Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Reading




When people ask me what they need to do to understand the world of fine art photography, I tell them: go to galleries, preview auctions, and read the photography criticism in The New York Times. The Times suggestion was in large part because of the timely, eloquent, and provocative writing of Philip Gefter, the picture editor and photography writer for the paper’s Arts & Leisure section. Gefter has now left the paper although he continues to contribute as a freelance and you’ll now see his byline in other publications. But the good news is that Aperture have gathered 39 of his pieces in one volume that no-one interested in photography should be without.

As you can see from the above illustration, it has a great cover featuring Ryan McGinley’s “Dakota Hair” from 2004. From there, much like the picture, it’s an exhilarating and breezy journey though modern photography. Stephen Shore is “Walker Evans – stoned”! On Richard Misrach “Don’t let the beauty of Richard Misrach fool you. … What lies beneath the surface is more to the point.” And from an essay on Vince Aletti’s magazine collection, “One Saturday afternoon, I accompanied Vince on his rounds and, after nine galleries, with flagging energy I begged off. But Vince was not finished for the day. He is dogged apparently insatiable in his quest to know what’s out there, to see what artists are doing. I have come to understand that his commitment to looking at art stems from the same impulse to collect: know thy culture, know thyself.”

Now that's summer reading!

P.S.
Buy here and you'll not only get it at a good price, you'll help support Aperture, one of the best not-for-profit photography organizations.

12 comments:

kompoStella said...

thanks for the tip!

Hapi said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Alice Olive said...

Wonderful - thanks for the link!

Paul Pincus said...

thank you for the heads up, james. i must pick up a copy. stoned contemplation ... genius!

ps have you seen the gutschow show at sonnabend? my partner dropped by to see it and was blown away. i ask because you kind of discovered her!

indigo16 said...

The books looks a good read but I am not sure if it will be available in Britain, I too have that dogged determination to gallery visiting. I am addicted, and although I doubt I will ever afford much of what I love, just looking is pleasure enough.
I too thought of you yesterday when I visited the new Susan Derges exhibition currently on at Purdy Hicks in London, I noticed in her biography that she had a show with you in 1999!

Anonymous said...

thanks. this is nourushing information. love your site, read it everyday...almost.

Alexandra

Anonymous said...

You're right- great cover! Really catches your eye.

PS LOVE your blog! I visit it ALL the time! informative and inspiring :)

ula said...

I love the Dakota Hair picture, it truly conveys the feeling of summer.
Have to find out whether they ship outside US...thanks for the tip!

Sara said...

Thank you so much for posting this post. I have ben neglecting my summer reading. It reminded me taht I need to start looking for books to read. This one might be somewhat pricy, but i'll be coming by your blog for my daily dose of photography summer reading. Thank a millon!

Verne B said...

Yea, that's one of my favorite books, I always re-read and absorb every photo while I'm at the bookstore. I have yet to buy it. But I know it's worth it, it is on my next-to-buy list. I come to your blog on the regular, it's a great refreshing blast of timeless inspiration for me as a young and budding photographer. Oh, and if you would, please visit my blog and check out my stuff. I would love any opinion from you on my work. -Verne

Cortlandt said...

thanks for the referral...looks like a beautiful book and a good cause...
I wouldn't even mind paying the few cents extra for the book (vs Amazon) because it would support Aperture... but 9 bucks just to ship it. Ouch!

J. Wesley Brown said...

You want a signed copy? Seeing him speak here on Monday...