Art – Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary

2500Working with a close group of academics and editors, DK Publishing has put together a brief overview of the history of art. Here, in 2,500 color images, readers will find well-known works and details of pieces that have claimed fame in the art historical time-line. It is the sort of book that is suited towards those with an interest for the subject, but who lack time to devote to meticulous hours of study in the area. Not every appreciator of art has years to devote to the study of Art History. DK Publishing has reduced the academic world of the subject into 2,500 images.

From Altamira On

The earliest of cave paintings where uncovered at the turn of the last century in Altamira, Spain where an amateur archaeologist and his young daughter had been exploring. The discovery is often credited more towards the child than the parent. It is here that many introductions to art and its history have begun. Utilizing beautifully rendered pictures of the caves, Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary begun a time-line that draws interested readers in to the world of Art History.

The Major Periods

The books goes on to create reproductions of works that have only begun to greatly influence the contemporary movements. DK Publishing reproduces works that were originally created by more than 700 artists, adding to the time-line that they had begun with the introduction to cave painting. It’s weakness, may fall in its glossing over the more precise periods of art, but for those who peruse the subject more as a fun past time will not be bothered by this as general knowledge and pictorial evidence abounds in these sections.

Where it Differentiates

While the book does gloss over many of Art History’s integral parts, it does go in depth with regards to artist biographies and time-lines. The backgrounds that the book covers as well as its organizational methods are what make it overall. It is here that the book shines in its rendition to the history of art. Along with its simplistic approach to the subject, it is also concise in what it lends to the reader making it a strong source in the arsenal of anyone who wishes to even briefly be associated with art and its history.

What is Most Striking

Outside of the explanations that the book offers are the more in-depth explanations of how these reproductions play into the time-line that so many academics have attributed to the study of art as a history. Overall, Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary is a gem for anyone who wishes to learn more about Art History as a subject as opposed to a simple time-line that is largely overlooked by more contemporary historians that are quick to forget it as a scholarly endeavor.

Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary is available through DK Publishing with ISBN 0756639727.

Victorian New Jersey – Book Review

keanWhen you think of New Jersey today it is easy for your mind to drift to Snooki, Italian-Americans, lots of hair spray, fist pumping and any other stereotype that New Jersey has been blasted with over the course of the past few years with programing like The Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. However, what has been forgotten and pushed aside is that New Jersey is rich in history that pre-dates the spray tans and hair-poofs.

New Jersey and its History

New Jersey is full of stories, legends and history that go back to the early days of the colonization of America. We are a state that has seen a lot of big changes and life happen here. New Jersey has seen Revolutionary war battles, visits from presidents, natural disasters, grand estates, big inventions and famous people.

Frank J. Esposito and Donald Lokuta explore the early days of New Jersey, specifically the Victorian time period, in their book Victorian New Jersey: Photographs by Guillermo Thorn from the Kean University Collection. They open their catalog with the biggest part of New Jersey lifestyle– the Jersey shore. Here, they share Thorn’s photographs of Asbury Park and Cape May, the beaches that dominated before Seaside Heights became the huge attraction.

From there, they break the photographs into other categories that include:

  • Picturesque Plainfield
  • Churches and Schools
  • Neighboring Communities
  • The Fairgrounds
  • Popular Attractions
  • Estates, Hotels and Parks

Guillermo Thorn

Esposito and Lokutachoice of focusing on Thorn for this collection is most interesting. Thorn was born in 1837, before the invention of photography. He grew up in the time where photography was new, fascinating and quickly becoming a popular art form. Thorn is best known for his sentimental personality and deep appreciation for the past, which are evident in many of his photographs.

Overall, Esposito and Lokuta’s Victorian New Jersey: Photographs by Guillermo Thorn from the Kean University Collection is an interesting and well-researched catalog that is an asset to those who appreciate and wish to learn more about New Jersey’s rich and vibrant past.

The exhibition originally ran at the Kean University gallery in Union, New Jersey from fall to spring in 2005.

Victorian New Jersey: Photographs by Guillermo Thorn from the Kean University Collection by Frank J. Esposito and Donald Lokuta was originally published by Kean University in 2005. It is available for purchase through the Kean University bookstore with ISBN 0-9765907.

