Book Reviews

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Wayward Cognitions Frontal

Introduction

Building a collection of photobooks, for most of us, is a slow process. It’s not cheap. With that in mind, I made my first few purchases sure-fire investments. They were collections from greats. Winogrand, Evans, Maier. The books were safe bets. They had been in print for some time, reviewed positively, sold well and contained a good amount of images that I had seen before.

So it was time for something new, something fresh. I made the decision to make the next purchase one that was work from an active photographer. Ed Templeton immediately came to mind. I had recently stumbled across his work online and was just beginning to dig for more. Wayward Cognitions(Um Yeah Arts, 2014) is his latest collection available and it became the next one to arrive on my doorstep.

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Andrew Sweigart holding the book

Introduction

To say I’m a fan of Garry Winogrand is putting it mildly. In my opinion, I believe his name is the one most synonymous with street photography. Not to diminish the exemplary work of all the other great street photographers, but damn it,  Garry Winogrand was street.

That being said, “Garry Winogrand”(Yale University/ San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art, 2013) is a long look at one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century. And by long, I mean long. This beast of a book arrived at my doorstep weighing over six pounds and containing 448 pages. For a Winogrand fan it’s a must. For someone unfamiliar with him or street photography, it’s an excellent introduction to the genre and one if it’s pillars.

About Garry Winogrand

Garry Winogrand(1928-1984) was one of, if not the most prolific street photographers ever. He left behind over 35,000 prints, 22,000 contact sheets and over 40,000 color transparencies. He also left over 6,000 rolls of unprocessed film. Consider that for a few seconds. That’s an incredible amount of images. Now imagine going through that archive and the unprocessed rolls and putting on an exhibition. “Garry Winogrand”, in all it’s majesty, is the retrospective catalog accompanying the expansive exhibition that debuted at the San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art in 2013. It also made stops in Washington, DC, New York City, and just wrapped up at Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris.

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Andrew Sweigart reading Walker Evans

Introduction

Walker Evans was one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century. I’ve wrote about him in my Under The Influence series and, needless to say, his work had a huge impact on me. His legendary American Photographs, published by the Museum of Modern Art, is testament to his greatness and I’m thankful to now have it in my possession.

Originally published in 1938, this edition, published in 2012, is the seventy-fifth anniversary edition. It also coincided with the seventy-fifth anniversary of one of the first one-person photography exhibitions at the Museum. American Photographs is a high-water mark in not just American photography, but photography worldwide. This book, containing 87 photographs is beautifully constructed and deserving to be called an anniversary edition. And the bonus… it’s priced affordably at less than $25 usd on Amazon. A steal for a classic photo book.

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Streethunters Bookshelf: Vivian Maier: Street Photographer (Powerhouse Books, 2011)

Introduction

Vivian Maier, the street photographer and her incredible story, has had me under her spell since I first explored street photography. Spyros gave me the taste, the “push” into the genre, but it’s Maier who pulled me in and refused to let me go. It was a perfect storm. As I stumbled into street, Vivian Maier’s story was exploding and it’s draw was irresistible. The story was so compelling and the relatively few pictures released were wonderful. The inspiration was immediate. I searched fervently for all the images the internet could cough up. I watched the BBC documentary, “Who Took Nanny’s Pictures”. Soon after, John Maloof’s documentary, “Finding Vivian Maier” came out and I watched it as soon as it was available. And then I thought my cup was full, because I began researching other street photography greats. The big names. I had shelved Maier, in my mind, as I explored well-known and respected pioneers of street. The more I consumed, the further back the images were pushed in my mind.

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Tanya Nagar's “The New Street Photographer's Manifesto”

Introduction

Manifesto is a heavy word. When you think about the context in which the word manifesto is often used, you think of a powerful political statement..You think of world leaders or want-to-be leaders. Of activists and policymakers. The Oxford dictionary defines manifesto as, “a public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate.”

The New Street Photographer’s Manifesto

Tanya Nagar’s “The New Street Photographer’s Manifesto” (Pixiq, 2012) is not so much a manifesto,, but more an excellent jumping off point for an aspiring street hunter. Well written and concise, at 176 pages, it’s a primer that I, with a year’s experience, still found to be an enjoyable, yet quick, read that serves up some bonus eye candy as well.

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