PHOTO © ALIX SMITH
by daido moriyama
thames & hudson | 192 pp.
If contemporary photography has a
certifiable road warrior, it’s surely the
flamboyant Japanese artist Daido
It matters little if your personal
photographic interests don’t coincide with
his dystopian vision of urban life. This latest
of his published collections is a gift to all
photographers, a catalogue of visceral
embellishments that demonstrate how to turn an image
into an almost tactile experience. Technically, the witchcraft
is simple—surface reflections, boiling grain, extreme, cringe-
worthy close-ups, soft blurs, vertiginous angles—the tools of
the surrealist/documentarian, probing the populous wards
of downtown Tokyo with his camera. He writes, “The outside
world I observe as I wander the streets presents me with the
exciting, the mysterious or the erotic.”
Capture One Pro 9:
Mastering Raw Development, Image
Processing, and Asset Management
by sascha erni
rocky nook | 200 pp.
Publishing house Rocky Nook, along
with fine-art photographer Sascha
Erni, irons the cerebral kinks out
of a balky but utilitarian software
known as Capture One Pro. In this
meticulously illustrated book, Erni
shows how Capture One Pro can be
an indispensable addition to workflow
management with medium-format
image acquisition. This software’s excellent tethering
abilities are among the many compelling pluses Erni lists
and explains with copious attention to detail.
Any shooter doing serious commercial portraiture or
weddings has surely contemplated moving into Phase
One territory if he or she hasn’t gotten there yet. This book
helps make the transition a lot easier.
Family Photography Now
by sophie howarth and stephen mclaren
thames & hudson | 240 pp.
As lackluster as family photos often are, especially
among the iPhone/point-and-shoot subculture, the
same imagery can rise to the level of art at the hands
of a serious, creative photographer. That’s the idea
behind an instructive new collection released this
month. In Family Photography Now, the authors bring
together images from 40 talented shooters who
either lift the lid on their own gene pools or manage
to infiltrate other people’s lives. These beautifully reproduced photographs
are, by turns, wry and poignant, outrageous and inspirational, and add up to a
diverse amalgam of emotions, idiosyncrasies and ideas.
Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren brush past common mannerisms
in the book’s opening section, (titled “Is My Family Normal?”), quoting
photographer Martin Parr’s memorable line, “most family photo albums are
a form of propaganda.” Then they proceed to subvert that idea with an edgy
selection of pictures that, in their words, “tackle the emotional roller coaster
of family life…cutting through the glut of smiling snapshots and tightly
choreographed nuclear units…”
Their result is a rambunctious assortment of 320-plus intimate vignettes—
parchment-skinned grandparents, wailing toddlers, lots of people in their
underwear, cluttered sofas, muffin tops, yard sales and breastfeeding moms.
Overall, Family Photography Now is a rich, fascinating show and a terrific
resource for anyone tasked as the family’s designated shooter (which happens
to us all), along with anyone who offers, or is contemplating offering, this
specialty on his or her website.
Family Portraits Redefined
BY JIM CORNFIELD
ABOVE: Family Photography Now is rich with unconventional takes on a tradition-bound genre from sources like Alix Smith’s portraits of American same-sex
families and Colin Gray’s “The Parents” series.
PHOTO © COLIN GRAY