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Archive for the 'books' Category

Erotic Flashback (Book Review)

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Erotic Flashback

My favourite bookshop in Hobart is Cracked and Spineless located in Collins Street. Mostly because they have great photography (and erotic photography) books for sale. My partner picked up a copy of Erotic Flashback by Michael Berkowitz and Adrienne E. Gusoff. The erotic photography of Berkowitz derives influence from a book of 1800s nudes titled Early Erotic Photography published by Taschen. This was the book that brought him around from being a painter, sculptor and performance artist focused on religious themes into the direction of shooting erotic nudes in his Manhattan studio on a 4×5 camera. He uses a standard portrait lens, Kodak Tri-X 400 film and a combination of natural and augmented lighting to recreate that 1800s French erotic aesthetic.

Michael Berkowitz took his first lessons in photography from Alfred Eisenstadt. But it wasn’t until reading the Taschen book he felt compelled to become a serious photographer. And this is where I admire his technical balls. He writes:

I was so taken by the images that I purchased a large format camera, built a set in my studio, hired a model and took some photos. I was so pleased with the results, and the reaction of others to the images was so swift and strongly positive, I became hooked on photography. It felt as if I was doing exactly what I was meant to do. I have never looked back. Michael Berkowitz

This 228 page hard cover measures a hardy 1.5 x 6 x 8.2 inches and fits comfortably in the hand. The card is high quality and the 4×5 images are reproduced at the size of the original negative in sepia. It’s also worth noting this is a true erotica book in the sense that some fingers may or may not on various occasions wander into the various vaginas being exposed. This isn’t a lingerie model photoshoot. These are real women between 18 and 50 years of age from real life without fake boobs or manufactured enhancement. All but a few approached the photographer and requested their images to be created.

We picked this copy up as either new, or possibly second hand in mint condition, from Cracked and Spineless for AUD$25. Another example that shows we don’t need to spend a veritable fortune bringing together a worthy photography book collection.

Touch Me (Book Review)

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Touch Me by Graham S Burstow

My partner picked up a second hand copy of Touch Me by Graham S Burstow for $2.25 at a local opportunity shop. It’s the soft cover, but in close to perfect condition. This 172 page book (23cm x 29cm) was published by Top Shelf Publications, Queensland in 1998 and covers 30 years of Graham Burstow’s black and white photography – street photography, social documentary and portraits. The vast majority of the work was created in the Toowoomba locale with a few pictures towards the end from Kenya and Zanzibar.

If you look at the author’s webpage for Touch Me there is a small automatic slideshow with half a dozen representative examples of the work. It’s easy to see influences in there that coincide with Rennie Ellis and Jeff Carter. And some of the portraits evoke the feeling of Sue Ford or Carol Jerrems. A couple of portraits from this book dimly reminded me of the work of Bill Henson. One thing I enjoy about photography is this ability to see influences in style and content. Or similarities. Possibly even small homages. And having never heard of Graham Burstow it just makes that pleasure of discovery the little more entertaining.

The bio of Graham Burstow is also impressive. Born in 1927 (making him 88 years old), he has an awful lot of letters after his hame – OAM, FAPS, FRPS, FPSA, EFIAP, Hon. FAPS, PSQA, HAFB, PSQF. He received an Order of Australia Medal for Services to Photography in Australian in 2004, prints acquired for permanent collection by the Queensland Art Gallery, the State Library of Queensland and the National Library of Australia. An old salt of Australian photography.

And I like the last sentence of that bio – “He continues to photograph using film and creates prints using silver gelatin.”

For AUD$25 new this is a great photography book that captures my idea of what used to be Australia. It smacks of Australian culture. I’m also a little tempted to pick up a copy of his other book Flesh: The Gold coast in the 1960s, 70s & 80s.

The Surgeon of Crowthorne (Book Review)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

The Professor & the Madman

Simon Winchester’s The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words was also published in the United States and Canada as The Professor and the Madman: a Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s the little known story of Sir James Murray, editor of what would later be the Oxford English Dictionary, in his dealings with the most prolific of the amateur philologists, Dr W. C. Minor. The illusive minor refused meetings with Murray until after 20 years of missed opportunities the editor made his way to the village of Crowthorne in Berkshire to meet this amazing man. He found Minor, a retired U.S. Army Surgeon convicted of murder, at the address given: Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Not as the institution’s governor; Minor was an inmate. The year of their meeting was the Autumn of 1896.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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