The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

May 25, 2017
by Dan
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Gerhard Steidl is Making Books an Art Form

Rebecca Mead’s long profile of publisher Gerhard Steidl for The New Yorker is a wonderful, fascinating read: Each Steidl title is unique, printed with a bespoke combination of inks and papers. But to the informed eye, and the informed hand, … Continue reading

October 20, 2016
by Dan
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William Eggleston, the Pioneer of Color Photography

Augusten Burroughs’ strange and sad profile of photographer William Eggleston for T, the New York Times Style Magazine: WE LEAVE THE OFFICES of the Eggleston Trust and go to his apartment. The first thing one sees upon entering is a bright red … Continue reading

October 23, 2015
by Dan
1 Comment

TypeChap on the Beauty of Decaying Typographic Signage

Website Typorn talks to Stephen ONeill about his photographs of found type, lettering, and signs, TypeChap: “I’m always on the look out for the vernacular and spectacular, documenting beautiful old letters and signage before they disappear… Through my photographs I want to provide … Continue reading

July 3, 2015
by Dan
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Robert Frank: The Man Who Saw America

This weekend’s New York Times Magazine has a remarkable profile of photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank by writer Nicholas Dawidoff: Frank absorbed artistic influences all over New York. Edward Hopper’s moody office-scapes, restaurant interiors and gas pumps were not in … Continue reading

February 21, 2014
by Dan
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Tate Shots: William Eggleston

“William Eggleston never takes multiple shots of the same image, just the right picture at just the right moment.” Curator Simon Baker discusses the work of photographer William Eggleston, currently on display at the Tate Modern in London:

February 6, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Truth. Beauty. Bailey.

“Are you filming, or am I wasting my fucking time?” A short film by Jamie Roberts about British fashion photographer David Bailey, who I will forever associate with David Hemmings propeller-purchasing photographer in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow-Up: The film was commissioned … Continue reading

January 13, 2014
by Dan
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Saul Leiter: No Project, Only Pictures

I missed this when it was posted last month: Brian Dillon on New York photographer Saul Leiter, who died on November 26th, for the London Review of Books blog: Leiter used cheap film that gave his images a muted quality, … Continue reading

November 28, 2013
by Dan
3 Comments

Teju Cole on Photographer Saul Leiter

Teju Cole, author of Open City and a photographer himself, on the late Saul Leiter at The New Yorker: The content of Saul Leiter’s photographs arrives on a sort of delay: it takes a moment after the first glance to … Continue reading

November 12, 2013
by Dan
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Everybody Street

Everybody Street is a new documentary about the lives and work of New York’s street photographers and the city that inspires them. The film features photographer Bruce Davidson, Elliott Erwitt, Jill Freedman, Bruce Gilden, Joel Meyerowitz, Rebecca Lepkoff, Mary Ellen Mark, … Continue reading

September 12, 2013
by Dan
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TateShots: Ed Ruscha’s Photography Books

In this new TateShots video, artist Ed Ruscha talks about the “cultural curiosities” — the gas stations, swimming pools and parking lots of Los Angeles — that he photographed for his books:

June 20, 2013
by Dan
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Cartier-Bresson: “photographs are like a Chekhov short story”

On the New York Times Lens blog today there is first part of an interview with the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Conducted by journalist and filmmaker Sheila Turner-Seed in Cartier-Bresson’s Paris studio in 1971, the interview was apparently for a film-strip series on … Continue reading

June 11, 2013
by Dan
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Garry Winogrand: The Photographer as Addict

Geoff Dyer reflects on the recent Garry Winogrand exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (or its catalogue, at least) at the London Review of Books: The more you feed the Winogrand habit the more Winogrand you crave. Partly this … Continue reading

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