Showing posts with label photographs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photographs. Show all posts

Book Review: Abandoned Industrial Places: Factories, Laboratories, Mills and Mines that the World Left Behind by David Ross

Abandoned Industrial Places: Factories, Laboratories, Mills and Mines that the World Left Behind by David Ross explores the discarded detritus of our modern mechanized age. Discover the grand Ore Dock in Marquette, USA, squatting isolated in the waters of Lake Superior; or the abandoned Caspian Sea oil rigs and drilling gear in Azerbaijan; or the enormous, gaping pit of the Mirny diamond mine in Sakha Republic, Russia; or the wall of latticed steel towers of the Duga radar in Chernobyl, Ukraine; or the Domino Sugar Refinery, Brooklyn, New York – formerly the world’s largest sugar refinery when built in 1882; or the still contaminated Fisher Body Plant 21 in Detroit, USA, a place where General Motors created some of their great marques for almost a hundred years. Filled with more than 200 memorable photographs from every part of the planet, Abandoned Industrial Places provides a strange and often spooky insight into the life and workings of industries long since ceased.
Abandoned Industrial Places is a beautiful book. I grew up splitting my time between a small greenhouse and a small manufacturing company (my family was very busy). Because of that industrial locations and machinery are special to me, and I have always seen a special kind of beauty in it while others just saw grease and metal. I thought the pictures were nicely varied, in industry and location. The colors of the buildings, machinery, and in some cases nature reclaiming space were attention grabbing. Some were bold, others muted, but they were well balanced. I really enjoyed studying the photographs and thinking about the impact the rise and fall of each of these locations had on their communities and the individuals that worked there- and how many small moments have been forgotten over the years.

Abandoned Industrial Places is a fascinating look at locations that have been abandoned over the years. Some images are beautiful, others are haunting, but they are all thought provoking. 

Early Book Review: Rail Journeys by David Ross

Rail Journeys by David Ross is currently scheduled for release on March 14 2020. There is always a sense of adventure when going on a railway journey. Whether it is aboard the Orient Express from London to Istanbul, or travelling the Transcontinental railroad through the Canadian Rockies to the Pacific coast, or riding the Serra Verde Express through the Brazilian rainforest, With 200 outstanding colour photographs, Rail Journeys  takes the reader on a journey through some of the most unusual, romantic and remarkable landscapes in the world. Places where trains still offer romantic and astounding experiences of rail travel at its best.
Rail Journeys offers readers a combination of accessible text and stunning images of railroads and trains. Readers can glimpse the Coast Starlight, which carries passengers from Los Angeles along the Pacific coast to Seattle and all points in between. Then there is the 7,000 kilometre Trans-Siberian, crossing the entirety of Mongolia and Russia from Beijing to Moscow. Some many unique and fascinating images and details about train travel around the world. I found myself studying the images of landscapes, stations, tunnels, and trains more intensely that I thought I would. I was captivated by the images more than anything else, but when I took the time to read the text I found it to be interesting and informative. I am very much a homebody, but think train travel would be one of the few ways I would be glad to travel.  I just loved the photography so much that it over-shadowed the work that must have gone into that text even though it was well done.  

Rail Journeys is a book that I could see as a great gift for train and travel lovers alike. I know a could people that are train enthusiasts that I think would fully appreciate this book. 

Book Review: After the Final Curtain: America’s Abandoned Theaters by Matt Lambros

After the Final Curtain: America’s Abandoned Theaters by Matt Lambros documents the current state of the once opulent movie theaters that were designed to make their patrons feel like royalty.  People would dress up to visit. But as time went on it became harder and harder to fill the 2,000+ seat theaters and many were forced to close. Today, these palaces are illuminated only by the flicker of dying lights. The sound of water dripping from holes in the ceiling echoes through the auditoriums. From the supposedly haunted Pacific Warner Theatre in Los Angeles to the Orpheum Theatre in New Bedford, MA ― which opened the same day the Titanic sank ― Lambros pulls back the curtain to reveal what is left, giving these palaces a chance to shine again.

After the Final Curtain: America’s Abandoned Theaters offers readers a look at the once beautiful movie theaters in their current states, along with information on the location. I found a sad beauty in most of the pictures, a faded grandeur and a look at what was glorious inthe past. I have always loved theaters- the magic and wonder in getting lost in a story and someone's acting or musical talent  isa wonderful thing. The faded glory of these theaters hold on to some of this wonder, as sad as the state of some of these buildings are in. I think that Lambros did a wonderful job of documenting these locations, and the changes in the world that triggered some of this decay. I really enjoyed learning about some of the projects that have happened, and are still happening, to preserve, restore, or repurpose some of these buildings. While we cannot go back, providing space for history and the arts to live on is a wonderful thing. I only wish more of these buildings had futures as bright as their pasts.

