Saturday, May 14, 2011

Picture This

An eclectic set of photo books.  Some subjects can only be told by photos.  A few of the subjects I know well, others I'd like to know more about and have used them for armchair travel.

1.  Leelanau, Ken Scott & Jerry Dennis (2000).
  Portrays a sense of place in Michigan's peninsula county. Gift. 

 2.  Magnetic North, Mike Beedell (1983).  North of the tree line, above the sixtieth parallel is a spectacular landscape.  Beedell's pictures capture the land, people, wildlife and desolation.  Bought used State Department book store.

3.  Imprints, David Plowden (1997).  Plowden's subjects are the landscape of the midwest, small towns, grain elevators, machinery bridges, trains,and  gritty industrial landscapes.  There is a haunting beauty to his subjects that evoke a nostalgia for my hometown.  The nostalgia is for the machinery of an old rust belt town and the outlying countryside of farmlands.  I'm biased.  I grew up in a rust belt Ohio town where two of the photos were taken (coal docks and an abandoned limestone building near the waterfront).   Ordered online.

4.  Abandonings: Photographs of Otter Tail County, Minnesota, Maxwell MacKenzie (1995). Farmhouses, barns, churches, one-room school houses--most of them abandoned.  Forty years after he was born there, the author returned to the country where he was born on the edge of the Great Plains to photograph the disappearing structures of this Scandinavian ancestors. Bought used but can't remember where.  

5.  Acquainted with the Night, Photographs by Lynn Saville (1997). Black and white photographs of mostly city scapes.  A lone light in a building, an alley way, the silhouette of the flatiron building--all scenes without people.  Photographs accented with selected poems. Bought used, can't remember where. 

6.  Distant Shores: Photographs from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, Richard Olsenius (1990).    Evokes the spirit of Hiawatha's Gitchegumee and the people that work the two westernmost great lakes.  Bought used but can't remember where.   

7.  Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man, Jessica Bruder (2007).  Great topic of an absurdly ambitious and vaguely disturbing festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.  Pictures are the only way to tell this story.  Christmas gift from a cousin who knew I wanted to go.


8.  Roadside America: Architectural Relics from a Vanishing Past (2010).  Beautiful book of roadside eccentricities, giant-sized cartoons, and amusements.  Gift.


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