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La Jetée

Chris Marker's legendary "ciné roman" ("film novel") La Jetée is considered one of the greatest and most influential experimental films of all time. This short film—a postapocalyptic story composed almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs—has been praised by cultural theorists and Netflix subscribers alike. In this illustrated study of La Jetée, Janet Harbord focuses in part on the film's treatment of time—its shifts from a pre-war past to a projected future a further future of the future (each with its own signature images and sound)—arguing that in this way it addresses the nature of consciousness and the simultaneity of time-frames that we inhabit. Harbord moves easily from a close reading of the film to discussions of broader cultural issues, lucidly piecing together the enigma that is La Jetée.

One Work series
Distributed for Afterall Books

From Alberti to Microsoft

As we spend more and more of our time staring at the screens of movies, televisions, computers, and handheld devices—"windows" full of moving images, texts, and icons—how the world is framed has become as important as what is in the frame. In The Virtual Window, Anne Friedberg examines the window as metaphor, as architectural component, and as an opening to the dematerialized reality we see on the screen.

In De pictura (1435), Leon Battista Alberti famously instructed painters to consider the frame of the painting as an open window. Taking Alberti's metaphor as her starting point, Friedberg tracks shifts in the perspectival paradigm as she gives us histories of the architectural window, developments in glass and transparency, and the emerging apparatuses of photography, cinema, television, and digital imaging. Single-point perspective—Alberti's metaphorical window—has long been challenged by modern painting, modern architecture, and moving-image technologies. And yet, notes Friedberg, for most of the twentieth century the dominant form of the moving image was a single image in a single frame. The fractured modernism exemplified by cubist painting, for example, remained largely confined to experimental, avant-garde work. On the computer screen, however, where multiple "windows" coexist and overlap, perspective may have met its end.

In this wide-ranging book, Friedberg considers such topics as the framed view of the camera obscura, Le Corbusier's mandates for the architectural window, Eisenstein's opinions on the shape of the movie screen, and the multiple images and nested windows commonly displayed on screens today. The Virtual Window proposes a new logic of visuality, framed and virtual: an architecture not only of space but of time.

Milk and Melancholy looks at milk through the lens of photography and from the angle of art. Specifically, it considers the milk splash in all its manifestations, representations, and variations, tracing the complex flow of the image in works ranging from Harold Edgerton's milk drop coronet to Jeff Wall's exploding milk carton. In Milk and Melancholy, Kenneth Hayes considers milk as corporate advertising's mustache of health; as the antiwine; as a complex mixture of fat, protein, corpuscles, lactose, chyle, and plasma that lacks darkness but lacks also the morally pure transparency of crystal; and as the luminous middle term between mercury’s glare and water's transparency. He offers the first-ever history of the "knowledge of splashes," a history that brings together Goethe’s theory of optics, the invention of the stroboscope, and the milk paint dripped by Jackson Pollock in the 1940s. Taking Edgerton's famous photograph as a starting point, Hayes tracks its influence in the infinite variety of representations of milk in the work of more than twenty artists including Pollock, Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, Bruce Nauman, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler, Mike Kelley, and William Wegman. More than 100 images, most of them in color and all of them exquisitely reproduced, illustrate Hayes's text. With this book, a splash in its own right, we will never see milk as a mere grocery item again.

Milk and Melancholy is the first book from Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, publisher of the award-winning magazine Prefix Photo.

Artists: David Askevold, John Baldessari, Iain Baxter, Braco Dimitrijevic, Harold Edgerton, General Idea, Gilbert and George, Jack Goldstein, Mike Kelley, Barbara Kruger, David Lamelas, Bruce Nauman, Adrian Piper, Sigmar Polke, Jackson Pollock, Richard Prince, Martha Rosler, Ed Ruscha, Andres Serrano, Jeff Wall, William Wegman, A. M. Worthington.

Copublished with Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Inc.

The Wildlife and Landscapes of Costa Rica

The small Central American country of Costa Rica—less than one-eighth the size of California—boasts the highest density of plant and animal species in the world. Its wild and rugged landscapes include dense rainforests where jaguars roam, a volcano that spews rivers of molten lava, and beaches as unspoiled as they were when Christopher Columbus first anchored his ships off the Caribbean coast in 1502. Costa Rica's rich biodiversity is the result of a hugely varied topography that creates a wide range of natural habitats, and of the presence of animals and plants native to both North and South America. In Wild Costa Rica, photographer Adrian Hepworth explores the natural riches of Costa Rica, providing engaging reports from the field and more than 200 stunning color photographs.