Book Review: Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed Again (and More Heartwarming Letters from Kitty) by Jeremy Greenberg

Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed Again (and More Heartwarming Letters from Kitty) by Jeremy Greenberg is a collection of funny letters and heartwarming photos from cats to their person. Tess wants you to know that she intends to continue throwing up freely as long as the new baby gets to—fair is fair. Ovid would like to inform you that he’s giving up one of his nine lives in order to avoid a visit to the vet—he’ll miss you and knows you understand. And Quinn assures you that she’ll protect you from whatever it is that’s rolled under the table with all the righteous fury in her little body—even if only turns out to be a dropped olive.

Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed Again is an amusing book with short letters from felines to their humans. Cat lovers will relate to the letters, and find some humor there. Every cat owner has had at least one of these situations, if not more, in their homes. The letters are clever, with different tones depending on the cat it was attributed to. The pictures of the cats were enjoyable to look at, with some that were fairly standard pictures and others that had goofy or interesting expressions. As a whole the book was a fun diversion for a few minutes. It is not a book that I would add to my collection, but it might be a good gift for very devoted cat lovers. 

Early Book Review: Close to Birds: An Intimate Look at Our Feathered Friends by Roine Magnusson, Mats Ottosson, Asa Ottosson, Kira Josefsson

Close to Birds: An Intimate Look at Our Feathered Friends was written by Mats Ottosson and Asa Ottosson will photographs by Roine Magnusson and the translation to English by Kira Josefsson. It is currently scheduled for release on October 22 2019. The stunning and intimate photographs capture the beauty and detail of each bird's form, as well as their unique character and personality. The accompanying short essays share charming and often-hidden details from birds' lives. Discover why robins sing so early in the morning and learn the science behind the almost magical iridescence of mallard feathers. Close to Birds shares the irresistible joy and marvel of birds.
Close to Birds is an interesting read. I like that I learned about the birds included, not the basics of habitat and diet, but the scientific studies and opinions on the birds with the inclusion of quotes about them. I do need to admit that I have a different opinion from the authors, and that we diverged right away. I find birds fascinating and interesting, but unlike our authors I do not find that all people find them more interesting than other creatures. So, this insistence that birds are so much more interesting than other creatures bothered me from the start. However, the essays were accessible and had some tidbits of information that were interesting. The star of this book is not the text. Rather the stunning photography of birds that captured them clearly, up close, and in living color. The images were very much worth my time and I think animal lovers, and birders in particular, will want to give this a look. Those that are birders and share a deep love of birds will very much enjoy the essays as well.

Early Book Review: Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago's South Side by Lee Bey

Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago's South Side by Lee Bey is currently scheduled for release on October 15 2019. Inspired by Bey’s 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial exhibition, Southern Exposure visits sixty sites, including lesser-known but important work by luminaries such as Jeanne Gang, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Eero Saarinen, as well as buildings by pioneering black architects such as Walter T. Bailey, John Moutoussamy, and Roger Margerum. Pushing against the popular narrative that depicts Chicago’s South Side as an architectural wasteland, Bey shows beautiful and intact buildings and neighborhoods that reflect the value—and potential—of the area. Southern Exposure offers much to delight architecture aficionados and writers, native Chicagoans and guests to the city alike.
Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago's South Side is a lovely book of photography with well written and interesting information about the buildings pictured.The tone was very conversational, making it an enjoyable read.  It was very interesting to learn about the history surrounding some of the locations, as well as the current uses, and hope for the future. I have never been to Chicago, and have no current plans, so I was glad to see a piece of the city, particularly since it does not always receive this kind of attention. I think those from the area, and those that are interested in architecture, photography, and Chicago's history will all get a great deal from exploring this book. 

