ABOVE: The elegance of great printing technique is one of the lessons in The
Altering Eye, an important anthology of work from the National Gallery of Art’s
vast photography collection. All the book’s images are reproduced from the
original prints done by the photographers.
(Left: Henri Cartier-Bresson Alicante, Spain, 1933 Gelatin Silver Print. Right: Dorothea Lange General Strike, San
Francisco, 1934 Gelatin Silver Print Photo © National Gallery of Art).
PHOTOS © NATIONAL GALLER Y OF AR T
by david gibson
thames & hudson | 200 pp.
In case you haven’t noticed, street
photography is attracting more and more
serious artists and documentary shooters,
even as the genre becomes progressively
more diluted by wannabes with iPhones and
too much time on their hands. For those of
us who do this craft for a living and like to
challenge ourselves, energetic photographer/educator David
Gibson delivers an enlightening guide.
Gibson, the founder of In-Public, an international collective
of street photographers, takes a slightly formal approach on
how to hone the skills for “getting lucky” on the street. He
organizes the book into themes—how to try bringing order out
of chaos; how to optimize the long waits; how to follow some
developing action; shooting abstract patterns and shadows;
taking sequences of images to create little one-act photo
essays, and so on. He illustrates all of this with much of his own
work, as well as stunning images by Martin Parr, Bruce Gilden,
Elliott Erwitt and many more.
by charles pignone
thames & hudson | 288 pp.
There’s probably very few people, if any,
who aren’t familiar with Frank Sinatra. His
rare musical gift carried him from obscurity
up the totem pole of fabulous wealth and
stardom, and after a while, not just anybody
got to photograph him. The pictures in this
book—interspersed with snap shots and
hokey publicity stills—demonstrate the work of really gifted
shooters in the pressurized crunch of having to come away
from a Sinatra shoot with an image that did this lofty subject
justice. John Dominis (whose classic onstage silhouette of
Ol’ Blue Eyes decorates the book’s cover), Herman Leonard,
Terry O’Neill, John Bryson and Gjon Mili show you how it’s
done. Sinatra 100 is a great tool for honing your work-under-
pressure on-location skills.
The Altering Eye: Photographs from
the National Gallery of Art
by sarah greenough, sarah kennel, diane waggoner,
andrea nelson and philip brookman
thames & hudson | 380 pp.
Long before the photographic universe evolved into
a matrix of pixels, the coin of the realm for image
presentation was the print. And in many ways it still is—
web content, blogs and Pinterest notwithstanding.
The Altering Eye: Photographs from the National
Gallery of Art is a lavish anthology that appeared on
the horizon last year (one of several projects that were
mounted last year by NGA to commemorate the 25th year of its vast and
unique photography collection), and whether or not it was the authors’ intent,
it eloquently celebrated the durable—and enduring—status of the print in our
Writes author and NGA senior curator Sarah Greenough: “Because a
photograph can be greatly altered when it is printed, the National Gallery of
Art, like many other art museums, collects prints made by the photographers
themselves. In addition, we strive, whenever possible, to acquire prints made soon
after the negative itself was taken, as we believe these most accurately represent
the photographer’s vision at the time when he or she made the image.”
You’ll want to own this book forever, and it’s guaranteed to inspire a
hard look at what you might do yourself on the print side to enhance your
Rhapsody of the Print
BY JIM CORNFIELD