Untitled from the project Insomnia: Hotel Noircopyright of Douglas Stockdale
I have not discussed that much about writing and publishing my book reviews over on The Photo Book. Probably because of how those reviews and the blog in particular is evolving. And for me, the whole thing is evolving in an unplanned but excellent ways.
By background, I used to publish my book reviews on this blog, but then I broke out the book reviews and photographic exhibition reviews into separate blogs. I felt that the books and exhibitions reviews were a unique and different entity. I suppose it was an attempt to differentiate my personal musings about my photographic efforts from my opinions about what others are attempting. Perhaps similar to the difference between a static web site and a more interactive blog. So in essence, I am now sharing my personal musings as to how the book review blog is doing.
Maybe like many of you, my previous book collection reflected my personal interests and my photographic inclinations, augmenter with some non-photographic titles, such as Ashile Gorky and Willem de Kooning, from my painting days. Regardless, I purchased book consistently with where my interest tilted. And I will have to say now, that practice did not expand my horizons very much. So when I started writing the photographic book reviews, I realized that my scope of photograhic themes was a little narrow and limited.
So now I have started acquiring photographic books that are outside my normal interest and perhaps purposefully, books that I did not fully understand or agree with. Not to write a damning review or to chop anyone down, but for the opportunity to expand my own intellect on this broad subject. To stretch myself and to try to comprehend the intent of others. Not that I always do it to the satisfaction of every photographer and publisher.
And I find that as I look at these various books, read what they written and subsequently read into what they photograph, I have become a little more articulate in my opinions. Like my experience with attending a photographic exhibition with the intent of writing a review, my perspective has changes and is evolving. I look at a photographic body of work more critically that I had. As an analogy, the difference of watching golf from the sofa to actually playing a round with the intent of lowering my handicap. An intensity that perhaps I did not always tap into, as I was perhaps a bit too casual in my earlier observations and assessments. More of a photographic tourist.
Too the point, that I find that my first reviews are a paler version of my current assessments. Especially as I live with these books for a while, revisiting them and rethinking my initial reactions and reviews. So I just may re-publish an expanded review for some of the earlier books at the end of the year.
Best regards, Doug
BTW the image with this post is a work in progress, thus at this time, I want to just keep it untitled. I am not even sure if this will be included in the project, as I have one to two others from this take that I am tweaking. Sort of in conflict with yesterday’s post, but this particular image does not evoke the same clarity in thought, although it does appear to be the one that seems to get closer to my intent. That is probably why it does not have a final caption as I recognize a couple of things within the photograph that I need to tweak. A work in progress.