A book I contributed to was published recently: Draw Your Own Fonts released by Ivy in the UK and under the title Draw Your Own Alphabets by Princeton Architectural Press in America. It was fun to have an excuse to doodle!
It's hard to believe that a monograph dedicated to the work of Saul Bass hasn't existed until now, so I'm very excited about the forthcoming release Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design. Laurence King know how to produce a quality tome and this should exceed expectations with 1400 examples of his work (much previously unseen) showcasing his output during a 40 year career: from the iconic posters and title sequences for the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Otto Preminger, to the visual identity of corporate America.
I love the hand-cut feel to his movie posters - bold colours, rough type and symbolic shapes - a style much copied but never surpassed (see Burn After Reading andPrecious for homages). His titles for film were no less innovative, capable of summarising the story and underlying themes graphically, and employing kinetic typography to stunning effect. Above all what comes across with his work is how much he enjoyed creating it: sophisticated yet somehow naive, there is a playful and beautiful element at the heart of his visual language.
[pullquote author="Saul Bass"]"I want everything we do to be beautiful. I don’t give a damn whether the client understands that that’s worth anything, or that the client thinks it’s worth anything, or whether it is worth anything. It’s worth it to me. It’s the way I want to live my life. I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares."[/pullquote]
I got a sneaky peak at a rather exciting looking book on the Thames & Hudson stand at the London Book Fair this week. Magnum Contact Sheets will showcase the workings of the agency's legends including Henri Cartier-Bresson and Elliot Erwitt alongside newcomers like Alec Soth and Trent Park.
As a photographer I find editing a real challenge so I like the idea of being able to look at the selection process behind great images, viewing them in the original context of an entire set of negatives or slides and seeing the ones that didn't make the cut. The enlarged selected photographs are featured alongside allowing you to see adjustments to exposure and framing. In the world of digital, the integrity and physicality of the contact sheet is lost so there is a certain nostalgia about this book too.
Magnum Contact Sheets was unfinished but is predicted to publish in Autumn this year - a hefty tome with a hefty price tag of £95 but definitely one for the wish list.
Previously only available in a limited edition, Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967 is published today by Taschen. A testament to the decade's cultural metamorphosis, the book presents his candid pictures of celebrities and political events alongside snapshots of the everyday landscape. Hopper's own counter-cultural icon status has been largely constructed around his 1969 directorial debut Easy Rider, in which he also starred - this book looks to be a fitting tribute to his less celebrated photographic contribution to the story of 1960s America, much of which has remained unseen up until now. Leaf through and buy the book here.