This was supposed to be a top 10 list for 2014, but I’ve been so busy living life instead of blogging about it that I had to push this to be a list of best of prints that I’ve recently picked up. This is, of course, in no definite order, but it’s recently printed material that I’m glad I’ve been able to get my hands on.
Issey Miyake: Photographs by Irving Penn
Irving Penn was one of what I like to call the “gods of photography” (lower case g). Penn’s skill was because of his simplicity. He was one of the earliest photographers to put a subject against a simple background or corner and use that to great effect. You’ve seen portraits by Penn even if you didn’t know it was Penn. He was painstakingly into the details of the every image - whether it was Picasso, Pacino, or a bowl of fruit - that’s what made Penn’s images were very distinct. So when I came across a book of Issey Miyake images all shot by Penn AND it was a first printing, I had to scoop immediately. I don’t own any Miyake pieces, but I’ve been a fan of his work for years. Published in 1988, this is the first volume about Miyake’s work released in the United States. This is also the first time Penn accepted a commission from a fellow artist for a book-length of material.
The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon
This was a recommendation from a friend of mine that’s also a photographer and big book collector. Originally published in 1968 right before Easy Rider came out, this edition is the first Aperture books edition. To me, Danny Lyon’s work is still ahead of its time, though I wasn’t too familiar with his work by name before I gravitated to his style of photojournalism. The Bikeriders project was started in 1963, when Lyons was beginning his career in photography. Lyons spent time with the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club and forged a close relationship with them over that time. In addition to the posed and candid photos, Lyons interviews a few members of the club he had a chance to spend time with.
Philosophy Zine No. 0-4
Wtaps is personally one of my favorite labels, and years before I was able to get my hands on my first Taps piece, I knew of Tet. Any interview, online or in a magazine, I could find I would scoop up. Around 2005, after Tet (aka Tetsu Nishiyama) opened up his Philosophy store, he started publishing Philosophy 'Zine. I saw photos of the covers online, which were always ill to me; very clean in the layout. I tried for years to get my hands on them and could never find a copy. Finally, a few weeks ago, I was able to track down all of the issues together in mint condition. Philosophy 'Zine was way ahead of its time and still resonates today. Published in Tokyo with both Japanese and English text, Tet said he wanted to use Philosophy 'Zine as a way to share their ideas. Each issue had a '36th Chamber of Philosophy, where they highlighted some of the books they were reading at the time, as well as a music section along with feature stories on Tokyo natives and a guest column called “Kulture” by A-ron the Downtown Don. Along with guests such as Kid Yamamoto, Jason Jessee, Serge Girard, and Tommy Guerrero. As far as content, images, and layout, this is probably my favorite zine collection.
Last Is More: Mies, IBM and the Transformation of Chicago
For years I’ve taken Chicago’s architecture for granted. It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago, when I took the architectural boat tour again, that I learned to really appreciate the variety of styles Chicago has. From there I developed an appreciation of Mies van der Rohe’s style and his school of thought. I’ve been looking for books on Mies’s work and came across this one that focuses on his work in Chicago. It looks at each building and what it took to bring them to fruition. It also talks with a few of his students and looks at his influence on their style.
Aperture Magazine 216 “Fashion”
For Aperture’s Fall issue, they focused on the theme of fashion and allowed the photography duo Inez & Vinoodh to curate the entire issue. I’ve been a fan of Inez & Vinoodh’s work for a few years and have always appreciated how their work is respected in the commercial photography world as well as the art world. For this issue, they took a look back at a few iconic fashion photographers and their groundbreaking styles. They also looked at a few pioneering magazines like i-D, The Face, and Jill. I recommend this to any one that has a interest in fashion, or someone that wants to learn the history of strong fashion imagery.
Loiter by Jima
I first learned about Jima’s work from constantly looking at Nepenthes NY’s blog and site. Nepenthes and Engineered Garments have always had strong imagery to me; not to mention ill styling. With CD and liner notes, I’ve always been curious who’s the one behind the scenes that helped put a project together with such good imagery. I’m always curious who shot it, styled it, and who helped to put it all together. Jima’s work seems to be in the same school of work that I would like to put my own work in. It’s a hands off, candid, and very unobtrusive documentarian style. Nepenthes is on my short list of shops I like to stop by whenever I’m in NY, so when I learned that they had a zine he puts out, I had to get my hand on all of them. I’m still looking for issue number one, so if any one has it and wants to come off of it, please get at me. Besides Philosophy 'Zine, the Loiter series is the best format of zine I’ve seen. I hope to have my own work published in such a format sooner rather than later.
The Legend of Harajuku Goro’s Vol. 1
I don’t quite remember the first time I learned about Goro’s. It may have been from the owners of Saint Alfred when I first saw them with feathers, beads, rings, and bracelets. The more and more I learned about Goro-san, the more I wanted a piece of my own and to learn more about the man behind the work. What I did learn about his story and his passion for his work gave me a greater appreciation for anyone that pours his soul into his work; whatever it may be. Unfortunately, many are not able to choose the path they would like to go in as far as their career. Goro-san’s story can act as a reminder to push through and do what makes you happy, and that will also then bring happiness to others. I refused to look for this book until I was able to get a feather for myself. Once that happened, me finding this book kind of fell into my lap. This book has a variety of photos from Goro-san as well as a few interviews and articles.
Hiroshi Fujiwara: Fragment
There’s nothing I can say about Hiroshi-san that hasn’t already been said. His influence on “streewear” is well known, as well as his influence on design and music. This book was a must-grab for the collection of his works I already own. For me, it’s interesting to see the non-footwear pieces he’s had a hand in designing and releasing. This book is still available, isn’t expensive, and I recommend it to anyone who has a love of footwear, garments, or design.
Stroking It by Nathan Vanhook
Everyone has seen Nathan’s work. He’s the designer behind such Nike silhouettes as the Woven Footscape Chukka, the LunarTerra Arktos, the Yeezy II, and the Orbit Free II - among a variety of other shoes. Aside from his work for Nike, I learned about his work as a painter from his blog. I missed a show he put on at One Grand Gallery, but I bugged a few friends at Nike to see if they could get me a copy of the zine he released at the show. No one was able to get me one, but a few months later, a few mutual friends introduced us while Nate was in Chicago and we had a chance to chill and build. When Nate got back to Oregon, he was kind enough to send me a copy.
Mono Kultur #27 Ryan McGinley: Daydreaming
I’ve been a fan of McGinley’s work and use of colors for years - dude was the reason I first picked up a T4. I don’t follow his work as closely as I used to, but definitely still am a fan. I was at a random book store in Cali and came across this small Berlin-based interview magazine called Mono Kultur. Their philosophy is one issue, one interview. For this issue they talk with McGinley and look at his work from 1999 to 2011. McGinley talks about the first ten years of his career, his memories of Dash Snow, and the process of his work. This issue is from 2011 but copies are still available on Mono Kultur’s site.