Andrew Trembley (bovil) wrote,
Andrew Trembley

More photo books

So I'm looking for photo books, and somehow I shook a bunch of cobwebs free in the ol' brain, because I remembered that I work just two buildings down from King Library. Nothing wrong with taking a little time to check what's in the collection.

In the "regular" (City Library) collection, there's pretty much crap. The acquisitions department hasn't picked up much at all in the last few years. What is there is, well, odd. There are a ton of books on wildlife photography, probably more than on any other photographic subject.

In the "research" (SJSU) collection, there's gold. Of course, the art department submits acquisition requests (just like every other department) every year.

I've been looking for portraiture and posing books. There were about 3 portraiture books in the city collection that weren't about kids. There were quite a few more in the university collection, including William Mortensen's 1937 The Model: a book on the problems of posing.

If you don't know who Mortensen was (I didn't), he was the major Hollywood portrait photographer in the 30's and 40's. A big proponent of technical manipulation of photographs, he shot and printed the stars in the way they wanted to be shot: glamorous and dramatic. Mortensen's career went down the toilet in the 1950's when his style of photography was deemed to be too commercial and manipulated to be art.

He shot a lot of people, and made them look very good. We'll see how well he actually explains it, though.

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