Posts Tagged ‘books’

On the Evolution of the Robert Mapplethorpe Photo Book

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Dubious beginnings, a common trait of all good books, of ones worth remembering, worth recommending, worth reprinting, worth reproducing. We speak of both introductions and of origins. To introduce, our subject is what appears to be a book of photography by Robert Mapplethorpe, large and heavy, hardcover, nicely bound, and coming with one of those jacket-like cases you slide the book into — just in case you didn’t yet realise the book’s obvious value.

How it came to be here, sitting edgeways upon my floor, was that a girl from work asked the question if I had ever heard of the man, the photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. I answered in the negative. The next day arrived this mass binding of pages and a warning about the material to be found between the two red pages, rather explicit gay bordering-on-porn imagery, the reason it was not to be handed around the office willy-nilly. Too large and bulky to carry, a good strapping to the floor of the Vespa saw it arrive home safe and sound.

I expelled a thought of wonder at who in their right mind would still buy a book of such massive expanse into physical existence. Flipped through the pages a few times, noticing the few celebrity likenesses the most and of course the overt homosexual content, one reason, I imagine, that our lender attracted a certain kinship to this photographer. Kinship, awe, and admiration, reason enough for this lofty purchase. That and a chance to strut it upon coffee tables when friends come to play, an aid to outward expression, or to lend to someone at work who will subsequently analyse its evolutionary origins in existence. Either way.

Tangible, an object, and replicable, an ideal subject. This photo book, still thriving it seems in an ever-changing environment, a fluctuating market, has evolved some very specialised traits that allow it to survive. It is big and well bound, suitable for showing off to friends; it has pretty pictures that when looked at correctly, in the right frame of mind, will challenge the viewer’s way of thinking about the word (we talking about art here); and it is about a quasi-celebrity photographer and so gives the reader some kind of knowledge about the history of society in which they are living. Other traits are common to virtually all books, such that it contains pages, a front and back cover, and is relatively portable. Perfectly fit for reproduction.

Designed? Surely not. This book evolved, dubiously, in minds, in markets, in existence, in this post, from its countless predecessors. It will continue.

Additional resources: Artsy

Photograph of a photograph of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a man in the tub


Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

“Then, my dear Herbert, I cannot tell you how dependent and uncertain I feel, and how exposed to hundreds of chances. Avoiding forbidden ground, as you did just now, I may still say that on the constancy of one person (naming no person) all my expectations depend. And at the best, how indefinite and unsatisfactory, only to know so vaguely what they are!”

–Pip, Great Expectations, Volume II Chapter xi

This dialogue of Pip’s struck me, scanning my eyes over it once more on lunch down at the sushi bar. That it would strike me so is yet another matter to ponder. Identification, as it exists between reader and subject is most certainly beneficial to the survival of a story. This very reposting is testament.

Infefinity, as opposed to indefiniteness, I would define as the state of being presented with a plenitude of potential outcomes, bombarded by choice and chance, so as to make any certain action or decision a virtual impossibility. Some would say the word is in regard to something vague or poorly defined, nearing the indefinite. Fair enough. I’m sticking with my definition as well though.

Here I stand, pure in my indefinity.

Junk Posting

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

To fill that canyon void between true quality, sometimes there must become a little bit of junk. This is the first of the experiment with junk posts on this quasi-blog type thing. No real aim, but to create and fill. Oft times it is the mass of filling that makes the other so good.

I am not talking automatic writing here, and will leave that to another day.

Anyway, what did I do today? Not much, just working mainly. Thinking back, thismorning Jasper awakened me with her meowing. For lunch I headed down to Sakura Sushi. Still failing in my attempts to get Jerry to try it. I finished chapter twenty-nine of Great Expectations, experiencing Pip’s first adult falling for the now-fully-grown Estella.

Had a call from The Strange Attractors‘ prospective bass player. Things seem almost to be coming together.

Unsure of where all this junk will lead me tonight.