Book Review: American Carnival by David Skernick

American Carnival by David Skernick captures the magic of the rides and games and the carnies and clowns who make the carnival their home. Meet Kat the sword swallower, Ember the fire eater, and the Human Fuse, Brian Miser, who sails through the air on fire! As day fades to dusk and the lights come up, smell the cotton candy, feel the vertigo of the Silver Yo Yo, and hear the laughter and screams. The panoramic images allow you to see the fair as if you were standing there yourself. 
American Carnival is a look at the surface of carnivals. The games, the rides, and the people. Some of the images were stunning, and I loved the work with lighting and the way he let the subjects of the images choose their own poses and stance. I do wish we could have seen more, perhaps some of the less bright and bold of the carnival, but I am more interested in the down and dirty of the work that actually goes into making this look that exciting than the facade. The photography was well done, but and some of the little stories about taking them were amusing, but I felt like there is so much more that could be done with the subject matter.  

Book Review: Minibeasts: True Rulers of Our World and the Key to our Survival by Alan Henderson

Minibeasts: True Rulers of Our World and the Key to our Survival by Alan Henderson offers readers insight into the micro world of the minibeasts reveals the critical roles these true rulers of our world play in our future survival. Simply put, without the invertebrates (insects) and other tiny critters, humans would not survive. While outlining the importance of the minibeast world, this book is also a visual feast of detail and color, capturing form and behavior that the naked eye isn’t normally able to see when encountering these small creatures. The result is a book that captivates the reader while at the same time inspiring a new appreciation for these magnificent animals. Lavishly illustrated with breathtaking macro-photography, each chapter focuses on a specific aspect of minibeasts and includes introductory text followed by images and informative captions. Among the topics covered are the jobs minibeasts perform that enable life on earth to exist, as well as the ways in which they have evolved to suit their environments and how we borrow ideas from them in the fields of biotechnology, engineering and design. As we will come to realize, from new medical drugs to hi-tech robotics, minibeasts provide a wealth of material for humans to draw on to help solve our 21-century problems.

Minibeasts is a fascinating book for the photography alone. The close up images of the insects are simply amazing ad well worth looking at all on their own. Add in the details about their adaptation and tricks to survive and this book is one that will stand up to multiple explorations. So many people think of the little creatures of the world as nothing more than pests or problems, but this book shows us the complexity, beauty, and ingenuity of these creatures as well as the role the play in the world.  The text is solid, in depth enough that I learned a great deal and was highly engaged, but not so technical that I ever felt left behind or talked down to. There is even some humor in the chapter headings and information, so there is really nothing I can find to say against reading this book- unless of course the very idea of anything creepy crawly makes you shudder.  I think that young adults and interested middle graders would get just as much from this book as any interested adult. 

Minibeasts is a visually stunning book and a very informative read. I think that this should be in libraries and personal collections for anyone that is even vaguely interested in photography, biology, and the natural world.

Book Review: Terra Flamma: Wildfires at Night by Stuart Palley

Terra Flamma: Wildfires at Night by Stuart Palley is a book full of full color photographs and first hand account of wildfires. From the towering pines of Shasta Trinity National Forest, to the chaparral scrub of San Diego's Mexican border, to Yosemite and the Western Sierras, trained wildland firefighter and photojournalist Stuart Palley documents California's raging wildfires and the forces behind them during the state's worst fire season in modern history. The dramatic images, a half-decade in the making, capture the simultaneous beauty and destruction that wildfires bring as fire seasons get longer and more deadly, expensive, and destructive.In the wake of California's record-breaking series of wildfires in 2017, theimages encompass five fire seasons and forty-five fires. They are presented chronologically and culminate with the wine country fire siege that devastated Sonoma and Napa counties in October 2017 and the Thomas Fire in Southern California, the largest in recorded state history. This timely book defines the state's drought and urban sprawl challenges, drawing a broader picture of global warming and its acute effects worldwide.

Terra Flamma: Wildfires at Night is a book that I could not let go of, or stop thinking about after I finished my first read through. The images are stunning, not just because of the beauty inherent in the colors and landscape but because of the inherent nature of the fires. The danger and destruction these fires bring is devastating, even though friendships and awareness often come in their wake as well. Living on the other side of the country I have sympathize and felt horrified for those that have lost everything in the wake of these fires, and worried for the environment and animals that have suffered. However, I never could wrap my mind around the full experience being there, being involved, or seeing the fires in person could give people. I know I still do not have a full understanding, having never been there, but I feel like I have more knowledge and awareness of everything involved. 
Terra Flamma: Wildfires at Night is both beautiful and terrifying. The photographs are stunning, and the text gives the horrible beauty the context or the danger and destruction involved in the fires. 

