All posts filed under: Book Reviews

Book Review: Small Town Inertia

Title: Small Town Inertia. Photographer: J A Mortram. Essays: Lewis Bush. Paul Mason. Poem:  Jamie Thrashivoulou Reference: ISBN 9781908457363 First published:  Hard back 2017 by Blue Coat Press, Liverpool Website: smalltowninertia.co.uk Size:310mm x 215mm x 20mm Jim Mortram, the master of the Long form of photo story, has released his first book. I’ve known Jim Mortram for a few years and all the while he’s been building up to producing this book; closely working with his community in and around his hometown in Norfolk. Jim’s output is reminiscent of others who have chosen to highlight this sector of our community. The disadvantaged and the disabled. He is following on* from others like: Bill Brandt, who in the 1930’s produced hauntingly beautiful images in the East End of London, the North East of England, and Yorkshire. Much of his work was published in the excellent Picture Post in the 1940’s. Nick Hedges photographs of the poor taken for ‘Shelter’ in areas of deprivation around the UK in the 1960’s and 70’s. About his work Hedges said… ‘Although these photographs …

Beuty in decay

Book Review: Beauty in Decay II

Title: Beauty in Decay II. Photographer: RomanyWG. Essays: Polly Chillery. Reference: ISBN 978-1-908211-10-1. First published:  2012 by Carpet Bombing Culture. Web site: www.carpetbombingculture.co.uk. Size:267mm x 267mm x 24mm square format. I admit to having esoteric taste in photography. For example, I have always liked images of old buildings in decay. There is something about faded grandeur, that evanescence, which haunts me. Perhaps it stems from my time spent in inner city Birmingham in the 60’s working to rebuild the city after the war years. Many buildings were demolished: domestic; commercial; and governmental. I was able to wander among them before demolition. In the quiet time, before they died. Or, perhaps it was my time spent as a building surveyor where it was my job to inspect old buildings. I have been inside of many fascinating structures. So, you can see why a book depicting images discovered whilst urban exploring might fascinate me. This book doesn’t disappoint. It has dozens of images, many filling the whole page, taken in many countries. The subject matter ranges from grand domestic to industrial. Unfortunately, …

Book review: On the Night Bus. Nick Turpin

Title: On the Night Bus. Photographer: Nick Turpin Reference: ISBN 978-1-910566-16-9 First published:  2016 by Hoxton Press. Web site: www.hoxtonminipress.com Size:160mm x 228 x 17mm portrait format Comprising: An introduction by Will Self followed by Photographers notes from Nick Turpin and then 49 colour plates I’ve followed Nick on Twitter for a while. During that time there have been glimpses of the ‘Night Bus’ work. So, when I saw it was to be turned into a book and I could pre-order a ‘collectors’ copy and by so doing get a free print… Well, the hook had been baited and I took it. I purchased the collectors edition which is beautifully bound and cased with  a small loose leaf print included. My version is signed, being a pre-ordered edition. The finished book more than lives up to the teasers on Twitter. Forty Nine colour plates of people travelling on night buses in London. The images are haunting with more than a little of Saul Leiter’s work  about them. Elegant use of colour and abstraction  produced with more than …

Book review: Humphrey Spender’s Humanist Landscapes

Title: Humphrey Spender’s Humanist Landscapes Author: Deborah Frizzell ISBN: 0-300-07334-8 Softcover: 70 pages of introduction plus 100 plates Images: 100 Publisher: Yale centre for British art Language: English Product Dimensions: 28 x 1 x 23 cm Landscape format. As a precursor to Spenders images Frizzell, the author, discusses where the images sit in the panoply of images of the time and of the era in which they were made, providing, as she does, social and historic reference for the works.  Some 70 excellent  pages are taken up with this explanation. To set the scene: Spenders images span the decade 1932 – 1942. He came from a a middle class family in fashionable Kensington. His father, Harold was a Journalist and his mother Violet Schuster was a painter and poet. His brother Stephen, later to become Sir Stephen Spender, became a poet and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work. Stephen Spender was close friends with many famous literary figures from the time i.e. WH Auden. Clearly the …

Book review: Street The Human Clay. Lee Friedlander

This excellent review by John Meehan kicks off a series  of posts by guest publishers. Hardcover: 224 pages Images: 209 duotones Publisher: Yale University Press (4 Oct. 2016) Language: English Product Dimensions: 28.7 x 2.5 x 24.9 cm Price paid: £40.50 (from Amazon, UK) _________________________________________________________________ Lee Friedlander’s Street The Human Clay is the third in a projected six book series entitled ‘The Human Clay’ published by Yale University Press started in 2015. Each title in the series gathers together images of people grouped thematically. So far we have seen a volume on Children and one of Portraits.

Book Review: Retrospective. Phil Cosker

Photographer: Phil Cosker Book title: Retrospective Size: 250mm X 210mm X 18mm (Landscape format) Images: 128 pictures each sized 210mm X 140mm Weight: 906g Dust cover?: No Boxed?: No Loose Print included?: No ISBN: 978-1-36-726937-8 Purchase price: £45.00. Described as a ‘retrospective’, Phil’s new book spans a 50 year period up to the present day. Beautifully observed pictures from a half-century of looking. The images in the book currently (Late 2016) form a series of exhibitions throughout Lincolnshire; some grouped together, like the ’Snaps’ Exhibition at the Sam Scorer gallery in Lincoln, and others on their own, printed large, very large even and exhibited in churchyards around the county. Phil’s work comprises both black and white and colour  images derived from film and digital cameras, though the landscape pictures were made with an  old half plate camera using glass plates, demonstrating  the detail you would expect from that medium. I visited the exhibition in Lincoln and have so far been to 3 churchyards to see the landscape images. The landscape images when rendered in the …

Once a year: Homer Sykes

Once a year: Homer Sykes

Photographer: Homer Sykes Book title: Once a year. Published: 2016 Size: 240mm X 295mm X 25mm (Portrait format) Weight: 1572g Pages: 160 pages of images – some double spread. Plus 42 pages of explanatory text on images. ISBN: 978-1-911306-03-0 Purchase price: £30.00 UK Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing Website: http://www.dewilewis.com A fascinating and insightful look at the peculiarities of the British in the 1970’s. Are we any different now? In this book, Homer travels the country documenting arcane events which, as the title suggests, only happen once a year. If you are interested in documenting the British this is a splendid book to purchase. The pages cover events from January to December spread over a few years in the 1970’s. The resulting images document the strangeness of the British, mainly English, and also reveal life as it was lived 40 years ago. The style is photojournalistic with a strong nod towards ‘Picture Post’. A lovely nostalgic book. Coincidentally I had covered the Haxey Hood  – the event on the first page – some 40 or so  years after Homer was there.You can …