The summer holidays is a time to dip into my extensive photobook library. Or even just my library. Sadly this year my books are packed away for the duration of the renovation we are having built for us at the moment. Since packing up I have bought 3 books and also kept a handful of texts aside, for planning and development of my classes moving forward. The newest book I purchased is titled ‘Science and human Values’ by Jacob Bronowski, the other two purchased since packing away all my books is ZZYZX, by Gregory Halpern, Westography by Warren Kirk.
Jacob Bronowski’s book is a collection of a series of lectures he gave in 1956. I have yet to begin reading it, but after reading another essay by one of my inspirations Emmet Gowin, I hunted it down and bought myself a christmas present. Emmet Gowin’s reference in his essay from a book titled ‘Photographs not taken’, talks about how he met Bronowski’s daughter and the impact the book has had on himself and many of his students. I wrote about this experience last year, here. I hope to gain some insight from this book too, and also hope to pass that on to my students.
Gregory Halpern’s book, is a photobook pure and simple, it was mentioned in Time Magazine’s top 10 list of photobooks for 2o16, and had been a bit of a buzz around the photo-blogging community throughout the year. It is a beautiful book. As for its function as a photobook, I’m not too clear, it appears to be about the modern urban Zeitgeist, or at least a Californian version of it. Again this will form part of a larger discussion I will have with our students about photobook making.
Warren Kirk’s book is about our side of Melbourne, by a local. An ongoing project he has managed to get published by Echo Publishing, no mean feat in this day and age of phone cameras and video surveillance, and robotic cameras. I have yet to dedicate too much time to it but it is a beautiful book and the ideas underneath it resonate with me really well.
Some of the other books I kept out of storage are.
- Understanding a photograph, John Berger, Ed. by Geoff Dyer, how prescient?
- Photographs not taken, a collection of photographer’s essays, Ed. Will Stacey
- The Photographer’s Playbook 307 Assignments and Ideas, Ed. Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern
- Photography the Key Concepts, by David Bate
- 100 Ideas that changed Photography by Mary Warner Marien
- Photography Changes Everything, Ed. Martin Heiferman
- Exploring Colour Photography, A Complete Guide, by Robert Hirsch
- Wolfgang Sievers, by Helen Ennis, a wonderful gift from a long time friend.
Perhaps more thoughts on these books in an upcoming article? Needless to say they are constant companions as I reflect on, plan and prepare classes all year round.
*There are lots of other books that I dip into on a regular basis, these will form another article all together, but here’s a hint, Robert Adams.