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Burtynsky Water
Burtynsky Water
par Edward Burtynsky
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 87,34

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Liquid through the lens, 10 septembre 2014
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Burtynsky Water (Relié)
This is the second liquid book from Burtynsky following on from his stunning photo survey of the oil industry published by Steidl in 2009. Both books are the same landscape shape and about the same number of pages. While 'Oil' used photos shot at ground level and just above, 'Water' required a bird's-perspective from a plane to capture the scale of the subject. The book's photos were taken over four yeas and Burtynsky makes an interesting point in his preface: the introduction of high-quality digital camera equipment allowed him to make crisp, sharp images from a moving aircraft, something that wasn't easily done with older analogue film.

Despite oil and water both being liquids they clearly don't mix. The photos in 'Oil' show massive despoiling of the landscape and the visual ugliness of the industry while water from above provides some remarkably abstract looking photos like pivot irrigation systems in the south west of the US, rice growing terraces in China and salt aquaculture in Spain. Oddly the most colourful abstractions are from the highly polluted water: phosphor tailings in Florida; the Colorado River delta in Mexico. Probably the most abstract are the last eight photos in the book revealing the glacial runoff and rivers in Iceland.

The chapter titled 'Waterfront' brings the photos to a more human perspective with shots of homes in Florida's Cape Coral, Punta Gorda and Verona Walk, all them show houses connected by roads and canals (Cape Coral has the largest canal system in the world) and predictably these rapid, sprawling developments create environmental and social problems though the photos don't reveal that except by implication. In less developed India water is revealed as a precious resource, four photos show the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival that can attract a hundred million people over fifty-five days, they all come to bathe in the junction of the Ganges, Yamuna and Sarasvati rivers. India also provides four remarkable photos of stepwells, large deep wells, sort of like inverted pyramids, with sides made up of steps and terraces leading down to the water.

With 112 beautiful photos Burtynsky has managed to capture the impact of water on our world and revealed the ongoing problems we have created with its usage. These problems are detailed in an twenty-eight mini essays (over fourteen pages after the photos) that correspond to the book's sections.

Like the 'Oil' book 'Water' is well produced with a matt art paper for the 175 screen printing and well designed as one would expect from Steidl. It has the minor annoyance though of having the photo captions in the back pages, so expect a lot of page flipping. The book's large landscape shape size allows most photos to be 12.5 by 9.5 inches with one to a page.

par Bjarne Hammer
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 50,64

5.0 étoiles sur 5 The public home of books, 8 avril 2014
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Libraries (Relié)
Forty-four of the world's leading libraries are revealed in this lavish photographic celebration of books in their public homes. Considering that all these buildings hold the same thing the range of architectural styles is quite amazing, even those built in the last decade. Just compare the sweep of the atrium in the 2012 built Sir Duncan Rice Library at the Uni of Aberdeen with atrium of the Library of the Faculty of Law, Uni of Zurich, built in 2004. Both have a fresh take on a similar idea. Perhaps the common element in most of the libraries in the book is a central huge space with shelving round the walls and reading facilities on the floor.

The majority of buildings are in Europe, perhaps as expected as some are centuries old: the Library of El Escorial, Madrid dates back to 1592; Joanina Library, Coimbra, Portugal from 1728; Austrian National Library, Vienna was built in 1726. Those from outside Europe tend to reflect local architectural styles and materials. The King Fahd National Library in Riyadh, built in 2013, has an external appearance of desert tents stacked on top of each other, the smallest building in the book, in Beijing and built in 2011 is the LiYuan Library which uses thin tree branches to cover its exterior.

All of the pictures are from a variety of photographers (some libraries are from two or more) and fortunately the colour and style doesn't vary too much. Each library has the architects name and construction date, the only other text is a deep caption (in four languages) and it is here that the book is slightly flawed because several captions have been printed on the photos despite having plenty of empty page space. Mostly the buildings get two spreads each with two or three photos, frequently a spread wide. They are, of course, beautifully printed (with a 175 screen) on a matt art paper.

'Libraries' looks at these fascinating buildings from an architectural angle but the book will intrigue any book lover.

