• Paris

    Eugène Atget

    Beautiful photographs. Eugène Atget “was a French flâneur and a pioneer of documentary photography, noted for his determination to document all of the architecture and street scenes of Paris before their disappearance to modernization.” (as summarized by Wikipedia)…more

  • On Photography

    Susan Sontag

    Although photography generates works that can be called art — it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure — photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac’s Paris. Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget’s Paris.

    About halfway through this book, you might start to wonder if Sontag appreciates photography at all, and potentially you’ll wonder further exactly when her relationship with Annie Leibovitz started (in the late 80s, well after the publication of this book, though her...more

  • Stadt Alphabet Wien

    Martin Ulrich Kehrer

    I always forget to add the various books that come my way that aren’t actually books that I read, but most likely hold court on the coffee table or a prominent location on a bookshelf. Melanie brought me this one from Austria, and it documents Vienna’s incredible old signage, in alphabetical order of the business names. Most of these were designed by master signmakers who, as is often the case, weren’t necessarily typographers. So the letterforms are pleasingly unique and with anachronistic combinations. This definitely made me wish I had taken more pictures of signs while I was over there, though I did get the one below. Hopefully they won’t all be gone when I get myself back to...more

  • Scrapbook

    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    In my attempts to make full use of the library, I often forget to hunt out the nice art books I’d buy if I had that much money to throw around and the strength to haul the hefty tomes around every time I move house. Cartier-Bresson is perhaps the photographer I am most likely to browse.more

  • Tête à Tête

    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    Lovely portraits.more

  • City and Landscapes

    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    This book includes one of my favorite photographs ever:

    Cartier-Bresson — Brie, Francemore

  • The Complete Untitled Film Stills

    Cindy Sherman

    It’s probably time that I returned these photo books I took out from the library months ago. (There were a few others, but I didn’t spend too much time with them before I returned them.)

    Cindy Sherman — Untitled Film Stills #11

    I’ve been admiring this full edition of the Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills for a while. Even if you are familiar with her work, this book is worth a browsing for her essay “The Making of Untitled,” which goes into the background of how she got into character building and her self-portrait techniques, as well as various anecdotes about the making of certain photos.

    This collection of photos strikes me with...more

  • The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers

    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    This compilation of writings by Cartier-Bresson is pretty random and obviously written over a long period of time. But its brevity makes up for the lack of flow. His opinions of photographic technique are interesting, sometimes useful and sometimes not. He was not a fan of color photography: As opposed to black, which has the most complex range, color, on the contrary, offers only a fragmentary range. Though that was largely because of the state of color film processing at the time of that writing, 1985. His philosophy of “The Camera as a Sketchbook” is certainly well received by the photobloggers of today, though who knows what he thought of digital photography. The writings on particular places his visited...more

  • Camera Lucida

    Roland Barthes

    theories on photography by someone who is not a photographer. knowing little of the technical aspects of photography, Barthes attaches his own kind of technicality by applying his own terminologies to the observation of photos. the first section is much heavier, laying out his basic theory; though the second part, written at a later date and after the death of his mother, repeatedly references a photograph of her that is not printed in the book. a kind of frustrating work.more