We learn about Costa Rica's rainforest, cloudforest, and paramo (high, treeless plain); the abundance of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects these habitats support; and the country's network of protected areas—a system of parks, reserves, and refuges that makes up over twenty percent of Costa Rica's land. These areas—including such flagship wildlife-watching locations as Tortuguero and Corcovado—attract more than a million visitors every year. The money generated by responsible eco-tourism is central to the survival of Costa Rica's wild places.

Hepworth's photographs show us breathtaking vistas introduce us to distinctive native wildlife, including the scarlet macaw, the resplendent quetzal, the three-toed sloth, and spider and howler monkeys. Wild Costa Rica gives us a fascinating picture of the most biologically diverse country in the world.

ciné-roman

"This book version of La Jetée is, to my mind, astonishingly beautiful. It brings a total freshness to the work and a new way to use photos to deal with dramatic events. Not a film's book, but a book in its own right—the real ciné-roman announced in the film's credits."
Chris Marker

La Jetée, the legendary science fiction film about time and memory after a nuclear apocalypse, was released in 1964 and is considered by many critics to be among the greatest experimental films ever made. (It provided the basis for Terry Gilliam's 1995 film 12 Monkeys.) Chris Marker, who is the undisputed master of the film essay, composed this postapocalyptic story almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs. The story concerns an experiment in recovering and changing the past through the action of memory, yet the film can be read as a poem dominated by a single moving image, which in its context becomes one of the supreme moments in the history of film.

This Zone Books edition reproduces the film's original images along with the script in both English and French.

Scenes from Alfred Stieglitz's New York Secession

In An American Lens, Jay Bochner looks at a series of milestones in the development of the American avant-garde that capture a pivotal period in artistic consciousness. He focuses on the multiple roles of Alfred Stieglitz—as influential gallery owner, photographer, and impresario of the emerging art scene—at a series of significant moments in his career. These close-ups offer a more intense and expanded understanding of the subject than the familiar long view.

Bochner uses these scenes to recreate for today's readers the birth of modernism in America—what it was like to be an audience for the art of the early avant-garde. Moving from frame to frame, he shows us, for example, a single photograph by Stieglitz of a snowy night in 1893 and a short description by Stephen Crane of just such a snowfall; the preparation, the reception, and the aftermath of the famous Armory Show of modern art in 1913; Gertrude Stein's portraits in prose; New York at the dawn of Dada, with Paul Strand, Francis Picabia, and others; and the intersecting paths of Mina Loy, William Carlos Williams, and Marcel Duchamp in 1917. Bochner also examines Stieglitz's three great photographic series: his photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe, of clouds, and of skyscrapers. These sections of the book include many Stieglitz photos, including some rarely seen portraits of O'Keeffe.

Stieglitz as impresario and artist achieved an almost mythical status, which some recent critics have worked to deflate—casting him, for example, as Svengali to Georgia O'Keeffe's spellbound Trilby. Engaging in neither idolatry nor demolition, Bochner looks instead for the truth about the man and the myth. The scenes from American art in An American Lens create a new version of Stieglitz's biography, allowing us to reread his life and the life of his times by focusing intently on what is visible and not so visible in the art he left behind.

Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

This abundantly illustrated look at orangutan life tells the story of one of the most fascinating members of the great ape family. In Orangutans, conservation biologist Junaidi Payne presents an informative and compelling description of the lives of orangutans, from their habitat and behavior to the complex intricacies of orangutan society, with discussions of such topics as the differences between wild and captive creatures and characteristics of age and sex. He provides information on orangutan conservation and rehabilitation as well, discussing threats to orangutan welfare and strategies for safeguarding orangutans in the future. Extraordinary color photographs by award-winning photographer Cede Prudente reveal little-seen aspects of orangutan life in the rainforest and showcase the breathtaking landscapes of Borneo and Sumatra. Orangutans also includes a map of orangutan distribution and information on where to see orangutans in the wild.