Railway Posters
Railway Posters
par Thierry Favre
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 31,10

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Rolling stock, 2 avril 2014
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Railway Posters (Relié)
One of the specialities of the Victorian era poster was cramming in as much type as possible, the playbill is a classic example but European rail companies took it to extremes judging by the posters in the first few pages of this book. Not only large type for a heading, a main picture and maybe two more but also a route map and amazingly a comprehensive timetables. All this on a four foot deep poster and frequently the route map was as large as the main scenic picture.

By the early years of the twentieth century this very busy poster format had changed to a much more graphic approach with a big picture, headline type and no timetable. The route map though was a constant idea used for decades. Page eighty-six has a 1933 poster for the Italian railways using a very stylised graphic map of the route between Milan and Naples.

Up to the start of the Second World War travelling by train was the way to go, especially long distances. Page fifty-five has a 1928 poster for the twelve day journey from Paris to Peking, via Moscow and Manchuria or the Simplon--Orient Express 1921 French poster on page 148, board the train in Grande Bretagne (I assume in London) and travel across Europe to Turkey, cross the Bosporus by ferry and then onto Syria. The kind of journey that would inspire books and movies and you can still do it today on the Express, though only as far as Constantinople (Istanbul) with a change in Venice.

The posters through the book follow an historical theme from 1887 to 1986. The majority are European with the next largest from the US with several famous ones painted by Leslie Ragan for the New York Central, Australia, Canada, Japan and Egypt are represented. The last chapter looks at Pullman cars and the French company Wagon Lit and the poster selection includes six from the brilliant Cassandre.

Railway Posters (and the companion titles: Ocean Liners; Cars) are lovely reminders of poster art, all in colour, beautifully printed and with mostly one large poster a page. In fact large enough to be suitable for framing if you wanted to create your own transport gallery.

Nightwatch: Painting with Light
Nightwatch: Painting with Light
par Noel Kerns
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 42,00

5.0 étoiles sur 5 The night seen, 14 février 2014
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Nightwatch: Painting with Light (Relié)
An impressive book of night photos revealing abandoned structures that litter the American landscape and following in the footsteps of the master of the genre: Troy Paiva. Though Paiva tends to concentrate on his night painting format Kerns offers a broader view in many of the photos here by using the light of a full moon. Probably more than half the photos use colour from gels placed in front of flashlights and strobes. Sometimes, I thought, this tends to be a hit or miss with a coloured light creating a rather artificial feel but other times, used rather subtlety, it creates quite stunning photos.

The range of places and things captured by Kerns is wonderfully comprehensive. The usual abandoned gas stations on the Interstate and of course the ruins of Detroit but also rusting dead tech, factories, motels, churches, aircraft, military installations and one photo of three train coaches with most of its windows missing.

Like Paiva's 2008 book 'Night vision' this book has captions for all the photos (location and date) but also frequently a few words from Kern's about the place in the photo and what he felt about it. It's not fashionable these days, in art photo books, for photographers to add any text thinking that the photos say it all but reading Kern's comments certainly give his work a lift in my view.

There are no page numbers so I can't say exactly how many photos there are but at least 250 which makes this a value for money title. The book is a handy square format with the photos printed with a 175 screen on a reasonable semi-matt art paper. The whole book is black which unfortunately can show up finger marks easily and I found a slight annoyance with the text, because it isn't a ragged right setting there are lots of uneven spaces between the words (OK a minor point but as a designer I notice these things). Overall though a fascinating collection of night photos and virtually everyone pulls you into the composition, no also rans here.

Around the World: The Atlas for Today.
Around the World: The Atlas for Today.
par Andrew Losowksy
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 45,00

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A visual delight, 10 février 2014
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Around the World: The Atlas for Today. (Relié)
A fascinating book presenting our world through the medium of infographics. Each spread presents a visual treat to reveal, what was initially, statistical information now turned into a pictorial form. None of the graphics were produced for this book so the contents rely on infographics designed over the last decade and appeared originally in print.

