Gordon (In the Shadow of the Cape, 2004) documents century-old woolsheds of New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay in this photography book.
This is an earnest work for readers interested in the particular beauty of a cultivated landscape. The area on the eastern coast of the North Island of New Zealand is known today for its wine, food, and pleasant weather, but in the previous century, the wealth of Hawkes Bay was built on sheep’s wool. Gordon offers an in-depth look at the physical monuments of that era: the farms where flocks were raised and especially the woolsheds where fleece was stored. Each of the sheds pictured here is at least 100 years old. It’s primarily for their charm and bygone craftsmanship that Gordon sought them out and included them in this work, and he celebrates their architecture and aesthetics more than their function. He photographed the sheds over the course of a journey of thousands of miles, and in an introduction, he describes the trek as doing “what I love best, noseying around a part of the world which goes mostly un-noticed these days, but which, as far as I am concerned, is one of the most beautiful places in the world.” In simple, informative prose, Gordon introduces each property, giving a bit of commentary on its owners and history. The choice of material may seem dry, even by the standards of a coffee-table photography book, but these curious, barnlike sheds will grow on readers as they observe page after page of them. There’s something about the way they sit, weathered and demure against the fairy-tale New Zealand landscape—and the guileless way that Gordon shoots them—that’s inherently calming. By the end, even readers who’ve never thought about the New Zealand wool industry before will consider themselves not only woolshed fans, but connoisseurs.
An idiosyncratic but lovely collection of shed photographs.
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)
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").