My First Summer in the Sierra (Illustrated Edition) – Book Review

sierraPicture getting to see some of the most breath-taking parts of Yosemite National Park before it ever was Yosemite National Park. Think of sweeping mountains, fresh, gushing water and abundant plant life. 19th century romanticism only touched on how beautiful these landscapes were and in some cases still are. Now, combining that 19th century writing with beautifully rendered 21st century photographs, this illustrated edition of a classic is not something that is easily put down.

The Power of Descriptive Narration

John Muir’s adventure into the Sierra is wonderfully documented, pairing stunning nature photography with an in-depth personal narrative that makes you feel as though you are along side him, taking in the scenery and experiencing everything that untamed nature has to offer.

“Before noon,” Muir writes, “we passed Bower Cave, a delightful marble palace, not dark and dripping, but filled with sunshine, which pours into it through its wide-open mouth facing the south. It has a fine, deep, clear little lake with mossy banks embowered with broad-leaved maples, all underground, wholly unlike anything I have seen in the cave line even in Kentucky, where a large part of the State is honeycombed with caves.”

Muir creates pictures, not only with the included photographs by Scot Miller, but also with his keen sense of detail and explanation which evident throughout his narrative. Combined with the equally as detailed photographs, Muir delivers with My First Summer in the Sierra.

My First Summer in the Sierra and John Muir

Originally published in 1911, My First Summer in the Sierra enticed many people to visit the Yosemite area. John Muir was a young Scottish immigrant who had not yet become the famed naturalist that he would be later in life. Later dubbed, “John o’ the Mountains,” Muir first trekked into the Sierra shortly after the end of the Civil War.

After falling in love with the area, Muir later returned in 1869 to work with a group of shepherds as they herded a flock of 2,500 sheep toward the headwaters of the Merced River. My First Summer in the Sierra captures much of this adventure, including vivid descriptions of what Muir under-went during his time in the unspoiled area of Yosemite.

Other books that document and explore the American landscape include Joseph Sohm’s Visions of America: Photographing Democracy.

My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir with forward by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns with photography by Scot Miller is available for purchase on April 12, 2011 with ISBN 9780618988518 through Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Your Baby Is Speaking to You – Book Review

babyA baby book is not something that readers will typically associate with art books. However, the photography included in Your Baby Is Speaking to You is heart-warming and makes the book a great one to leaf through, even for those of us who do not have children and for those of us who are not usually captivated by other people’s off-spring.

Photography and Parenting Advice

Nugent’s advice for new parents is accompanied by photographs that demonstrate the different communication techniques that babies innately demonstrate when interacting with their parents. The photographs are up close and personal, capturing heart-felt moments and sweet glimpses into the simple gestures that are exchanged between baby and parent. Moreover, if you are reading the book for the advice on how your baby is communicating, Kevin Nugent is more than a solid enough authority to do so. Dr. Nugent is a well-known authority on parent-infant communication.

Dr. Nugent worked with acclaimed photographer Abelardo Morell to truly capture what he discusses in each chapter. Morell’s body of work shows a clear understanding of intimate moments and how to get them just right. The photographs that are included in Your Baby Is Speaking to You are innocent and heart-felt.

Infant-Parent Communication

Nugent illustrates a wide-array of various communications that occur between infant and parent. He included everything from early smiling to startling, listening to your voice and recognizing your face to feeding and sleeping. He also highlights:

  • Yawning
  • Various cries and their meanings
  • The different sleep states and the body language that accompanies them

Overall, Your Baby Is Speaking to You is hybrid in that it gives new parents an accessible way to read and understand more about their infant while including heart-warming photography that can be enjoyed by those of us who are not trying to understand how our non-existent infants are not communicating with us.

Dr. Kevin Nugent studied infants through hands-on experiences through intimate access to the infants and their families. Compiled with his education and experience in the field, Nugent’s book presents an informative and well-researched look into infant-parent communication. Readers have commented that Nugent’s book is one of the more informative and easier to understand books about infant-parent communication, further explaining that it was a quick read that gave them a lot more insight into their children, their lives and their roles as parents.

Your Baby Is Speaking to You by Dr. Kevin Nugent with photography by Abelardo Morell was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on January 13, 2011 with ISBN 0547242956.