Book Review: Radiant: Farm Animals Up Close and Personal by Traer Scott

Radiant: Farm Animals Up Close and Personal by Traer Scott is a combination of photography and animal memoirs. Gregarious or shy, curious or placid, playful or retiring, all the animals in Traer Scott's newest collection have one thing in common: a sparkling personality! This whimsical, soulful, and personal photo collection focuses on the lives of the farm animals we often take for granted. Scott introduces us to barnyard animals both familiar and lesser known, from cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens to Dolly the woolly llama, Bianca the Sicilian miniature donkey, Percy the Indian peafowl, and Justice the yak. Some of the animals are kept as pets; others are denizens of farm sanctuaries that Scott has visited. She shares her anecdotes about a Texas longhorn steer whose best friends are a trio of goats, a turkey who likes to snack on grapes and watermelon, and many others. Lively captions provide information on each breed, to round out this enchanting tribute to our four-legged (and winged) friends from the farm.

Radiant: Farm Animals Up Close and Personal is a wonderful look at the personalities and lives of various animals that have found their way to animal sanctuaries and loving homes. Some have lived through horrible situations, abuse, or health complications while others have known nothing but loving care. The variety of animals, and their stories, made this book perfect for reading as a whole, or four browsing through to find a specific animal or story that really captures the heart or attention in the moment. I enjoyed reading about the happy endings some of the abused animals found, and the work that people are doing to save animals in need and to preserve and protect species that are on the decline. I have already been working to reduce my carbon footprint and the affect my lifestyle has on the world and animals we share it with. However, while this book does not chide people for their choices, it does encourage them to be more thoughtful and aware of how their choices can have an impact, and that small changes can help. Small changes add up, and I am planning on continuing to make some of those small changes to continue decreasing the negative impact I make, and to increase the positive. 

I really like that there is a list of the animal sanctuaries and related organizations at the end of the book. I encourage readers to look through that list and find one reasonable close to you, or doing work that means something to you, and follow up on the contact information given to see how you might be able to help. Not all of us can give monetarily, or help muck stalls or whatever. However I bet there is some way we can all support these organizations and help their work- such as organizing field trips, fundraisers, or simply just helping to spread the word about what their biggest need might be at the moment.

Book Review: Secret Houses of the Cotswolds by Jeremy Musson, Hugo Rittson Thomas

Secret Houses of the Cotswolds is a nonfiction book written by Jeremy Musson and with photographs by Hugo Rittson Thomas, that takes readers on a personal tour of twenty of the UK’s most beguiling castles, estates, palaces and manor houses in this much-loved area of western England. Estates visited include Daylesford, Stanway, Sudeley Castle and Hilles House. This collection offers privileged access to twenty houses, from castles and manor houses, as well as eighteenth- and nineteenth-century mansions, revealing their history, architecture and interiors, in the company of their devoted owners. Readers will find a series of fascinating country houses of different sizes and atmospheres, which have shaped the English identity. Each house has their own story, but their distinctive honey-colored stone walls, set among rolling hills, in different ways express the ideals of English life. Most of the houses included here are privately owned and not usually open to the public. 
Secret Houses of the Cotswolds is a wonderful book to read if you are a fan of English estates and architecture, or just want to learn more about the styles. The information is well framed in understandable and interesting ways to hold the researcher or curious reader's attention. I will admit that I mostly picked this book up for the photographs. And I was not disappointed. I loved getting a detailed and revealing look at some of these estates. It was just an interesting read, and a visually stunning book that has me going back to glance at my favorite pages again and again. Anyone interested in architecture, decorating, or art will find something to capture their attention in this book. Readers that just love getting an exclusive look at something, or love all things English will also want to take a gander at this beautiful book. 

Book Review: Under Dogs by Andrius Burba

Under Dogs by Andrius Burba is a book of dog photography showing our furry friends from an unexpected perspective--from underneath. In the vein of bestsellers like Underwater Dogs and Shake; Under Dogs is an unique look at man's best friend. The images of dogs taken from below are by turns surprising and hilarious—providing readers with a little-seen view of the pets we love.
Under Dogs is a book of dog photographs like none you have ever seen before. I like that there were a variety of breeds, and often the dogs are just being cute, goofy, or weird- not always perfectly posed and behaved. The images are crisp and clean, and the constancy of the background and set up made the similarities and differences of the different dogs stand out. It was interesting to see some breeds that I had never even heard of before, and some more popular dogs. My daughter (animal obsessed third grader) and I flipped through the book together a few times, enjoying the images. If you love animals, dogs in particular, and want a unique view of them this is a delightful book to take some time and enjoy.