As most visitors to the boutique already know, featuring artistic and thought-provoking photography books is a calling we cherish. We take pride in curating and handpicking books that are pertinent, timeless and inspiring.
During a recent visit to a photo book fair south of the border, I came upon four outstanding efforts by renowned giants of twentieth-century photography. Their unique styles, visions and approaches are displayed in volumes rich in pictures with texts that chronicle the process and paths behind the work.
Any one of these books will enrich your personal library, and will nourish your photographic passion and interests. Collectively, they are great tools that provide deeper insight into the making of a superior photo essay.
The books are available in limited quantities. Three of them are special editions, signed by the artist.
Violet Isle - Alex Webb and Rebecca Noris Webb - Signed by Alex and Rebecca
This multi-layered portrait of “the violet isle”—a little-known name for Cuba inspired by the rich color of the soil there—presents an engaging, at times unsettling document of a vibrant and vulnerable land. It combines two separate photographic visions: Alex Webb’s exploration of street life, with his attuned and complex attention to detail, and Rebecca Norris Webb’s fascination with the unique, quixotic collections of animals she discovered there, from tiny zoos and pigeon societies to hand-painted natural history displays and quirky personal menageries. The result is an insightful and intriguing blend of two different aesthetics inspired by Cuba’s existence over the last fifty years in an economic, political, cultural and ecological bubble virtually untouched by the rest of the world, and unlikely to remain that way for much longer.
SAM ABELL LIBRARY: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF PLACES - Signed by Sam Abell
This is the first in a series of four multi-volume sets dedicated to the work of Sam Abell, one of America’s most influential photographers and teachers.
This four-year publishing endeavor, ultimately comprising sixteen separate volumes, is the most comprehensive expression to date of Abell’s work. In each set of four volumes Abell takes up a theme important to the history of art: the photography of places; the photography of nature; the photography of the past; and the photography of ideas. Each volume features Abell’s iconic images set for the first time in the context of his extensive never-before-published work. Essays by Abell appear throughout the sixteen volumes.
The first boxed set begins with an introductory volume, with an illustrated essay by Leah Bendavid-Val, examining Abell’s evolution as an artist. Successive volumes then showcase three distinct cultures—the raw aesthetic of Newfoundland; the refinement of Hagi, Japan; and the reptilian character of Northern Australia.
CALLAHAN, SISKIND, SOMMER: AT THE CROSSROADS OF AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY
At the Crossroads of American Photography examines the aesthetic interrelationship of three photographers who helped define the course of American photography: Frederick Sommer, Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Although each has been honored with individual museum retrospectives, this is the first full comparison of their work and exploration of their robust, prescient exchange of ideas about photography, abstraction and metaphor. Self-taught as photographers, they helped shape a national community of peers and the evolution of photography as an art form. They are the bridge between the purity of Group f/64-era photography at mid-century and the hybrid approaches to the medium seen today.
These men, whose professional friendships span 25 years, were dubbed the “holy trinity” of American photography. This exhibition and publication highlight the powerful role of such camaraderie in shaping photography at this seminal time, before the emergence of a market for photography and before widespread artistic acceptance of the medium. It brings to light contrasting philosophies of the artist/photographer’s role (influenced by existentialism for Siskind and by the writings of Spinoza for Sommer); the interest in chance as an artistic process; the expressive potential of photographic ‘found’ objects and ‘collage’; experimental abstraction; close affiliations with “fine art” movements (New Bauhaus, Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism); and changing attitudes toward the fine-print tradition. This project explores the intellectual genealogy of American photography, as well as the artistic personalities that helped define photographic education in this country for generations to come.
This publication, which accompanies an exhibition at The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, includes 66 of the most seminal images from the show (22 by each photographer), a thorough text by guest curator Keith F. Davis, an essay by Dr. Britt Salvesen, and a complete exhibition checklist. The images included in the exhibtion will be borrowed from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation in Prescott, and a heretofore unseen vast private collection in northern Arizona, which are together nearly comprehensive and of especially remarkable high quality.
Susan Meiselas: Mediations - Signed and dated by Susan
A member of Magnum Photos since 1976, Susan Meiselas became known for her work in the conflict zones of Central America in the 1970s and '80s and for the strength of her color photography. Covering many subjects and countries, from war to human-rights issues and from cultural identity to the sex industry, Meiselas uses photography, film, video and sometimes archive material, as she relentlessly explores and develops narratives integrating the participation of her subjects in her works. Meiselas constantly questions the photographic process and her role as witness.
Presenting a selection of works from the 1970s through the present day, Susan Meiselas: Mediations retraces her trajectory from the 1970s to the present. Published to accompany a major traveling retrospective of the photographer’s work, it features an illustrious list of contributors that includes Ariella Azoulay, Eduardo Cadava and Kristin Lubben, among others.