The Contents include: The place we call home; Living together; The days the earth stood still; The good life; Fear and loathing; Money makes the world go round; The world is not enough; Our greatest ideas. All fairly obvious though perhaps Fear and loathing needs an explanation, it covers guns, phobias, plane crashes, pandemics, smoking, drugs and because the book's authors take a slightly quirky view of this chapter it opens with a spread on Tarantino and the high number of deaths in his films (the diagram came from 'In graphic's magazine, 2013). I thought the Days the earth stood still chapter had some amazing images about the Titanic, D-day, Berlin airlift, Cuban missile crisis, 9/11 and Fukushima and in particular John Grimwade's beautiful graphics for JFK in Dallas over two spreads

The art of turning words and data into understandable visual material is a challenge and doesn't always come off. Page eighty has a graphic explaining female emancipation in various countries and it's really hard work to draw some conclusions from the visual. The 550 most important US TV shows from the 1940 to 2010 on page 160 is another graphic that isn't as successful as it should have been but throughout the book I thought the standard of work was incredibly high especially the pages that have pc generated illustrations.

All the graphics here appeared elsewhere but for the book the type on the originals has been changed to the same typeface throughout so there is a uniform look to the pages and a few pages need to be turned sideways to accommodate the originals. Usefully the Index includes credits for the artist or designer (and their web sites) sources for the original data and where and when it was first published.

The book takes a fresh, unusual and stimulating look at our world, the curious will not be disappointed.

A5/06 - HFG Ulm: Concise Hisotry of the Ulm School of Design / Kurze Geschichte der Hochschule fur Gestaltung
A5/06 - HFG Ulm: Concise Hisotry of the Ulm School of Design / Kurze Geschichte der Hochschule fur Gestaltung
par Jens Muller
Edition : Broché

4.0 étoiles sur 5 The modernist school, 29 janvier 2014
This brief overview of the Ulm School of Design has an interesting pedigree. Author Rene Spitz says, in his epilogue on the last page, that the idea for the book came from Victor Malsy, Professor of Book Design at the Dusseldorf University of Applied Sciences. Spitz was invited to take part in a seminar about Ulm and part of it involved designing a book about the School of Design. This book is the result with the concept and design by Larissa Rauch and David Fischbach, though the Art Director was Jens Muller.

The book is in three sections: essays dealing with the history, closure and cultural significance of Ulm; a photo section of the campus and leading teachers with long captions about the teaching process and biographies; examples of student work from the four departments (product design / visual communication / industrial construction / information). For an establishment that only existed for fifteen years Ulm certainly earned its reputation as the leading educational institution for modernist design, page fifty-seven gives an interesting statistic: the school only had a capacity for 150 students. In the fifteen years only 540 male and 94 female students enrolled and amazingly taught by 282 lecturers (plus a flow of speakers like Charles Eames, Anton Stankowski, Norbert Wiener and Buckminster Fuller). The essay on the closure blames a lack of funding, Ulm was living beyond its means and the State government was reluctant to take on the debts without changes in how the place was run, the doors closed in 1968.

This is the sixth book in the publisher's A5 format (a series about design) and it follows the same style as the previous books, a paperback but it has a jacket that unfolds to a poster showing parts of the first five Ulm magazine. The editorial is in German and English. It is slightly unfortunate that all of the text after the first section essays is in small type (I estimate six point) which doesn't make for comfortable reading (so four stars). Also many of the pages have rather too much white space, especially in the student work section where most of the interesting photos and graphics could have been much larger.

Spitz says in his epilogue that his book is intended to whet the reader's appetite about the Ulm School of Design, I think he succeeds.

The Art of Rube Goldberg: A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius
The Art of Rube Goldberg: A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius
par Rube Goldberg
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 56,08

5.0 étoiles sur 5 The complete Rube, 24 janvier 2014
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Art of Rube Goldberg: A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius (Relié)
If you are not familiar with the art of Rube Goldberg I would say he is the American equivalent of the British Heath Robinson: both artists drew amazing comical inventions. Both were famous enough for their names to be used in dictionaries (Goldberg in the US Merriam-Webster and Robinson in the Oxford Shorter) as an adjective describing a complex bit of machinery that carries out a simple task. He also made it on a thirty-two cent stamp in 1995.

