Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Review of I Am Dance, by Hal Banfield

Monday, May 10th, 2021

I Am Dance

Words and Images of the Black Dancer

by Hal Banfield

The Literary Revolutionary, 2019. 94 pages.
Review written August 27, 2020, from a library book
Starred Review

I Am Dance is a gorgeous art photography book featuring twenty black dancers. Here’s a paragraph from the creator’s introduction:

Much like the old proverb about children, it is believed that dancers should be seen and not heard since it is widely understood that dancers speak with their bodies. It was important to me that this I Am Dance project be a platform for the black dancer to express themselves beyond just using their bodies. I wanted this project to be a place for them to also have a voice. Finding a good cross section of talented and trained dancers with interesting and dynamic stories to share was the first order of business and proved to be quite a task. Through months of trial and error, I would eventually identify and assemble a core group of talented and disciplined dancers who latched onto the concept of this project and were willing to be photographed and share their personal stories. What started out as an idea for a photo gallery exhibition would eventually blossom into a collection of diverse stories and images that now fit into the pages of this book.

Each of the twenty dancers is featured in two spreads full of beautiful action photos. Looking at those photos alone gives plenty of opportunity for wonder. They are also given a short page of text each, in their own voices, talking about what dancing means to them.

After many “I Am…” statements, such as “I Am Powerful.”; “I Am Joyful.”; “I Am a Fighter.” and “I Am Connected,” the book ends with a page heading: “We. Are. Dance.”

Because we danced today, the voices of tomorrow will shout louder, every hip will sway wider and every finger will snap sharper in time. Like the roar and crash of the ocean waves, the next generation of dancers of color will hear the undulating taps and echoes of our toes urging them to pick up the beat and keep the rhythm.

I am not a dancer, and I am not black, but I was still inspired by reading and gazing at this beautiful book.

iamdancebook.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/i_am_dance.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of Every Penguin in the World, by Charles Bergman

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

Every Penguin in the World

A Quest to See Them All

by Charles Bergman

Sasquatch Books, 2020. 193 pages.
Review written September 30, 2020, from a library book
Starred Review

I wouldn’t have called myself a penguin lover before reading this book, though I certainly don’t dislike them. Who could? But reading this book has me fully converted.

The author is an English professor. He and his wife decided to take trips to see every current penguin species in the world. And he took wonderful photographs on these journeys.

The photographs do steal the show. Penguin chicks are adorably cute, and adults are sometimes comical, sometimes beautiful, and always striking. Their location in remote southern locations adds to the beauty of these photographs.

And it’s difficult to get to the remote locations where penguins live, so the story of this quest is a story of adventure. The author does a great job of communicating the dangers and difficulties of their travels while also conveying the way the penguins changed his life spiritually and called him to this pilgrimage.

Of course, there’s also information about how so many penguin species are endangered and what we can do to help. If a universally beloved creature is in danger, how can we expect to save creatures that aren’t so adorable? So this book is also a wake-up call.

I found myself looking at the photos here over and over again, but the words drew me in as well. This is a wonderful little book that you can be sure you’ll want to come back to. I think I’m going to order my own copy to be able to look at pictures of penguins whenever I want to be uplifted.

sasquatchbooks.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/every_penguin_in_the_world.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of Bibliostyle, by Nina Freudenberger

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Bibliostyle

How We Live at Home with Books

by Nina Freudenberger
with Sadie Stein
photographs by Shade Degges

Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2019. 272 pages.
Review written November 28, 2020, from a library book
Starred Review

Here’s a book for book lovers to drool over, a book that makes me feel so much better about my book hoarding habits!

This is a coffee-table book with large, lavish photographs – of other people’s extravagant personal book collections. And between profiles of home libraries, there are interludes with photos of notable book stores.

This volume is written by an interior designer, so the focus does lean toward the look of the home libraries and how they fit into the design of the homes. But she also does talk with the owners and we hear about the types of books that they own and cherish.

The Introduction to this wonderful volume reveals that creating it was a labor of love. Here’s how that page ends:

In choosing our subjects, we were not merely interested in the beautiful and perfectly curated rooms, the most extensive collections, or those shelves filled only with rare first editions – although there’s plenty of beauty on display. This book is not about unattainable libraries, any more than it is about perfectly decorated homes. Rather, it’s about the power of books to tell stories, in both the literal and figurative sense. As we found repeatedly, surrounding yourself with books you love tells the story of your life, your interests, your passions, your values. Your past and your future. Books allow us to escape, and our personal libraries allow us to invent the story of ourselves – and the legacy that we will leave behind.

There’s a famous quote attributed to Cicero: “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” If I suspected this before, I know it now. I hope you’ll find as much pleasure in discovering these worlds as we did.

There’s a wonderful international aspect to this book, with personal collections from places as far flung as Mexico City, Los Angeles, Paris, Lisbon, and Isle of Wight. The features are gathered into sections titled “The Sentimentalists,” “The Intuitives,” “The Arrangers,” “The Professionals,” and “The Collectors” – but what you have consistently are shelves and shelves of books woven into people’s homes and lives. Oh, for a built-in bookshelf like the ones found in these pages!

