Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer, Arthur Lubow (Ecco). “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” It’s safe to say that Diane Arbus went places most of us will never venture– capturing the worlds of nudists, midgets, transvestites, twins, strippers and others who were marginalized. The New Yorker reviewer says “ [S]he roamed the human zoo.” By every measure, Arbus was the best known woman photographer of her generation. Sadly, her demons were as great as her talents as a documentary photographer – she committed suicide in 1971. Read the excellent essay on Arbus in The New Yorker; it will ensure you’ll want to read the full biography (the first issued since Patricia Bosworth’s bio in 1994).
Stoppers: Photographs from My Life at Vogue, Phyllis Posnik (Harry N. Abrams) Here’s the backstory of the names you know as icons of fashion photography, portraits and beauty images – Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz – from the woman who was Executive Fashion Editor of Vogue for 30 years. Stoppers (the term coined by Alexander Liberman, Vogue’s iconic art director) shares the secrets of great images that arrest your attention –including the riotous chicken with high heels shot by Helmut Newton. Read the Vogue story
Brigitte Bardot My Life in Fashion (Flammarion Press) 300 illustrations
No less than Simone de Beauvoir called Brigitte Bardot the most liberated woman in postwar France. She went from a 15-year-old ballet student to sexually liberated woman (And God Created Woman) in just a few years. Bardot was dressed by Dior, Balmain and Cardin- a fashion icon in France known for her signature beehive hairdo. This volume encompasses a time when French culture influenced the world in fashion and the arts (Nouvelle Vague cinema and other art forms). Here are 300 photographs of Bardot at her best. New York Magazine story
Magnum 100 Postcards (Thames & Hudson) $24.95
Magnum Photos is the legendary photo agency, formed in 1947 by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and David “Chim” Seymour. Photographers aspiring to world stature sought membership in this most-exclusive club of men and women known for their originality and brilliance. The agency celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2017, and Magnum has commissioned a number of products – among others, a set of 100 individual postcards with key images from the Magnum stable. The reverse is blank so you can pen a note. Check out the lineup.
Evolution: A Visual Record, Robert Clark (National Geographic)
National Geographic says, “We may be in the midst of the world’s sixth mass extinction, a slow-motion funnel of death that will leave the planet with a small fraction of its current biodiversity.” There are lesson to learn in Robert Clark’s stunning visual record that shows evolution at work. What exists now may be those organisms with the biggest evolutionary advantage. With climate change and human intervention, the stakes become higher and species disappear because they are unable to adapt or deal with disease and deprivation. Own this book along with Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark (below). Clark’s web site
Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark
National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore offers a different visual record –that of looming extinctions in this Anthropocene era. He’s 10 years into a 20-year project he calls PhotoArk to document 12,000 of the rarest and most endangered animals, birds and insects on the planet, as well as – on occasion – a few threatened animals whose population is on the rise. He wants us to love them –not just the charismatic megafauna (elephants and polar bears) but the species that many of us don’t know anything about and probably don’t care. He’s 6000 animals (and bugs) into the project. And even more, he wants us to do something. In his foreword to Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, Sartore asks: “So wouldn’t it be great to begin a national dialogue now about the importance of saving the wild places that remain and the species living there? To do this,” he says,” nature must become more than just a faint notion…something that we like in the abstract but consider irrelevant to our daily lives.” Read the story in Wired
Two of Sartore’s books belong on your shelf or as gifts:
Photo Ark: A World Worth Saving ($9.95). Buy it from Sartore’s studio
National Geographic The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals Hardcover – due out March 7, 2017. Check it out on Amazon
Edward Burtynsky: Essential Elements (Thames & Hudson). Introduction by William A. Ewing and an essay by Joshua Schuster.
A retrospective of Burtynsky’s work across four decades, here’s a compilation of 140 images – both well known and previously unseen – that explore his focus on globalized economy and humankind’s impact on environments around the world. Many of us first knew of his bold adventures to gain access to industrial production sites in China, with large-scale photographs that attest to the damage done to rivers, landscapes and environments from minerals production and manufacturing. Thames & Hudson notes, “Each of the five sections is interleaved with a selection of texts from previous publications and articles on Burtynsky that work in concert with the photographs to provide a complete understanding of Burtynsky’s view of the world.” If you have seen his previous works Quarries, Oil, and Water, you’ll want to add this book to your collection. Burtynsky says, looking back over the world damage of the Anthropocene era, “We’ve reached peak everything.” Introduction by William A. Ewing and an essay by Joshua Schuster. Read the story in the Guardian
Bonus photography books: Our selection of 10 photography books from Holidays 2015 features everything from Hubble Telescope images of exoplanets to Christian Sadet’s exploration of Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World to Jimi Hendrix in the American Cool exhibition. Check out our recommendations –these books are keepers!