Thursday, February 12, 2009

January Reading: I

Tracking the books I read is, thus far, an enjoyable and not-too-onerous exercise. Looking back at January, the key themes for the month were clearly photography and food. To help me remember a year's worth of words, I'm going to post brief commentary on the books as regularly as possible. The right-hand column reflects a running list of what I've read.

I started the year reading Annie Liebovitz's At Work. Liebovitz's book essentially provides the words behind her photographs: how she developed the ideas for the photos and made the pictures, strung together like beads on the necklace of time. When I picked up the book, I expected to read more of her personal journey; what I found, but was not disappointed by, was a much stronger focus on the work. Her tone is fairly cool and dispassionate but provides great texture to her amazing photographs.

Liebovitz begins with the story of climbing Mount Fuji with her first camera, reaching the summit at dawn and realizing she only has a couple of shots left on her roll of film. Her planning gets better from there. Her experiences with the Rolling Stones, of Nixon leaving the White House, photographing Queeen Elizabeth, and making the last picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono together provide the jaw-dropping, star-power facets of the book. Equally interesting are the stories of her photographing her parents, Susan Sontag, her children and what those pictures mean to her. Liebovitz's book is a well-crafted view into how a photographer developed her vision and the passion that continues to motivate her.

No comments: