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Friday, November 10, 2017

Book Photography

I love books.   I even love photographs of books.  I own a copy of A Book about Books with photographs by Abelardo Morell.  It has 52 black-and-white photographs of unusual books.  For once, I agree with a book jacket blurb:  “A visual tribute to the printed word, this sumptuous ode to books will be irresistible to anyone who treasures the touch of fine paper.”

Now there’s another book I’d like to add to my collection:  Expired by Kerry Mansfield.  According to Hyperallergic, this book from the San Francisco-based photographer features over 70 images of discarded library books, each posed against a black background for a post-withdrawal portrait.

“’Each picture serves as an homage calling out palpable echoes etched into the pages by a margin-scrawled note, a yellowed coffee splatter or sticky peanut butter and jelly fingerprints,’ writes Mansfield in a book essay. ‘It’s easy to feel a sense of abuse and loss, but they say much more. They show the evidence of everyone that has touched them, because they were well read, and often well-loved. They were not left on shelves, untouched.’
“The dog-eared pages of To Kill a Mockingbird, a copy of Lad: A Dog that has a chunk missing from its cover (perhaps taken by canine teeth?), crayon scribbles on The Velveteen Rabbit, the broken spine of Treasure Island, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame braced by tape, all recall the shared experience of library literature. Mansfield’s photographs give these imperfections a quiet dignity” (https://hyperallergic.com/403659/loved-to-death-a-photographers-tribute-to-discarded-library-books/).   

The Hyperallergic article has some photographs; the book itself can be purchased from the photographer:  http://www.kerrymansfield.com/expiredthebook/.   Apparently, she plans to do a second volume as well.