Exposure, Alberta’s Photography Festival celebrates its 15th year this February, with twenty events and over thirty exhibitions of photography. With so many opportunities to look at great photographs, John Veldhoen, book curator at The Camera Store, outlines five things to keep in mind.
When I have written a list of the notable books that have come to us at The Camera Store, some part of me is always tempted to make a splenetic declaration, a remonstrance against simplifying, and paring down, and uncomplicating what to me is nuanced beyond measure. So, no list form, more than ten books, internet unfriendly, but, if you come by and see me, I promise to smile broadly, and share whatever I know with you, and help you find the perfect book for Christmas, or for whatever other reason you may be looking for a book of photographs.
Three new books have arrived in a short duration, and I thought I would mention them before putting together a list of the best books of 2018 for next month. Terribly excited to have all three of them here.
A great photography teacher once told me that they viewed photography as essentially a mental-health exercise, perhaps akin to meditation. Or, to put it like another photographer has famously said, “photography just gets us out of the house.” Yet, recently, I had a discussion with a street photographer who lamented how the discourse concerning photographs has made it seem more and more like photographs are viewed like illustrations to concepts. I had to agree. But why should photographs as illustrations of concepts be a problem after all? Should I judge the soundness of a body of work containing a 24-page bibliography, appended with 85 abject, muddy-looking plates? Why do I feel the need to judge?
A once standard book on visual anthropology, eponymously titled “Visual Anthropology”, by John and Malcolm Collier, is a primer on using photography as a method of research, and seems relevant to me to disciplines well-beyond ethnography and anthropology, or what was called in my youth “social studies”.