Monday, November 16, 2009

Monhegan Library. Monhegan Island. August 2009. © Allison V. Smith
Arts Magnet High School. Dallas, Texas. January 2006. © Allison V. Smith
Marathon High School. Marathon, Texas . March 2007. © Allison V. Smith

D Magazine recently asked me "What are You Reading?" It was only fair that I could answer in photo books as I am pretty much a nut for my photo book collection. In 2007, I blogged my A List of photo books.

Here are a few of my faves from 2009.

Looking in: Robert Frank’s The Americans: Like any good photographer, I am a big fan of Robert Frank’s The Americans. I have two editions of the 50-year old classic and recently purchased Looking In which documents the book in every way possible. The most breathtaking part of the book is the countless number of Frank’s contact sheets, printed in full with Frank’s own editing marks. Basically, I could stare at those pages for hours. It’s fascinating to see how a real master works.
Asakusa Portrait
s by Hiroh Kikai: Japanese photographer Hiroh Kikai’s black-and-white street portraits from the Asakusa quarter of Tokyo are as haunting and beautiful as Diane Arbus and simple and striking as Avedon’s American West. Kikai’s portraits span over 30 years and each portrait is more intriguing than the last. I feel very lucky to have a personalized signed copy. (thanks Bonnie&Daniel)
by Mike Slack: Polaroid announced last year that they would no longer be producing their famous instant film. This will be Slack’s final book of Polaroids. Slack finds beauty in the overly offbeat and obviously overlooked. I recommend his past two books OK OK OK and Scorpio for the full Slack collection (decorators note: together they look sharp on the bookshelf!)
New Mexico
by Lee Friedlander: Friedlander’s latest book of scenes from New Mexico is exquistly printed by Radius Books. The large format black-and-white book is filled with Friedlander’s quirky view of life. Most appear to be shot out of his driver’s side window, way cool.


Patrick Dove said...

Ms. Smith, I love following your blog. I met you many years ago when you were still a shooter at the Morning News. My wife actually did a ride along with you while we were Photo J students at North Texas. I noticed that you publish personal photo books and hope its not to forward of me to ask what publisher you use. My wife and I would like to start producing family photo albums.

avs said...

Thanks for your note. All of my zines have been printed by different printers. #4 is being printed my
I like their quality and service!
Best to you! Tell your wife hi. I hope she enjoyed the ride along!

Twisty said...

I can vividly smell my elementary school library when I see these pic. Fantastic.

Jason said...

Oh, Allison, the librarian in me loves this post and the photos as well! Thanks for sharing your favorite photo books of the year - I'll have to check them out