The infamous fur trapper scene from Deadman, with Iggy Pop and Billy Bob Thornton.
A friend alerted me to this fascinating interview with Rudy Wurlitzer in Arthur Magazine where Wurlitzer and director Alex Cox reveal that Jim Jarmusch took many of the ideas for his 1995 film Deadman from a Wurlitzer script. The rest of the interview is brilliant and includes a wide range of topics such as writing the script for Two-Lane Blacktop, working with Robert Frank and Monte Hellman, and Rudy Wurlizter’s new book The Drop Edge of Yonder, which is now on the top of my reading list.
I was in Los Angeles over the 4th of July weekend, and made a trip to the Getty Museum to see the photography exhibits including:
Bernd and Hilla Becher – framework houses are subtle and cool. I wish the prints were bigger, but it’s lovely to see these in person.
August Sander – a formidable collection of Sander portraits, extensive and wonderful as long as you skip the trite written material and just focus on the images. A must see if you’re interested in portrait photography.
Ten Years in Focus – connecting painting to photography, this small exhibit was quite good, and contains a rare painting by Walker Evans, and the original 6 by 9 foot Hockney image above that completely blew me away. I cannot remember the last time I was so moved by a work of art. Pearblossom has been in storage for almost 10 years, and is only on display for another month. Here’s a video of Hockney. Photographers call it a painting. Painters call it a photograph. That’s worth paying attention to.
Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI)
After the Getty we headed over to CLUI in Culver City to see the latest exhibit on trash. Extra points for the banana peel on a pedestal. CLUI’s small but focused bookstore selection is always a treat, and has more than what’s listed in their online store. I picked up Jan Staller’s excellent book On Planet Earth, a reissue of John C. Van Dyke’s often referred to 1898 book The Desert: Further Studies in Natural Appearances, and a brilliant new book from the Walker Art Center, Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes that is essential reading for anyone working in the post new-topographics continuum.
I’ve been thinking about putting together a self published night photography book to use as a portfolio and to sell in conjunction with a print offer. One important question that I’ve struggled with is how many images are ideal for a fine art photography book? 20 to 30 prints seems right for a portfolio, and 50-60 images sounded like a good number for a book.
To stimulate some more thinking on the matter, I pulled 10 great photography books from the shelf, and took some notes. I was also interested in the layout, written material, and physical dimensions. But the main purpose was to pick 10 photo books I really dig, and see how many images are included:
Open Range and Parking Lots / Virgil Hancock III. About 53 photos. Author preface. Gregory McNamee essay interspersed with images. 8.5×10.5″
Suburbia / Bill Owens. About 130 photos. Most on facing pages. 1 page intro only. 10.25″ square
Lost America / Troy Paiva. About 125 photos. Most on facing pages. Stan Ridgway forward, author essays interspersed in chapters. 9″ square
Slide Show / Helen Levitt. About 109 photos. Most on facing pages. No captions. Short 1 page forward by John Szarkowski. 9.5×9.0″
The Americans / Robert Frank. About 86 photos. Intro by Jack Kerouac. Captions at end. 9.5×8.5″
Bravo 20 / Richard Misrach. About 35 photos. First 50 pages are the story written by Myriam Weisang Misrach. Mix of single and facing pages. 9×12″
Occupied Territory / Lynne Cohen. About 75 photos. Mostly facing pages. Forward and short essay, and then images. 9×11.5″
American Prospects / Joel Sternfeld. About 53 photos. Short essays at beginning and end. 10×12″
My bookshelves are overflowing so I’m having a sale — some books are priced quite attractively, but here’s the catch — I don’t want to sell individual books — packing and shipping 20 separate orders is a hassle — so: Orders shipped by mail must contain 3 or more books.
If you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, I will entertain the idea of hauling the books down to the Albatross Pub in Berkeley, where you can peruse them and pay in beer. Sound dangerous?
Shipping will be at actual cost. You can pay via Paypal, money order, or beer. You can post a comment, or send me an email. I reserve the right to sell to whomever offers a friendly, no nonsense transaction. Whatever doesn’t sell by 4/12 will be traded in at my local bookshop on 4/13. Here’s the list:
Art — All 4 books for $40, or a 750ml bottle of Laphroaig 10 year
Geoffrey Biddle — Alphabet City — minor edge wear but clean pages and tight binding — out of print — $20 ($45 and up on Amazon)
Camilo Jose Vergara — Subway Memories — light thumb sized mark on front cover and very minor edge wear, otherwise excellent — $5