Despite the sometimes puffed-up text, this is a necessary addition to any library of photography.

THE STREET PHILOSOPHY OF GARRY WINOGRAND

An illuminating portfolio of the work of photographer Garry Winogrand (1928-1984), who died more than three decades ago but is being rediscovered.

If nothing else, Winogrand deserves to be remembered for a near-iconic sports photograph that he took in Austin, Texas, in 1974, capturing all 22 players in a football game. He had long since given up the telephoto lens; in his commentary text, Dyer (White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World, 2016, etc.) notes that “he will lose interest in it so completely that he’ll give it away,” using the wide-angle almost exclusively. The effect is stunning. Influenced by Robert Frank, the Swiss-born American photographer of found scenes, Winogrand gave the impression of being an accidental, “street” photographer. Certainly, as this excellent selection of photographs shows, he captured plenty of odd moments: stoned-out dudes loom blearily over beauty queens, hippies and greasers brawl (“in the realm of aggro,” Dyer brightly notes, “sandals put one at a radical practical and psychological disadvantage”), people mill about on the streets, proving Dyer’s observation that Winogrand “was a great photographer of people walking.” Like all photographers, though, Winogrand was too obsessive-compulsive to rely entirely on accidents. Dyer scores good points here and there in guessing at the meaning behind Winogrand’s images. He wanted to ask, speaking of accident, why this and not that, why this minute instead of another? He was also a photographer of types: beauties, old ladies, pensive and well-dressed men, and sometimes people taking pictures of other people. The photographs speak for themselves—and good thing, for Dyer’s text too easily descends into posturing and empty philosophizing, and his comment on an African-American man wearing a leather jacket is about as lit-crit silly as they come: “There is a hint…of radicalized racial politics, even if this is only conveyed, on a sunny day, by the brother’s leather jacket, a vestimentary leftover from the heydays of the Panthers.”

Despite the sometimes puffed-up text, this is a necessary addition to any library of photography.

Pub Date: March 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4773-1033-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Univ. of Texas

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

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A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

HUMANS OF NEW YORK

STORIES

Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A fascinating, major work that will spark endless debates.

WARHOL

An epic cradle-to-grave biography of the king of pop art from Gopnik (co-author: Warhol Women, 2019), who served as chief art critic for the Washington Post and the art and design critic for Newsweek.

With a hoarder’s zeal, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) collected objects he liked until shopping bags filled entire rooms of his New York town house. Rising to equal that, Gopnik’s dictionary-sized biography has more than 7,000 endnotes in its e-book edition and drew on some 100,000 documents, including datebooks, tax returns, and letters to lovers and dealers. With the cooperation of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the author serves up fresh details about almost every aspect of Warhol’s life in an immensely enjoyable book that blends snappy writing with careful exegeses of the artist’s influences and techniques. Warhol exploded into view in his mid-40s with his pop art paintings of Campbell’s Soup cans and silkscreens of Elvis and Marilyn. However, fame didn’t banish lifelong anxieties heightened by an assassination attempt that left him so fearful he bought bulletproof eyeglasses. After the pop successes, Gopnik writes, Warhol’s life was shaped by a consuming desire “to climb back onto that cutting edge,” which led him to make experimental films, launch Interview magazine, and promote the Velvet Underground. At the same time, Warhol yearned “for fine, old-fashioned love and coupledom,” a desire thwarted by his shyness and his awkward stance toward his sexuality—“almost but never quite out,” as Gopnik puts it. Although insightful in its interpretations of Warhol’s art, this biography is sure to make waves with its easily challenged claims that Warhol revealed himself early on “as a true rival of all the greats who had come before” and that he and Picasso may now occupy “the top peak of Parnassus, beside Michelangelo and Rembrandt and their fellow geniuses.” Any controversy will certainly befit a lodestar of 20th-century art who believed that “you weren’t doing much of anything as an artist if you weren’t questioning the most fundamental tenets of what art is and what artists can do.”

A fascinating, major work that will spark endless debates.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229839-3

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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