Intimations of Paradise – Book Review

paradiseChristopher Burkett is a landscape photographer with over 25 years of experience. He has worked in print and was also briefly, a Brother in a religious order, before he turned to his passion of photography. All of his exhibition prints are personally printed by him. His ability to capture light and color in his work make for breathtaking photographs that give the viewer a more intense view of nature, as seen through our ever-changing landscape.

According to the artist’s website, “Christopher Burkett crafted this retrospective volume with the same care and precision expressed in his photographs. The book’s 180 pages include 73 plates and four essays. Each book ordered directly from Christopher Burkett will be hand signed.” Each plate that Burkett included is a solid, bold representation of the artist’s large body of work. It is a fabulous gift for Burkett fans or nature enthusiasts as a whole.

The Photography of Christopher Burkett

In Imitations of Paradise, Burkett includes many photographs that span his impressive 25 year career. The reprints of his work are bold and vibrant, giving the viewer a clear impression of what it is like to stand before a gallery print of Burkett’s work.

Burkett is known for the color seen in his work. He has been called one of the best color photographers of his time– something that is not easy to attain. Photographing in color is much harder than in black and white because light changes color and thus, photographers must learn different angles, maneuvers and techniques in order to capture the photograph and the color just right.

Buying a Burkett

Christopher Burkett’s work is available for purchase all over the United States, including New York, California and Colorado. A list of galleries that sell Burkett’s work is available on his website. Depending on what print and the size of it, prices for Christopher Burkett’s work range from $1,000 to over $10,000 USD.

For fans of Burkett who do not have a spare grand laying around, Burkett also sells posters and books of his work like Imitations of Paradise. Posters are about $30 USD and his books range in price, but are usually under $100 USD.

Overall, Christopher Burkett’s Imitations of Paradise lives up to the high standards that he holds for his work. As he states on his site, [he and his wife] “self published this book to ensure the highest quality reproduction possible.The separations are scanned from original prints, and after two years of work, are ‘as close as you can get with ink and paper’ to the original photographs.”

Imitations of Paradise by Christopher Burkett was first published by West Winds Art, Inc. on June 1, 1999 with ISBN 978-0967021607. It is available for purchase on the artist’s website.

Locals Only: California Skateboarding 1975-1978 – Book Review

skateThe world of skateboarding is something that many kids from the late 1980’s and up until present day are at least some what associated with. Skating celebrities like Tony Hawk have mainstreamed the sport, turning it into video games and entertainment. However, skateboarding did not begin with the 80’s or even with the grunge movement of the early 1990’s. Skateboarding has been around since the 1950’s.

A Brief History of Skateboarding

Skateboarding began in the 1950’s when surfing was at its peak. People soon realized that a skateboard gave them the same feel as surfing. Skateboarding then slowly grew over the decade and by 1959, first Roller Derby Skateboard was for sale.

By the 1960’s, skateboards had entered mass production. Many stores were carrying them and the sport was quickly becoming a new fad. However, just as with any new sport, safety concerns soon began and people began speaking out against skateboarding, urging parents not to buy their children skateboards. The fad quickly died out, almost as fast as it began.

On Locals Only: California Skateboarding 1975-1978

When the 1970’s hit, so did the next big skating boom. The way skateboards were made changed and skate-parks began popping up all over the continental United States. The boards themselves were being made wider, offering skaters more stability especially on vertical surfaces.

Photographer, Hugh Holland, though not a skater himself, began to document these skateboarders in Los Angeles, parts of the San Fernando Valley, Venice Beach, San Francisco and Baja California, Mexico. It was also during this time, that Southern California was experiencing a serious drought which left much of the areas pools emptied for rebellious skaters to break into and use to hone their skills.

Holland documented all of this for three years, capturing the very beginnings of what would become a huge sport in the late 1990s and well into the new millennium. Holland’s photographs have that great dated feel to them and really makes the collection look authentic and more interesting than other collections that were captured on a digital camera as opposed to film.

Adding to that, the fonts chosen and the overall attitude of the collection, makes the reader feel part of and immersed in what Hugh Holland was documenting over thirty years ago. Overall, Holland captured a moment in time that might have gone otherwise overlooked. His collection is interesting and fun to look at and read through.

Locals Only: California Skateboarding 1975-1978 by Hugh Holland and Steve Crist was first published on October 1, 2010 by AMMO Books with ISBN 9781934429471.