In looking at the work of Peter Dombrovskis over the last few weeks I couldn’t help but wonder about how we engage with the work of the ‘photography masters’. My preference of course is through books. Based on my Peter Dombrovskis experience this is a challenge.
Not every photographer has the kind of machinery behind them that Ansel has. What about the others. Is there space for periodic ‘remastering’ of classic books in the way that classic records are remastered. A very different undertaking but certainly possible.
I feel like one of my favorite photographers, Eliot Porter, received this kind of remastering in 2012 when a new edition of ‘In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World’. was published to mark the 50th anniversary of the first edition.
The Getty Museum also published a collection of Eliot’s work at around the same time, ‘Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature’. This book rather than a new edition is a great survey of Eliot’s work and for me is reminiscent of the Peter Dombrovskis book I recently acquired.
I wonder how many of the masters will get this additional chance to reach a new audience through a book, how many will achieve something similar through the internet and how many will fade away.
When it comes to looking at other photographers work, books are a major resource for me. I find it easier to get catalogs of photographers shows than I do to actually get to the show. I know that I’m missing out here because scale dramatically impacts the viewers experience of the photograph. I’m trying harder to get to more exhibitions but that does little for my weakness for books.
The tools that are available to us now make book production very simple and the on demand book printing services such as Blurb, put book production within reach of ordinary mortals. With that as a back drop, I decided to put together a book/catalog to support my current exhibition at the RMSP gallery. It includes all of the photographs that are in the show and some that didn’t make the cut because of space constraints. The book is now finally available on the Blurb website. Check out the preview below.
As you can probably tell from the photo above, my book collection is getting a little out of control. While I would have a hard time paring it down and parting with any of the books I thought that it would be a fun exercise to select 25 ‘how-to’ books to hang on to. I decided to select a set of ‘how-to’ style of books. Some a very practical nuts and bolts of how to use Lightroom or Photoshop, some point the way ‘how-to’ using examples from the authors, some feature exercises designed to help you find your way of capturing images, some ask more questions than they answer and finally some help with talking about your work and sharing it with the world. These are all books that I still find useful, although not necessarily ones that I would recommend to someone who’s just picked up a camera. I’m sure this would be different to your list and would be happy to hear what you would have included. A ‘top ten’ from my collection of art books, monographs etc. in the coming weeks.