Orangutan tours attract thousands of visitors each year. This stunning book offers a souvenir or a preview. Animal lovers, natural history students, fans of wildlife photography, and those interested in ecology and conservation will also find a place for Orangutans on their bookshelves or coffee tables.

Today's dominant fast-food franchises spend millions to persuade us that they do it all for us, that we can have it our way. White Tower, the pioneering hamburger chain founded in 1926, never felt the need for this kind of advertising; it depended on its instantly recognizable building to say it all. Those gleaming white ("clean"), well-lighted ("always open"), streamlined ("fast and efficient"), human-scaled ("friendly") structures were three-dimensional billboards for their franchise, capped by an actual white tower often redundantly labeled, in bold graphics, "White Tower." This was branding before the age of branding.

The photographs in this classic book not only trace the evolution of a restaurant chain, they record an iconography of a part of the American built environment that no longer exists. In an approach very much in the spirit of Learning from Las Vegas, by Venturi, Scott Brown, and Izenour, architects Paul Hirshorn and Steven Izenour have selected photographs taken in a variety of styles—from the stark and deadpan to family album-like snapshots. In an affectionately written introductory essay, Hirshorn and Izenour describe the identifiable and idiosyncratic commercial architectural style of the 1930s and 1940s and document the development of the White Tower buildings and their stylistic variations. Their conversations with former White Tower employees—including Charles Johnson, White Tower's architect for over forty years—are the source of many telling quotations and entertaining captions that set their analysis of the buildings within a broader story of corporate culture, mass marketing, and the rise of franchising in the twentieth century.

The photographs in Zoe Leonard’s Analogue trace the “layered, frayed, and quirky” beauty of a fading way of life. Zoe Leonard documents the vanishing face and texture of twentieth century urban life, as seen in the shop windows of mom-and-pop stores. Lacking the glamour of the shopping mall and the digitally manipulated perfection of mail order catalogs, these fading objects tenaciously hold on to their disappearing place on city streets. Recognizing that digital technology has transformed traditional photography just as chain stores and multinational corporations have changed the face of urban life, Leonard attempts to preserve the photographic realm of the analogic--the photograph’s distinct ability to record physical data into a corresponding image. Analogue is a testament both to vanishing city storefronts and to the endangered status of photography itself. Leonard also documents a twenty-first century phenomenon, the globalized rag trade. Her photographs follow a shipment of discarded clothing from a clearing station in her native Brooklyn to used clothing markets in Kampala--showing us, in the trajectory of one commodity, the economic and social forces that link us globally. Analogue accompanies a major exhibition of the same name at the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University. It includes 96 color images from the exhibition and a text compiled by the artist of quotations from diverse sources.
 
Zoe Leonard’s work has been featured in Documenta IX, the Whitney Biennial, and in shows at Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She was the 2004 recipient of the Wexner Center Residency Award in visual arts at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University. Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center from 2002 to January 2007, organized the Analogue exhibition.

Any new film and any new book by French filmmaker Chris Marker is an event. Marker gave film lovers one of their most memorable experiences with La Jetée (1962)—a time-travel montage set after a nuclear war that inspired Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (1995). His still camerawork is not as well known, but Marker has been taking photographs as long as he has been making films. Staring Back presents 200 black-and-white photographs from Marker's personal archives, taken from 1952 to 2006. Some of the photographs are related to his classic films (which include Le Jetée, Sans Soleil, ¡Cuba Si!, and The Case of the Grinning Cat), others are portraits of famous faces (Simone Signoret, Akira Kurosawa), but most are pictures of people Marker has encountered as he has traveled the world (an extra who appeared in Kurosawa's Ran, a woman seen on a street in Siberia). The central section of the book contains a series of photographs documenting political protests Marker has witnessed, including the march on the Pentagon in 1967, the events of May 1968 in Paris, and the tumultuous 2006 demonstrations protesting the French government's proposed employment policies.

The photographs are accompanied by several unpublished texts by Marker, including the English language text of The Case of the Grinning Cat and Marker's annotations for some of the photos. The book—which appears in conjunction with an exhibition at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University—also includes essays by Wexner Center curator Bill Horrigan and art historian Molly Nesbit.

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