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2016 Best Books: Anne Wilkes Tucker

Books Anne Wilkes Tucker: 2016 Best Books Anne Wilkes Tucker Selects Libyan Sugar, Anthony Hernandez, and Memories of the Salt... as the Best Books of 2016
Anne Wilkes Tucker
Anne Wilkes Tucker is the curator emerita of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, having, in 1976, become founding curator of the photography department for which she acquired 35,000 photographs made on all seven continents. She curated or co-curated over 40 exhibitions, most with accompanying catalogues, including surveys on the Czech Avant-garde, the history of Japanese photography, and the history of war photography.  She has also contributed articles to over 150 magazines, books and other catalogues and has lectured throughout the North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Her honors, fellowships, and awards include being selected as “American’s Best Curator” by Time Magazine in 2001 in an issue devoted to America’s Best.

Libyan SugarBy Michael Christopher Brown
Twin Palms Publishers, 2016.
Libyan Sugar
Photographs by Michael Christopher Brown
There are many great books in which conflict photographers write much later about their experiences covering battles, accompanied by the photographs they made at the time.  By splicing his text with emails sent to and from his family during his coverage of Libya, Michael Christopher Brown conveys his feelings and non-visual perceptions as well as what he framed in his camera. Dad: “Situation seems dire.”  “Dad: Firing on protesters in Tripoli.” “Dad: Obama tells Q[addafi] to leave.” “Dad: Q says fight to the death.” Later Brown does photograph Qaddafi’s battered body.  Normally readers would be left to imagine what his family feels reading these texts, but Brown makes his experiences more vivid by including the contrasting normalcy of their daily lives --- flowers in their Northwestern garden being a particularly jarring image when contrasted to what he sees that day.

Brown had not gone to Libya to photograph war, but to cover an uprising.  Shortly after arriving he dropped his single lens reflex. So, he covered the rapidly escalating events with his cell phone. His coverage of that first trip ended on April 20, 2011 when a mortar explosion in Misratah wounded Brown with shrapnel to the chest, shoulder and arm (also photographed), severely injured photographer Guy Martin and killed photographers Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington.” Even during his recovery, he knew he wanted to return, which he did, continuing to work through words and images to create a rich document not only of the Libyan conflict but of the photographer and his family’s responses to what he observes and records. This is an important addition to the visual literature of war.

Selected as Book of the Week by Forrest Soper
Purchase Book Here

Anthony Hernandez
By Anthony HernandezD.A.P./SFMOMA, 2016.
Anthony Hernandez
Photographs by Anthony Hernandez
First response to this book, “It’s about time.”   So kudos to Erin O’Toole at SFMOMA for recognizing 50 years of work, honed and periodically redirected. Hernandez was at times fiercely intent on making viewers see what they often wanted to avoid but he employed restraint and often elegance. His work ethic and his pictures served to mentor generations of Los Angeles photographers.  The responses from Tony’s peers to his show and catalogue are touching and notable. They are “moved and scared” by “Landscapes for the Homeless,” affected by the picture's power, and admiring of his evocative and inventive use of his craft. Ms. O’Toole speaks of recognizing his unidealized Los Angeles. Hernandez can be as effectively succinct with words as he can with visual language.  It’s a book to savor.

Read the review by Adam Bell on photo-eye Blog
Purchase Book Here

One Picture Book #95: Memories of the Salt...
By Ed TempletonNazraeli, 2016.
One Picture Book #95: Memories of the Salt...
Photographs by Ed Templeton
I love surprises in the mail, such as the arrival of Ed Templeton’s new “one picture book” from Nazraeli. In keeping with the set format of that particular book series, the only interior text is the colophon on the last page.  The seven line text on the cover primed my senses for the photographs within. Yet I kept re-reading it, delighting in the notion of “stories impossible to understand in the time we’ve been allotted.” Indeed, I can make up a narrative for the sleeping man oblivious to the pigeons perched on his body, but those are inventions, not understanding. I laughed over the kid wearing octopus headgear, envied those with toes curled in wet sand, and could only wonder at what snapped a young boy’s expression into quizzical attention while seated in a moving lift chair.  Seven lines of text, 17 photographs, sheer pleasure.

Purchase Book Here

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