Thursday, January 29, 2015

Variations on a Theme: Photography

After looking (and relooking and relooking) at our wedding photos, I was inspired to make January's Variations on a Theme about photography. The following is a collection of books that feature famous photos and photographers.

Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs
Ansel Adams

In a career that spanned six decades, Ansel Adams produced a remarkable body of work that is at once an artistic tour de force and a powerful tribute to his beloved American wilderness. Adams was given his first camera, a Kodak Box Brownie, in 1916, and made his first photographs during a family vacation in Yosemite National Park. Thus began a career and a lifetime devoted to making indelible images of America's wild places, its national parks, and its great mountain ranges. This book is the largest compilation of Adams' photographic oeuvre ever published. Organized chronologically, it presents the full range of his finest work, from early efforts in the 1920s, to his projects in the national parks in the 1940s, up through his last important photographs of the 1960s. Included are Adams' most popular images – many of them icons of twentieth-century art – as well as a number of masterly but little-known photographs.

Leah Bendavid-Val

This stunning volume was the gift book of the year when it first published, and the images that grace its pages remain iconic. From the famous Afghan girl whose haunting green eyes stare out from the book’s cover, and her poignant story that captured the world’s interest, to award-winning photography culled from the Society’s vast archives, The Photographs offers readers an inside look at National Geographic and a sharp-eyed view of the world. The book showcases the skill and imagination of such notable Geographic photographers as David Doubilet, William Albert Allard, Sam Abell, Jim Stanfield, Jodi Cobb, Jim Brandenburg, David Alan Harvey, and many more. They share their techniques, as well as personal and colorful anecdotes about individual images and their adventures in the field—sometimes humorous, sometimes terrifying, always vividly compelling. Author Leah Bendavid-Val writes about the photographers’ achievements from technical, journalistic, and artistic perspectives. 

Val Williams

Every day and all over the world, millions of people take countless photographs. Yet only a few of those images stand out from the rest, demand the world's attention, and survive the test of time. This unusual new book showcases 100 outstanding photographers and points out the unique qualities that make their pictures great.Guided by the expert eye of author Val Williams, When Photography Really Works covers a time span of more than 100 years, showing readers how to recognize the defining qualities of important photographic art in genres that include portraits, landscapes, nudes, photojournalism, abstract imagery, and more.

Elizabeth Partridge

This beautiful volume celebrates one of the twentieth century's most important photographers, Dorothea Lange. Led off by an authoritative biographical essay by Elizabeth Partridge (Lange's goddaughter), the book goes on to showcase Lange's work in over a hundred glorious plates. Dorothea Lange is the only career-spanning monograph of this major photographer's oeuvre in print, and features images ranging from her iconic Depression-era photograph "Migrant Mother" to lesser-known images from her global travels later in life. Presented as the companion book to a PBS American Masters episode that will air in 2014, this deluxe hardcover offers an intimate and unparalleled view into the life and work of one of our most cherished documentary photographers. 

Brandon Stanton

Based on the blog with more than four million loyal fans, a beautiful, heartfelt, funny, and inspiring collection of photographs and stories capturing the spirit of a city. Now an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, Humans of New York began in the summer of 2010, when photographer Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of New York City.  Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories.  The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called "Humans of New York," in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes. The blog has steadily grown, now boasting millions of devoted followers.  Humans of New York is the book inspired by the blog.  With four hundred color photos, including exclusive portraits and all-new stories, Humans of New York is a stunning collection of images that showcases the outsized personalities of New York. Surprising and moving, printed in a beautiful full-color, hardbound edition, Humans of New York is a celebration of individuality and a tribute to the spirit of the city.

Annie Leibovitz

"I don't have two lives," Annie Leibovitz writes in the Introduction to this collection of her work from 1990 to 2005. "This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it." Portraits of well-known figures - Johnny Cash, Nicole Kidman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Keith Richards, Michael Jordan, Joan Didion, R2-D2, Patti Smith, Nelson Mandela, Jack Nicholson, and William Burroughs - appear alongside pictures of Leibovitz's family and friends, reportage from the siege of Sarajevo in the early Nineties, and landscapes. The pictures form a narrative of a life rich in contrasts and continuities. The photographer has a long relationship that ends with illness and death. She chronicles the celebrations and heartbreaks of her large and robust family. She has children of her own. All the while, she is working, and the public work resonates with the themes of the life.

Other Photography Books
6 Billion Others: Portraits of Humanity from Around the World - Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Annie Leibovitz at Work - Annie Leibovitz
Dorothea Lange - Mark Durden
Find Momo: A Photography Book - Andrew Knapp
Life: The Classic Collection - Life Magazine Editors
On Photography - Susan Sontag
Photography: A Definitive Visual History - Tom Ang
Photography: The 50 Most Influential Photographers of All Time - Chris Dickie
Photos that Changed the World - Peter Stepan
Work: The World in Photographs - Ferdinand Protzman

Links and Stuff: January 29, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What I Read This Week: January 25, 2015

We got our wedding pictures back this week! I might have looked at them a dozen times already... with no promises to stop. Our photographers did a fantastic job (I've added a pic of our first dance below... cause I can), and I'm so glad Lady C found (and let me steal) them. How I'm going to be able to decide which of the 902 (!) pictures make it into an album is beyond me, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Speaking of Lady C, I spent Saturday with her, Lady B, and Lady K watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. We called it The Lakening for reasons. The weather was fairly gross outside, so it was nice to spend the day lazing about with some Austen and Firth. Firth makes everything better. I also now have a desire to re-read Bridget Jones' Diary.
  • Magazines
    • National Geographic, January 2015 - What a great issue to kick off the year. This was a cover-to-cover read. I particularly enjoyed the articles on The First American, The First City of Africa, and what's inside the cosmos. Also, pretty pictures of pre-historic of cave art are always a winner.
    • The Atlantic, January/February 2015 - Ooo was this an interesting issue. I consider the cover story on the decline of the American military a must read. There was also an article on Erick Erickson, a conservative commentator I've heard but knew little about. Finally, I handed this issue over to The Husband so he could read the piece about living in space. Good stuff.
  • Books
    • I've (just barely) started my first book of the year. 2015 is getting kicked off with The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. I'm only a few pages in, but I find the reading intriguing so far. This is not my usual kind of book, so I'm excited to see how things go.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Friday Find: Austen-some!

Next to Etsy, Out of Print may be one of my favorite locations to find awesome bookish things. I mean, who wouldn't want to visit the library and use this awesome tote to bring home all their books?

Buy it here.

Maybe the librarians will even give you extra credit (?) for using library related goods.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why I Love...Pinning

Yup. Pinning. As in Pinterest. As in that thing many a person on the web is addicted to. I am one of them. I use Pinterest for a ton of stuff, but I have found two awesome book related uses.

Use the First: Hello Purty Bookish Things
Before Pinterest, I would find all this random library/librarian/bookish related stuff online. I tried saving pictures on my computer, but it just didn't seem to work for saving web links. So then there was a hybrid system where I kept pictures in a folder and links in a Google document. Not ideal - in fact, I would call it unweildly. Then Lady B introduced me to Pinterest and one of the first boards I made became devoted to Librarian Stuff. Now I have a central location to save all the bookish stuff I find AND maintain links to the original source. Love it!

Use the Second: Books, Books, and More Books
I've written about my TBR tracking system before, so I won't go into too much history, but needless to say, it too was lacking. I love that Pinterest allows me to browse covers and, because it's a web page, is still searchable. I have two Books to Read boards: one for personal reading and another for professional reading. Also, seeing all the covers in one location makes me deliriously happy for no other reason than it's purty.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Sunday Night Rant

While I was cleaning out my Feedly reader tonight, I came across this headline: Do libraries still need to provide internet access? The click-baitness of the title alone made me instantly furious, but the link took me to a letter to the editor that made me even angrier. The writer sums up his letter with this statement: "With the real definition and purpose of a library in mind, Fairfax officials should strive to offer what avid readers have wanted all along: a book-filled and Internet-free library."

A couple of immediate thoughts come to mind, none of which I can type, but letters and privileged mindsets like this make me furious. 

Yes, a thousand times yes!, libraries should continue to provide internet access. To not do so goes against everything we stand for. Internet access, even for the game playing this writer derides, is essential to our mission to provide free and equitable access to everyone in our communities. 

Letter writers like this tend to ignore the massive digital divide that still exists in this country. Not everyone has the internet available in their homes or on their phones. For many, the library is the only place they access information on the internet. For many, the library is the only place they can apply for jobs (many of which are online application only). For many, the library is the only place they can do school research because the schools themselves lack the proper technology or access. For many, the library is the only place to apply for the health insurance policies they are now required to carry by law. For many areas, the library is the only internet connected building in the community.

I love dead tree books, but as a librarian, I do not let my love for the traditional stacks get in the way of the mission of the library. "The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas." I and other libraries do not judge why people use the internet at the library, whether for research or game-playing. The library is open to everyone for whatever information or entertainment need our patrons wish to fulfill. If you think the "real definition and purpose of a library in mind" is to peruse the stacks in silence, please do so. I won't shush you - but I certainly won't tell the kids playing a computer game they have to stop.  

What I Read This Week: January 18, 2015

I have yet to pick up a book this month. My magazine backlog pile is just that large. I see a light at the end of the tunnel, but my mum did give me a subscription to HGTV magazine as a gift. Darn her knowledge of my love of all things interior design. That magazine is made by the same people who do Food Network Magazine, so I think I will enjoy each issue.

In other news, this three-day weekend allowed The Husband and I to do some fun stuff. We finally got to see Mockingjay. I am so happy the theaters around here still had it showing. I would have settled for seeing it on Netflix, but this was way better.
  • Magazines
    • Real Simple, November 2014 - I read this issue while dog sitting, and the puppy was curled up right next to me. She only tried to eat the pages once, but I did find her cuteness and cuddles a touch distracting. Anyway. In the article department, I enjoyed reading the pieces on gratitude and networking for introverts. On the holiday front, many of recipes and tips looked awesome, but I was a might bit irked that it was assumed women had to do all of the things. I'm all for holiday cheer and throwing events, but everyone should do the work. 
    • Food Network, December 2014 - Cookie cookie cookie! I love reading all the holiday, dessert nibble recipes even when I don't save any to make later. Same goes for the holiday dinners. Holiday food is the best. The issue has had two great feature pieces: gift ideas and cookbook recommendations.
    • Food Network, January / February 2015 - This issue was about a third of the size of the December issue. I think it took me all of 10 minutes to read. Those 10 minutes, however, started with a year's worth of chocolate desserts. (Noms!) Not much else stood out, but the information about Girl Scout Cookies and weeknight dinners was enjoyable.
  • Books
    • The fact that this bullet is empty makes me sad. I shall pick up a book again soon! Now I just need to figure out what I am in the mood to read.