Reading Photography

7 Mar

I got this big ol’ photography book, Women, for my birthday in December.

IMG_2958I’ve always enjoyed Annie Leibovitz’s photos, walking through the grocery store, I would look at all the stars on the cover of Vanity Fair, staggered and staged in those decadent spreads. The subject of these collected photographs is, well, women, with an essay by Susan Sontag. Women was published in 1999 and has a lot of stars, with photographs of some regular folk, as well. I am guessing it’s a selection of photos from Leibovitz’s magazine work, along with some personal work. The sixth image you see in this book is of a random woman at a public restroom; I have a feeling no one commissioned her portrait. There are a few other photos, of two sisters, and their children, at a gas station, that I assume are also happenstance. I would love to see more happenstance portraits by Leibovitz, but the fact is that she photographs stars, athletes, musicians, performers, writers, and politicians for a living, you know, people of interest, so that’s what is mostly featured in this selection. Leibovitz’s subjects always have a dignified austerity to them, a composure, and a grandiosity of figure. I wonder if it is in their professional nature, I mean, stars take classes on how to pose for pictures, right? But then you see this austerity and grandiosity in non-assuming portraits too, like this one

Karen Fedrau, Farmer, Fedrau Famil Farm, Newcastle, California

Karen Fedrau, Farmer, Fedrau Famil Farm, Newcastle, California

I am sure Karen never took a class on how to pose for a photograph. It must be Annie Leibovitz then. I want her to take my portrait. How would I look?

I love this “portrait” she did of Cindy Sherman. So fitting for an artist who works in disguise. Guess which one is Sherman…Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 2.01.32 PM

Another photography read I made recently was the Aperture 211 Summer 2013 edition. It’s such a pretty publication, all big, and smooth, and chock full of interesting photo news. If you’ve never gotten your hands on one, you should. I discovered Robert Cumming, an unknown artist dude from the seventies who happens to have taken some ingenious and fantastic images. Here are two you might like:

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Watermelon/Bread, 1970, Robert Cumming

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Institutional Faucet, 1971, Robert Cumming

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