This large landscape book is an affectionate and wonderful celebration of Goldburg's art with several dozen examples of his cartoon inventions but there was much more to him than that. As well being a cartoonist he produced comedy shorts, wrote newspaper columns, did some screen writing for Twentieth Century Fox, starred in his own TV show, drew editorial cartoons and when he retired in 1964 took up sculpture. The first comic strip, in 1908, was called 'They all look good when they're far away', the crazy invention cartoons started in 1912 and by 1915 his work appeared in newspapers all over America. During the Forties he did more political editorial cartoons and I thought his style was rather similar to the Washington Post's Herblock especially in the use of a textured tone to show depth. He's quoted on page 169 saying "Political cartoons were easier for me than the inventions because they were almost pure idea, and the draftsmanship relatively simple".

Goldberg's delightful invention cartoons frequently had an inspired extra panel, bottom right, sometimes called Foolish Questions where he allowed his offbeat sense of humour to flow. For example on the invention drawing for May 14, 1929 is Foolish Question, number 47,389,100 showing a couple in bed with the word 'meow' in the window frame, she says "Is that a cat?"- he says "No, it's a mule giving an imitation of a mocking bird". Foolish Questions was, in fact, his first real cartoon hit when it started as a single panel in 1908, five hundred were created between 1908 and 1910 and book reprints soon followed.

The book is a treat to look through, the 194 pages probably contain a few hundred graphic items, obviously most are cartoon art but also historical photos and bits of historical ephemera and near the back ads that Goldburg either did the art for or appeared in as celebrity endorsements, book jackets he designed, photos of his sculpture, family Christmas cards and more. All of this is beautifully served up with handsome layouts and typography. A nice touch, I thought, was printing the older cartoons in sepia , sometimes on light sepia pages (all the sepia is four colour created).

Seven writers contribute all you really need to know about Rube, his granddaughter writes a sweet essay about him and I liked Peter Maresca's piece placing Goldberg in the context of American newspaper comics. With the wonderful art, essays and nor forgetting the fun hands-on front cover (your finger controls a tab that moves nine items at once) there will not be a better (looking) book about America's favourite cartoonist.

Colin Reid Glass Sculpture
Colin Reid Glass Sculpture
par Clare Beck
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 49,26

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Reflections on cast glass, 18 janvier 2014
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Colin Reid Glass Sculpture (Relié)
A welcome monograph that looks at the work of Colin Reid, the master of cast glass. In her essay Jennifer Hawkins Opie says that he sort of stumbled into working with glass by applying for a government-backed course on glass-blowing in the early Seventies. No doubt this taught Reid the fundamentals of handling glass though his creative output over the years hasn't been blown-glass (which essentially explores rounded shapes) but cast sculptural forms fired in a kiln.

Opie's essay is heavily illustrated with large colour photos of amazing cast glass that clearly reveals Reid's fondness for shapes found in nature and everyday life, for example there are several photos of two piles of books, both are polished optical glass but one is yellow rather than clear. Another piece is obviously based on several parts of a cello. The essay mentions Reid's commissioned work for companies and government departments. Page fifty-two has a photo of the massive work called Cipher Stone, created in 2003 for GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham. The 78 x 82x 29 inch block was so large it took three months to cool to avoid the glass fracturing (the copy says it was probably commissioned because the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia featured commissioned art).

The second essay in the book (Colin Reid: An American Perspective) by Diane Wright reveals a country much more interested in contemporary glass than either the UK or Europe. Reid has had some considerable success in the States from individual collectors and museums. This essay is also illustrated with large photos mostly featuring work from 2000.

Between the book's two essays is a section called Process, quite fascinating because it shows, with twenty photos, how Reid creates his distinctive work. I thought it was a bit unfortunate that this section didn't have, perhaps, more photos arranged in a step-by-step sequence with deep captions explaining precisely what's involved in plaster, silicone rubber and wax moulds, casting the glass and finally grinding and milling. All this involves several days work and how different from blown glass.

