The Nude, Conceptual Approaches to Fine Art Photography, by Jennifer (Zivolich) Emery, published by Amherst Media, ISBN: 978-1682032527
This is a paperback fully illustrated book offering ideas for images of nude females. The book was okay, it described lighting layouts for the studio subject matter illustrated and tips on health and safety if using a fire eater, but it wasn’t very technically detailed nor did it offer a comprehensive range of poses that could help inspire fresh ideas. Only good if you want to copy the ideas presented but not much use in helping you find inspiration.
Andy Grundberg is an American art critic, based in New York who over a period of the 1980’s and 1990′ has written a number of important essays of artists and their exhibitions which he has written for The New York Times, etc. His critical analysis of artist such as Walker Evans, Georgia O’Keefe, Joel Sternfield, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Robert Mapplethorpe, Lewis Hine, Robert Heinecken, gives a very good insight into a great many of 2oth century artists both modernist and postmodernist with a helpful explanation as to the difference. I found this book as recommended reading on Amazon and I dare say I expect to find it listed among future recommended or required readings in my OCA journey. A good book to read.
This book is full of famouse / influential essays for photography and a particular essay of interest is ‘See Photographically’ be Edward Weston. In his essay under the section ‘Recording an image’ he describes an image being a piece of art when the artist has pre-visualized his intended work and selected the elements, composed and framed his picture through a planned process. This I feel simply sums up true art and can be applied to music, painting, sculpture any medium that can be hailed as art. additional good essays to read or re-read are Barthes expects from ‘Camera Lucida’ and Rhetoric Of The Image, Walter Benjamin’s extracts from ‘The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction’. Also there are some good essays on fetishism which helps to understand the full meaning and use of this term, which would typically be only associated with sexual deviations.
Again this was a book listed as recommended reading of my Art of Photography course which had no bearing to the subject matter covered in the syllabus. However, this book made sense with connection to the course on ‘Context and Narrative’ as many of the essays had been referred to or covered, yet it is odd that this book is not on the reading list. I found the book a little dry at times as the essays differ in style; but overall this is a book that I am glad to have read.
‘The Genius of Photography, How Photography Has Changed Our Lives’ by Gerry Badger, published by Quadrille Publishing Ltd.
This book was on my recommended reading list for ‘The Art of Photography’ course but I feel that much of the reading list for that course did not echo the syllabus and I did not choose to read it at the time, preferring more relevant books that could assist me in the exercises, subject matter and assignments. However, for this current course and for future courses this book has been more relevant and made more sense to me.
This book looks at the history of photography from a critical point-of-view as to it’s impact and development as an artistic practice. How it has been influenced and influenced the art movements of the 19th, 20th and now the 21st century up to 2007. Focusing on Photographers and examples of their work that have influenced the photographic art movement in their day from Daguerre to the unknown photographers using mobile-phone cameras for images that both informs and shocks the 21st century public.
Although much of the topics in this book have been covered in other books that I have already read, re-reading them will only re-enforce them to my memory and helps to plant ideas for future image making in to my sub-conscious.
Photography a Critical Introduction, edited by Liz Wells, published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
The image on the front cover of this book was very appropriate for my experience when first reading this book: ‘Babel’ from Cockaign, by Gayle Chong Kwan.
The last listed book in my recommended reading list for the ‘Context and Narrative’ course to be read which completes my reading for both essential and recommended for the course. Phew!
I originally purchased and began reading this book for my ‘Art of Photography’ (AOP) course but I didn’t understand the relevance to my course and I also found it to be too heavy reading for me at that time and I only got half way through chapter one before putting it down. I was keen to read books themed closer to the topics covered in the syllabus and additional technical books on composition, lighting, exposure, etc to bring me up to speed with my basic photography skills. I felt that this book should have been listed in the essential reading list for my AOP course as none of the syllabus touched on critical theory and therefore wasn’t even appropriate for recommended reading. However, this book was listed as recommended reading for this current coarse of Context and Narrative and in my opinion this should in fact be listed as essential reading.
This book is definitely worth reading once the critical theory of art in photography needs to be explored and understood. There was much that linked to my current studying and I could see likely future links to my next courses, particularly chapter 4, ‘The subject as object: photography and the human body’ which discussed various forms of fetishism in art and explained what this word means in the art world. Not just sex and deviant behavior but also desire and even a form of addiction which can be exploited by advertising, etc.
I still found it a heavy book and it took almost three weeks for me to read, but thanks to all the other reading that I have now done and the clear link it had to my current studying I was able to relate to the subject matter. I am pleased that I have finally read this book and I realize that I made the right decision two years ago to put the book down as I would not have understood a word and the messages that are now useful would have been missed. I probably would not have thought to read it again; so missing a second chance to learn something from this book.
I learned of this artist through a fellow student on Facebook. Cockburn appears to specialize in ‘found photographs’ that she embellishes with embroidery, etc. often to disguise or obliterate the face / identity of the person in the picture. She has exhibited and sells her picture for large sums http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/juliecockburn. Like the lady in the picture, I can say no more about this artist.
As artist we are a funny breed! I was recently told by an artist that most artists are Socialists and I often hear them talk about the evils of Capitalism and then I go and find that artist will find someone else’s old photos and scribble, scratch, embroider or simply add a title to alter their meaning and put them up for sale for large sums of money. Seems to me without the evil Capitalist world we would be starving or more likely simply not doing art!
Salvador Dali was kicked out of the Surrealist movement for supporting Franco, perhaps his real crime was that he just couldn’t be hypercritical enough for his fellow contemporaries.
Photography: A Cultural History, 4th Edition by Mary Warner Marien, published by Laurence King Publishing.
I have just finished reading Photography: A Cultural History that I began reading back in late May and have finally finished reading today. This book was very dry for me and I had to interrupt reading it by reading about four other books in the meantime. However, I have persevered and finished it. To be fair it is a good book all the same, as it tells a good comprehensive history of photography from conception to present day. This book explaining the influences from art, politics and national cultures that has shaped photographic practices throughout the world from the 1830’s to present day with details on photographers / artist with examples of their work that have been of influence.
Certainly a must read book for any photography student and I do now have a better understanding of Surrealism, Modernism, Postmodernism, etc. than I did before.