A wonderful portfolio of little monsters—or little angels, as you prefer.

READ REVIEW

ONE

SONS & DAUGHTERS

A noted photographer turns from his previous interest in abstract portraiture to immediate, evocative studies of infants in their splendid innocence.

Mapplethorpe, younger brother of Robert (and thus disguised under a pseudonym for much of his early career), writes that this project began in 1995, when he was commissioned to take a photograph of a girl who had just turned 1. “During the editorial process of selecting the image,” he writes, “I discovered something quite remarkable—the photograph wasn’t a baby picture at all, but rather a revealing portrait of a person who happened to have just turned one.” That Renaissance understanding of the baby as a miniature adult shines through these images, distilled from a body comprising 100-odd subjects. Mapplethorpe ponders how it is that images can reveal aspects of personality of “the formed person” who looks back at the viewer, themes picked up by the contributing writers. Andrew Solomon, for instance, notes, “the children in Edward Mapplethorpe’s photographs are fully realized people caught just before language upstages the light in their eyes, their pouting mouths, their brows raised in dismay at an alien world.” Not all express dismay: some express wonder, curiosity, and even joy. If some cry or look a little wary, others have beatific (and sometimes goofy) smiles. Francine Prose gets it just right: “At the tender age of one, they have already figured out how much or how little they want to reveal in the intense and complicated faces that look out at us.” Susan Orlean delivers a fine and funny piece about a not-so-successful effort at babysitting that evokes the same prospect of intensity: “To me, though, unfamiliar with the infant disposition, she seemed like a tiny human bomb, silently ticking, waiting to be set off by something invisible.” Ultimately, readers are left to admire Mapplethorpe’s telling, beautifully printed images in peace. A bonus: a poem by Patti Smith.

A wonderful portfolio of little monsters—or little angels, as you prefer.

Pub Date: May 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-57687-790-6

Page Count: 140

Publisher: powerHouse Books

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A dazzling visual homage to a music icon gone too soon.

MY NAME IS PRINCE

A Los Angeles–based photographer pays tribute to a legendary musician with anecdotes and previously unseen images collected from their 25-year collaboration.

St. Nicholas (co-author: Whitney: Tribute to an Icon, 2012, etc.) first met Prince in 1991 at a prearranged photo shoot. “The dance between photographer and subject carried us away into hours of inspired photographs…and the beginning of a friendship that would last a lifetime.” In this book, the author fondly remembers their many professional encounters in the 25 years that followed. Many would be portrait sessions but done on impulse, like those in a burned-out Los Angeles building in 1994 and on the Charles Bridge in Prague in 2007. Both times, the author and Prince came together through serendipity to create playfully expressive images that came to represent the singer’s “unorthodox ability to truly live life in the moment.” Other encounters took place while Prince was performing at Paisley Park, his Minneapolis studio, or at venues in LA, New York, Tokyo, and London. One in particular came about after the 1991 release of Prince’s Diamonds and Pearls album and led to the start of St. Nicholas’ career as a video director. Prince, who nurtured young artists throughout his career, pushed the author to “trust my instincts…expand myself creatively.” What is most striking about even the most intimate of these photographs—even those shot with Mayte Garcia, the fan-turned–backup dancer who became Prince’s wife in 1996—is the brilliantly theatrical quality of the images. As the author observes, the singer was never not the self-conscious artist: “Prince was Prince 24/7.” Nostalgic and reverential, this book—the second St. Nicholas produced with/for Prince—is a celebration of friendship and artistry. Prince fans are sure to appreciate the book, and those interested in art photography will also find the collection highly appealing.

A dazzling visual homage to a music icon gone too soon.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-293923-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more