SEAN PERRY: Notes from The Picture Review

 Curator and Collector, Wm. Hunt, 2011  
"Go forth and build, speak to the wonder and joy 
that is so vacant in your adversaries"
Photograph © Elizabeth Paul Avedon

I am restless – intrinsically. Annoying as of late more so, and in part by petty nemeses soon vanquished. It is in these times I refer to one of Mr. Hunt's sublime life lessons (adapted) – go forth and build, speak to the wonder and joy that is so vacant in your adversaries.

If we have shared time in a class together you may know I have a proclivity for books. I enjoy all lovely printed things, particularly photography, design and architecture books. I often partake in obscene amounts of caffeine and wander the aisles of book and thrift stores, seeking respite and delight in something beautiful discovered.

Another curricula of The Picture Review is the study and research of good photography through the culture of books. So many important considerations are at play – the languages of printing, design, typography, sequencing and more. Do you know the stereotype of trusting a corpulent chef? I believe we must eat well if meaningful art is to be had, whether consumed, created or espoused.

(Photograph: Sarah Wilson)

I recently had a conversation with Ms. (name redacted) at Half Price Books and have very exciting news to relay. While I work through this temporary over-restlessness, I shall occasionally select an exceptional book to share. HPB has generously agreed to offer this selection to you, with compliments of a discount in honor of The Picture Review initiative. I will feature the book in a post here and place it on hold under a nome de plume. Expiring that Sunday at close, (9pm) the first one to request the title from the counter using said alias has it.

Now let us begin this hedonism with proper grandeur. I have perused the current offerings at many locations there is much to devour. There are titles from Twin Palms, Steidl, University of Texas Press and Monacelli Press to name a brief few.

It is my joyful privilege to introduce The Picture Review Sunday Find. May a season of bounty and voracity be upon us.

The Life of a Photograph


Filled with the sweet nectar of deep discounts and haptic pleasure, did you empty your chalice? I most certainly did, trekking to all Half Price Books locations both far and wide. I imagine only eclipsed by the diligent Mr. Drew Lee, who valiantly sailed towards the dark secrets of San Antonio aboard a modern day Pequod. Fortuity favors the adventurous and prepared, he returned with a most stellar trove of fortunes.

I am joyous our chambers here echo greatly of treasures won – Keith Carter, Kate Breakey, Lee Frielander, Sébastien Meunier, Irving Penn, and Sam Abell among other giants. It is indeed a time of bounty and celebration, well done!

Many of us gorged on Mr. Abell's title, The Life of a Photograph. What an exceptional book and man. Picture Review Alumni will recognize the language, the title is an eloquent and well stated theorem of his work. Sam Abell is a esteemed mid-western born photographer known for his poetic amalgamation of subjects and styles, traversing photo-journalism to fine-art. He first worked for the National Geographic Society in 1970 at the age of 25, and went on to photograph over 20 features. He has published at least 9 titles I am aware of, likely more. Study the life he has woven around photography – as a photographer, author, teacher…. you will find no truer a storyteller and artist. His own words are best, and I implore you to read the interview with Mr. Blaustein below.


I find his photographs so well seen and thoughtfully made. I am particularly thankful for a lesson he learned from his father, "compose and wait." It left a lasting impression upon me and is but one of a long list of gifts garnered from his generous teachings. Last year I made an image in Kyoto that I am deeply grateful for. Mr. Abell metaphorically by my side, I composed the frame as I was crossing the Kamogawa – then waited, for the unexpected gesture I needed to complete the image.
Three Crows, Kyoto Japan
Photograph © Sean Perry

The video below is not your typical Facebook distraction. No sir, it is rich with sustenance – 43 minutes of pure insight and excellence. The book can be had for a mere pittance on Amazon, and perhaps you may still find a copy or two here. Tarry not, it will be a loyal companion for you – for that I am sure.



the plant gardener said...

I'll definitely check out the book! Thank you~

Honey Lazar said...

Loved this and love 1/2 price books too. Remainders are reminders.