has almost single-handedly redefined the figurative painting of our time. No other living artist possesses his ability to paint the texture and thinness of skin over flesh, and his distinctive portraits have a haunting quality that makes them impossible to forget. This volume, with over one hundred superb reproductions of his greatest paintings, pays tribute to one of the most original and accomplished artists of the twentieth century. 100+ illustrations

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Jesus' Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiraling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The raw beauty and careening energy of Denis Johnson's prose has earned this book a place among the classics of twentieth-century American literature.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Exceptionally rare first U.S. PB edition, published 1991 by Bedford Arts. If you're reading this, you know this is the most important photo-book to come out of Japan, let alone one of the most important photo-books of the 20th century. All editions of this book are extremely rare and increasingly valuable in both the private photo-book market as well as at art-book auctions.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

:

Photographs by Larry Fink

Fueled by the author’s curiosity and rage against the privileged class, Social Graces contrasts New York’s jet set with the rituals and gatherings of rural Pennsylvania. “Fink’s photographs provide the opportunity to study a gesture, a smile, a surreptitious glance.” — Susan Kismaric, associate curator, The Museum of Modern Art

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Inspired by Chekhov's short stories--and by his own contagious joy in the book form--photographer Paul Graham has created A Shimmer of Possibility, comprised of 12 individual books, each a photographic short story of everyday life. Some are simple and linear--a man smokes a cigarette while he waits for a bus in Las Vegas, or the camera tracks an autumn walk in Boston. Some entwine two, three or four scenes--while a couple carry their shopping home in Texas, a small child dances with a plastic bag in a garden. Some watch a quiet narrative break unexpectedly into a sublime moment--as a man cuts the grass in Pittsburgh it begins to rain, until the low sun breaks through and illuminates each drop. Graham's filmic haikus shun any forceful summation or tidy packaging. Instead, they create the impression of life flowing around and past us while we stand and stare, and make it hard not to share the artist's quiet astonishment with its beauty and grace. The 12 books gathered here are identical in trim size, but vary in length from just a single photograph to 60 pages of images made at one street corner. Paul Graham's work has been widely exhibited and published for 25 years, most recently in the book American Night.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

With little effort and expense, you can hide cash, armaments and even family from the menacing eyes of burglars, terrorists or anyone. Learn how to construct dozens of hiding places right in your house and yard. Here are small hiding places for concealing money and jewelry and large places for securing survival supplies or persons. More than 100 drawings show how to turn ordinary items into extraordinary hiding places.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

William Eggleston's Guide was the first one-man show of color photographs ever presented at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum's first publication of color photography. The reception was divided and passionate. The book and show unabashedly forced the art world to deal with color photography, a medium scarcely taken seriously at the time, and with the vernacular content of a body of photographs that could have been but definitely weren't some average American's Instamatic pictures from the family album. These photographs heralded a new mastery of the use of color as an integral element of photographic composition. Bound in a textured cover inset with a photograph of a tricycle and stamped with yearbook-style gold lettering, the Guide contained 48 images edited down from 375 shot between 1969 and 1971 and displayed a deceptively casual, actually super-refined look at the surrounding world. Here are people, landscapes and odd little moments in and around Eggleston's hometown of Memphis--an anonymous woman in a loudly patterned dress and cat's eye glasses sitting, left leg slightly raised, on an equally loud outdoor sofa; a coal-fired barbecue shooting up flames, framed by a shiny silver tricycle, the curves of a gleaming black car fender, and someone's torso; a tiny, gray-haired lady in a faded, flowered housecoat, standing expectant, and dwarfed in the huge dark doorway of a mint-green room whose only visible furniture is a shaded lamp on an end table. For this edition of William Eggleston's Guide, The Museum of Modern Art has made new color separations from the original 35 mm slides, producing a facsimile edition in which the color will be freshly responsive to the photographer's intentions.

Also recommended by

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

First edition thus. Hardcover. Gray cloth, with debossed title stamped in yellow, no dust jacket as issued. Edited by Thomas Weski. Photographs by Michael Schmidt. 316 pp. with 161 duotone plates. 10 3/8 x 7 1/2 inches. Published on the occasion of the 1996 exhibition Michael Schmidt: U-NI-TY at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (also traveled to the Sprengel Museum, Hannover and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden). From the publisher: "Michael Schmidt, born in Berlin 1945, is one of Germany's most famous photographers. In this artist's book, he traces the universal iconography of political systems and the images of humankind they project. Addressing the complex relationships between the individual and the state, he asks how we can resist the loss of individuality inherent in systems of mass control."

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

In his startling, witty, and inexhaustibly inventive first novel—first published in 1986 and now reissued as a Grove Press paperback—the author of Vox and The Fermata uses a one-story escalator ride as the occasion for a dazzling reappraisal of everyday objects and rituals. From the humble milk carton to the act of tying one’s shoes, The Mezzanine at once defamiliarizes the familiar world and endows it with loopy and euphoric poetry. Nicholson Baker’s accounts of the ordinary become extraordinary through his sharp storytelling and his unconventional, conversational style. At first glance, The Mezzanine appears to be a book about nothing. In reality, it is a brilliant celebration of things, simultaneously demonstrating the value of reflection and the importance of everyday human human experiences.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Leatherette gilt in acetate printed Dustwrapper. Numerous Colour and Black & White plates. Clean and inscription free. Publishers note laid in.. Shimoyama\'s most famous work. Described by Parr / Badger in the photobook vol.1 as A baffling hypnotic book it\'s a brilliant sequance of events shot in 1974 with an almost history book like narrative. A beautiful and complete work. Design by Masatsugu Kameumi.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Authored

:

Alec Soth's America

From Here to There: Alec Soth's America is the first exhibition catalogue to feature the full spectrum of the work of Alec Soth, one of the most interesting voices in contemporary photography, whose compelling images of everyday America form powerful narrative vignettes. Featuring more than 100 of the artist's photographs made over the past 15 years, the book includes new critical essays by exhibition curator Siri Engberg, curator and art historian Britt Salvesen and critic Barry Schwabsky, which offer context on the artist's working process, the photo-historical tradition behind his practice and reflections on his latest series of works. Novelist Geoff Dyer's "Riverrun"--a meditation on Soth's series Sleeping by the Mississippi--and August Kleinzahler's poem "Sleeping It Off in Rapid City" contribute to the thoughtful exploration of this body of work. Also included in the publication is a 48-page artist's book by Soth titled The Loneliest Man in Missouri, a photographic essay with short, diaristic texts capturing the banality and ennui of middle America's suburban fringes, with their corporate office parks, strip clubs and chain restaurants. This full-color publication includes a complete exhibition history, bibliography and interview with the artist by Bartholomew Ryan. Alec Soth was born in 1969 and raised in Minnesota, where he continues to live and work. He has received fellowships from the McKnight Foundation (1999, 2004) and Jerome Foundation (2001), was the recipient of the 2003 Santa Fe Prize for Photography and was short-listed for the highly prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. His first monograph, Sleeping by the Mississippi, was published in 2004 to critical acclaim. Since then Soth has published Niagara (2006), Fashion Magazine (2007), Dog Days, Bogotá (2007) and The Last Days of W (2008). He is a member of Magnum Photos.

Also recommended by

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

You might also enjoy books from