The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

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
0 comments

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
0 comments

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:

July 17, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Trains, Punks, and Photographs

In 2002, 17-year-old Mike Brodie started hopping trains. Over the next five years he took photographs — first using a found Polaroid camera and then an old 35-mm Nikon — documenting his experiences. In the July/August edition of Book Forum, Geoff Dyer … Continue reading

July 16, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

The Photo Man

Mark Kologi collects  found photos. In this weirdly fascinating short film he discusses buying and selling the personal pictures of complete strangers: (Does he remind anyone of Steve Buscemi? Is that just me?)

June 20, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

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 12, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Art Shay: The Sporting Life and Times

A short film about writer and photographer Art Shay, who shot pictures regularly for Sports Illustrated, Time, Life, Fortune, the Saturday Evening Post, Forbes, Business Week, Parade and the New York Times Magazine: An exhibition of Shay’s photographs, ‘Art Shay: … Continue reading

June 11, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

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

June 10, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Kodak: Bankrupted By Its Own Innovations

In an interesting piece on the decline of Kodak, Kenny Suleimanagich describes how it was not simply a reluctance to innovate that caused problems at the company, it was that they brought their innovations to market too early: No matter what … Continue reading

April 5, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

The Man — An interview with the talented Seb Lester, typographer and artist, at The Raw Book: People may associate me with flourished calligraphy and intricate formal script styles, but I don’t want to be known as a stylist because I … Continue reading

March 28, 2013
by Dan
2 Comments

Bert Stern: The Original Mad Man

A new documentary about American photographer Bert Stern:    The movie has been playing across the US and will open in New York next week. There are no Canadian dates that I could see. (via Coudal)

February 22, 2013
by Dan
9 Comments

You’ll Never Get Anywhere Like That

Or a Few Thoughts on the Cover Design of The Bell Jar (An Illustrated Essay of Sorts) In his recent essay ‘Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport’ designer Michael Bierut (author of 79 Short Essays on Design) suggested that … Continue reading

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