Labry’s stunning monochromatic images of Joan of Arc statuary are a love letter to the Maid of Orleans.
A professional photographer for over 30 years, Labry chose equestrian and other statues of Joan of Arc, the martyred saint and heroine of France, as the subject of his first book. The statues, all but two of which are in France, feature considerable texture, which the photographer captures beautifully in rich black and white. There is a timeless, sensitive quality about the images, many of which are close-ups of one detail—clasped hands, a bound torso, the Maid’s face lifted to the heavens. A few too many tight shots of horse heads appear, however, and the one of the stallion draped in Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans seems out of place. But the depth and dimension of all the photographs are notable; the contrast is strong but not excessive. An artist’s statement explaining the photographer’s fascination with Joan, as well as an intro to the life and times of the medieval peasant girl–turned–victorious army leader, is provided. Although the photos easily could stand on their own, Labry pairs them with quotes that are attributed to Joan of Arc, directly refer to her, or could describe achievements and mindsets credited to her. For example, a photo of a sculpture of Joan prepared for battle is coupled with Maya Angelou’s quote, “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.” The selected font for the quotations, Herculanum, an all-capital typeface that mimics Roman letters written in clay, however, is not reader friendly. Also, the index could be more helpful for readers; the general location of each statue photographed is given, but additional beneficial information isn’t supplied in the index or anywhere else in the book. For example, one reference to a statue reads, “Town Square, Chinon, France,” but a more helpful entry would say the piece was by Julies Roulleau (1855-1895) and is in the Place Jeanne d’Arc in Chinon.
Fabulous fodder for Joan of Arc fans, Francophiles, and lovers of fine photography.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)