I began by reading this book slowly – looking at one personal library per day, but there were lots of holds and I had to turn it back in. So the next time it came to me, I was more purposeful about getting through it – but it was still a delight. I may have to purchase my own copy. And the next time I get someone to help me move, I could show them this book and say, “See, my book hoarding could be a lot worse!”

clarksonpotter.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/bibliostyle.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power

Friday, September 11th, 2020

The Women of the 116th Congress

Portraits of Power

Foreword by Roxane Gay

Portraits by Elizabeth D. Herman and Celeste Sloman

Abrams Image, 2019. 208 pages.
Review written September 5, 2020, from a library book
Starred Review

Here’s a lovely book that fills my heart with pride in our nation. It consists of 130 portraits of the 131 women (one was not available) serving in the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States of America after the 2018 elections.

The portraits are presented alphabetically by the state each woman represents. A list of firsts that woman has achieved are presented, many of them being the first woman from their state or their district in the House or the Senate, or the first woman of their ethnicity or religion or sexual orientation. And there’s a paragraph quote from each woman talking about what it means to them to serve in the United States Congress.

Throughout the book, there are short interruptions with spreads about historic women who paved the way for these ones, such as Jeannette Pickering Rankin: “I may be the first woman member of Congress, but I won’t be the last.” Or Shirley Anita Chisholm: “In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism.”

I never thought of it as an important cause to elect more women to Congress – until I looked through this book and it made me so happy and proud. I love to think that the day will come when we can look back on the 116th Congress and think how relatively few women they included back then.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/women_of_the_116th_congress.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, by Catherine Reid

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

by Catherine Reid

Timber Press, 2018. 280 pages.
Starred Review

Hooray! This was the perfect book to discover shortly before my own long-awaited trip to Prince Edward Island! I finished reading it a few days before I set out myself with two childhood friends.

The book is full of full-color photographs taken on Prince Edward Island. Most of the spreads that don’t have one have a black-and-white photo that L. M. Montgomery took herself, or an illustration from the original edition of Anne of Green Gables.

The author does a nice job of getting across the basics of L. M. Montgomery’s life and how important Prince Edward Island was to her. She peppers the book with many quotations about the island from the Anne books, from Maud Montgomery’s journals, and from her book The Alpine Path about her career – and how important the beautiful landscapes of her home were to her.

At the back of the book there is a list of L. M. Montgomery sites to visit, and you can be sure I’m going to visit all of the ones on Prince Edward Island.

I wish these photographs could be printed on the pages of L. M. Montgomery’s books! Seeing how beautiful Prince Edward Island truly is made me appreciate much more her many descriptions where she hopes to explain that to the reader. She does a good job – but pictures verify that instantly.

The section about Gardens on Prince Edward Island pulled together gardens in her books and gardens she talked about in her journals – with photographs of the flowers she mentions and gardens such as the kinds she described. That chapter especially gave me new appreciation of what L. M. Montgomery was saying – since I didn’t even know what some of the flowers she names look like.

Browsing through this book is a delightful experience. There are enough well-chosen words to help you appreciate what you’re seeing. And for building excitement for an upcoming trip – it is absolutely perfect!

catherinereid.org

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on my own copy, purchased via Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of The Heart of a Boy, by Kate T. Parker

Saturday, September 14th, 2019

The Heart of a Boy

Celebrating the Strength and Spirit of Boyhood

by Kate T. Parker

Workman Publishing, 2019. 250 pages.
Starred Review

Oh, I love this book! I was already crazy about Strong Is the New Pretty, the book the author wrote celebrating girls. Now she’s done an equally wonderful job taking photographs of boys. (And the boy on the front cover is the most adorable ever!)

Both are books of photography, with large mostly close-up pictures, focusing on faces. Both books break some stereotypes, so in this book you do have many pictures of boys being tender.

The chapters break the photos loosely into categories. Here are the chapter titles: “The Heart Is Vulnerable,” “The Heart Is Joyful,” “The Heart Is Dedicated,” “The Heart Is Playful,” “The Heart Is Creative,” “The Heart Is Resilient,” “The Heart Is Expressive,” “The Heart Is Independent,” “The Heart Is Curious,” and “The Heart Is Kind.”

Each photograph is accompanied by a caption with the boy’s first name and age and a quote from him. Here are a few random examples:

“I want to be president because I am helpful, kind, and nice.”

“I liked losing my front teeth because I could fit Tic Tacs through the hole!”

“Wrestling taught me perseverance in everything I do. That in order to move a wall, I have to push until I can push no longer. Only then, after giving everything I’ve got, will that wall move.”

“Cade is my best friend. We have so much fun together whatever we do. We can just be really silly and do nothing and still have fun.”

“Baseball is a lot of fun. I love the sport because I can play with my friends and teammates. The hardest part is that I can’t run as fast as the other kids because of my knee disability. So I have to try much harder to keep up.”

“I like soccer. I like baseball. I like to dance, too. The best part is tap dancing becase it is fun and it makes me feel good.”

“People say, ‘You look like a girl. Your hair is too long, your hair isn’t normal, your hair doesn’t look like boy hair. Why are you wearing pink leggings? Why do you wear tight clothes? Why do you wear so much jewelry?’ But I like the way I am.”

“When I’m drawing my characters come alive, and it’s as if they are right there speaking directly to me.”

Now you need to see the boys who have said these words – and many more. This is another fabulously affirming book.

katetparker.com
workman.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/heart_of_a_boy.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?