The book is well printed with a hundred photos (eighty in colour) the back pages have a biographical listing with awards, commissions and exhibitions and an Index. A short piece on page 141 I found interesting. It concerns Reid's habit of not naming his work, preferring to use numbers though he admits he was forced to use simple names because galleries and curators wanted more than numbers to use in catalogues. His compromise was to use a simple name but still retain a number for each piece.

Anyone interested in modern art glass will enjoy this book.

30 Years of Swiss Typographic Discourse in the Typografische Monatsblatter: Tm Rsi Sgm 1960-90
30 Years of Swiss Typographic Discourse in the Typografische Monatsblatter: Tm Rsi Sgm 1960-90
par Ecole Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne
Edition : Relié

5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Swiss Look, 9 septembre 2013
This Swiss type magazine had an influence far beyond its small circulation. Classed as a monthly, though there are only ten issues a year, the book looks in detail at the most interesting years of Typografische Monatsblatter (TM). Between 1960 and 1990 there were big editorial changes and a major shift in the industry from craftsman controlled lead setting to computer set type.

TM was a rather unusual magazine, founded in 1933 by a typesetters association it covered all aspects of the Swiss printing industry but also had a strong interest in design education. Many of the covers of TM, up to the late seventies, were designed by students and unusual for a magazine one designer would create all the covers for a year.

The magazine obviously considered at all aspects of the 'Swiss look' but Louise Paradis, the book's author, makes an interesting point in her Intro: the absence of Neue Haas Grotesk (Helvetica) on any TM cover, instead Univers was the dominant face. Typographer and teacher Emil Ruder designed ten, now famous, covers in 1961 with the name of the magazine in various sizes of Univers. The 'Swiss look' is actually in two parts depending on where designers worked: Basel or Zurich. Ruder from Basel favored Univers while Josef Muller-Brockmann and Hans Neuberg in Zurich used Helvetica (but before that Standard Medium and Bold). This was also the city where the influential magazine New Graphic Design originated and helped spread Swiss (Helvetica) design in Europe and America.

The book's five chapters look at all the editorial changes at TM and the way it covered technology and education in the Swiss print industry. Each starts with an essay followed by several pages of generously sized covers and spreads from the magazine. Eleven pages in the back of the book show all the covers from 1960 to 1990 in colour and thumbnail size. There are several fascinating pictorial pages, in colour, showing the way the magazine featured experimental design and typography in the eighties some time before the work of David Carson and Emigre magazine.

The book's design and production is first class (as one would expect from Lars Muller) and the contents will interest anyone working with typography and graphic design. It would certainly be a worthwhile addition to any design school library.

Signs for Peace: A Critical Visual Encyclopedia
Signs for Peace: A Critical Visual Encyclopedia
par Vera Baur Kockot
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 40,00

2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Give Peace a chance, 2 janvier 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Signs for Peace: A Critical Visual Encyclopedia (Broché)
Don't be put off by the word `Impossible...' on the cover, this refers to the on-going search for peace around the world. Though the Institute Design2Context in Zurich did rather set themselves an impossible task in attempting to define Peace visually but I think they succeeded. The 1752 illustrations in this thick book cover every interpretation from the last few decades.

The coverage of Peace is broken down to 105 alphabetical sections and in the broadest possible terms, for instance B covers: Balkans (27); Beauty (12); Bomb (30); Buddha (21); Burma (12). The images are all numbered and get a caption listing on the last page of each section. The range of material is as broad as the coverage: posters (a lot) photos, newspaper front pages, cartoons, logos, paintings, et cetera.

A lot of the graphics will be familiar to you especially the sections devoted to the more general titles like Amnesty International, Cold war, Mines or Weapon. Designers from around the world have created some amazing eye-catching work whereas the images shown in country sections (Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iran or Spain for example) are much less sophisticated, down to earth and primarily designed to be used locally.

I think the authors (and Lars Muller) are to be congratulated for producing a remarkable book of historic and contemporary peaceful graphic ideas.

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