New books: Focus on photography

The new book shelf features quite a few beautiful  photography books. Here is a group, each one depicting the texture of daily life in a very different location: New York City, mid-20th century;  Naples, Italy; Braddock, Pennsylvania  and Southern California.

vivian-maier-a-photographer-found-book

Vivian Maier: A photographer found
TR659.8 .M35 2014

Vivian Maier’s story—the secretive nanny-photographer during her life who becomes a popular sensation shortly after her death—has, to date, been pieced together only from previously seen or known images she made and the handful of facts that have surfaced about her life. During her lifetime she shot more than 100,000 images, which she kept hidden from the world. In 2007, two years before her death, Chicago historic preservationist John Maloof discovered a trove of negatives, and roll upon roll of undeveloped film in a storage locker he bought at auction. They revealed a surprising and accomplished artist and a stunning body of work, which Maloof championed and brought to worldwide acclaim.

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 Larry Fink on composition and improvisation / introduction by Lisa Kereszi.
TR140.F56 A4 2014

In this book, Larry Fink—well-known for his layered pictures in social settings—explores composing photographs and improvising within a scene to create images with both feeling and meaning. Through words and photographs, he reveals insight into his own practice and discusses a wide range of creative issues, from connecting with the subject in front of the lens to shaping a vision that is authentic. Photographer Lisa Kereszi, a student of Larry Fink, provides the introduction.

Sultan

Larry Sultan : here and home / organized by Rebecca Morse ; essays by Philip Gefter, Sandra S. Phillips ; artist’s writings and quotes by Larry Sultan.
TR647 .S90 2014

Larry Sultan: Here and Home is the first retrospective of California photographer Larry Sultan (1946–2009). The exhibition includes more than 200 photographs ranging from Sultan’s conceptual and collaborative works of the 1970s to his solo works in the decades following. Sultan never stopped challenging the conventions of photographic documentation, exploring themes of family, home, and façade throughout his career. Five major bodies of work are represented including: Evidence (1977), made collaboratively with Mike Mandel; Swimmers (1978–81); Pictures from Home (1982–92); The Valley (1998–2003); and Homeland (2006–2009). The show is augmented by a “study hall,” with documentation and ephemera providing a glimpse of Sultan’s modes of inquiry as an artist and a teacher.

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 Latoya Ruby Frazier : the notion of family / essays by Dennis C. Dickerson and Laura Wexler ; interview by Dawoud Bey.
TR681.F28 F73 2014

In this, her first book, LaToya Ruby Frazier offers an incisive exploration of the legacy of racism and economic decline in America’s small towns, as embodied by her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. The work also considers the impact of that decline on the community and on her family, creating a statement both personal and truly political—an intervention in the histories and narratives of the region. Frazier has compellingly set her story of three generations—her Grandma Ruby, her mother, and herself—against larger questions of civic belonging and responsibility. The work documents her own struggles and interactions with family and the expectations of community, and includes the documentation of the demise of Braddock’s only hospital, reinforcing the idea that the history of a place is frequently written on the body as well as the landscape.

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Gomorrah girl / Valerio Spada.
TR681.Y6 S63 2014

“Gomorrah Girl shows the problems of becoming a woman in a dangerous, crime-ridden area,” says Spada, who studied in Milan and has worked as a fashion photographer. “At age 9 they make themselves up as TV personalities and dream of becoming one of them. At age 13 or 14 they often become mothers, skipping the adolescence which is lived fully everywhere else in Italy.”

The story comes together in the book’s innovative design—Spada’s own documentary photographs, along with a smaller book of photographs detailing the police investigation, are bound together. Captions offer details into the personal tragedies suffered by the subjects alongside stone-cold factual information provided by police evidence. “At first glance, Gomorrah Girl may seem to be an unassuming even haphazard book,” says Larissa Leclair, a photography curator/writer and a judge in this year’s contest, “but as each page unfolds, the viewer is challenged by layers of meaning.”

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