Blogs: Arts

In the past few weeks, these new books about photography arrived on the shelves at Central Library, each with a different emphasis for a particular group of photographers. Link to the titles below to place holds for delivery to your closest branch of the Multnomah County Library system.

Michael Freeman's PhotoSchool Fundamentals
This guidebook has an unusual format: it is organized much like a book version of an online class. The author introduces a group of people with a range of skills in photography, who try out the experiments with exposure, lighting, composition, and editing that the author presents.  The reader is invited to participate as well in each of the assignments and follow along with comments by the "class" and Michael Freeman, to learn how to capture image effects in a variety of conditions. Written in a conversational style, this book strikes a good balance between images and text, and is useful for anyone wanting to learn more about how to use a digital camera. Follow along in sequential fashion, or skip around among the topics, though the book has a basic direction from basic to more advanced.

 

 

Monochromatic HDR Photography by Harold Davis Focal Press bookcoverMonochromatic HDR Photography : Shooting and Processing Black & White High Dynamic Range Photos.
"The best way to consider the shapes in your composition is to abstract them from the nature of the subject matter. You can use your camera's in-camera black and white capabilities to pre-visualize with lines and shapes. When the color is removed, do the shapes work just as a mass of tonalities or does there seem to be a defined structure? Think of yourself as an abstract expressionist painter rather than a photographer, and imagine the dark and light strokes that would make up your composition as you frame it in your camera. Thinking this way, you'll soon get the gist of composing creative digital monochromiatic images."  - Harold Davis in Monochromatic HDR Photography.


The Handbook of Bird Photography
This book is for people whose interests in wildlife photography take them far beyond the two titles described above, in terms of preparation for photography, equipment, and knowledge of the ecology of bird species. It covers technical aspects of close-up photography in a wide range of light and weather conditions. Mostly a book of graphics, the photographs of birds include notes about camera models, settings, and other equipment used. This book is well worth reading for specialists; but at a more basic level both interesting and instructive for people who want to take better photographs in their immediate surroundings.


Surreal Photography: Creating the Impossible
The first premise of the book Surreal Photography is to have a concept of the surreal: "It might help to think of the process of creating a surreal image as a recipe: here is what you want to create, these are the things that you will need to achieve it, and these are the steps you will need to take in the process." The author applies this basic formula to the construction of surreal images, that may be the outcome of happy accidents, use of camera controls, or by editing with computer software. Chapters cover an array of techniques and equipment, ranging from cameraphones through DSLR cameras available as of the publication date of 2013. Use as a springboard for adding skills with image effects. Find more books on this approach to photography by searching using the phrase Alternative Photographic Processes in the Multnomah County Library catalog.


Color: A Photographer's Guide to Directing the Eye, Creating Visual Depth, and Conveying Emotion
Written by a photographer and teacher who is excited by the limitless possibilities of his subject, this book explains how to take advantage of a range of light conditions and time of day to take compelling photographs. The many images include exposure settings, lenses used, and written descriptions on a range of themes, such as sky, water, portraits and crowd scenes. A final chapter about black and white photography provides interesting comparisons between color originals and black/white versions of images for the strengths of each interpretation.

 


 

Wild Beauty Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge 1867-1957 bookcover imageCompiled and written by Terry Toedtemeier and John Laursen, Wild Beauty is a collection of historic and contemporary photographs of the Columbia Gorge, the first publication of the Northwest Photography Archive, that Toedtemeier and Laursen founded to publish books of Pacific Northwest photography. The authors selected images from the Oregon Historical Society and private collections, many previously unpublished, that were skillfully reproduced in digital formats to match the originals. "Working with Oregon State University Press, they chose to make the Columbia River Gorge the focus of their inaugural volume, in support of which they received the state's first award under the American Masterpieces Initiative from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Oregon Arts Commission." A copy of this book was given to each public library in Oregon and Washington, through support by Jim Scheppke, of the Oregon State Library, and corporate funding.

"In Wild Beauty Terry Toedtemeier and John Laursen provide an affectionate and enlightening study of photography in earlier times in the Columbia River Gorge. This book is a first-class pleasure, both for its wonderful pictures and for the authors’ clear and compelling writing about the photographs’ geographical and historical context. It is an achievement that gives hope to all who want art to engage the world." - Robert Adams, photographer. Review source: Northwest Photography Archive.

Link: Northwest Photography Archive

Sir George Grove, editor of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians circa 1890A Brief History

Generations of musicians and librarians have relied upon the various editions of George Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians for answering music questions. At Central Library, the earliest edition is the 4-volume edition published by Macmillan in 1890. When the last print edition was published in 2001, the representatives from Oxford University Press told us at a conference that this would be the very last print edition.

Reading the preface to a book is often a good way to get a sense of the author's ideas.  A comparison of the preface in the 1st edition of 1890 to the 2001 print edition reveals the passage of time toward our global society. Not surprisingly, the first edition is intentionally eurocentric: "All investigations into the music of barbarous nations have been have been avoided, unless they have some direct bearing on European music." as Sir George wrote in the preface.

For the most recent print edition in 2001, editor Stanley Sadie wrote: "Our express intention is to spread the net more widely and to trawl more deeply. Thus more composers globally are entered, more countries are represented, and countries whose representation was in 1980 hampered by political factors are now considered on the same basis (at least as far as communications permit) as the main Western democracies."

The most recent edition of Grove's is not in print but online, available to you through the Multnomah County Library website with your MCL library card. Though based on the last print edition of 2001, the online version is different from the print, with new and revised articles, and features that have been added in the past 12 years. The current editor, Deane L. Root, describes the Grove as continually evolving, and more responsive to input from readers/researchers:

In online writing and publication, prior versions of articles are often not retained when an article is updated with new content.

However, "In 2008, the editiors of Oxford Music Online began retaining selections of previous versions of articles in Grove Music Online that have been significantly revised. When a previous version of an article is available, a link (dated according to when the version was created) appears in the left-hand panel of the page. The decision to create a previous version is based on the nature of the revision. As a general rule, if the editors believe that making a previous version available on the site will provide added value to the reader, the version is created. The most common cases involve articles with extensive changes, with content both added and removed, but sometimes the revision could affect as little as one sentence."

How to search by name, occupation, or nationality in Oxford Music Online:

  1. Link to Oxford Music Online with your library card from Multnomah County: Oxford Music Online
  2. Link to Advanced Search for the best results.
  3. Select 'Biography Search.'
  4. In the 'Search for' fields, type name, occupation, nationality, or place of birth.
  5. Check Grove Music Online for full entries.
  6. Press SEARCH

A few selections of features of Oxford Music Online:

Not finding what you are looking for?

Link to the search guide or Contact the Reference Staff of Multnomah County Library for assistance.

 

Storms by Mich Dobrowner bookcoverThe cover image of the book Storms is titled "Wall Cloud," one of many photographs in this book for which the land is an minimal part of the image as compared to the sky. Published by the Aperture Foundation, this is the first book by Mitch Dobrowner, the result of his travels following storms in the Midwest with Roger Hill, storm chaser. The full page images, introduction by Gretel Ehrlich, and interview with the photographer creates a book that  allows for contemplation of the form and power of these events abstracted from the sound and destructive power they contain.

The choice of black/white/greyscale captures the motion of swirling clouds, lightning and hail on landscapes that appear still, as yet unaffected by oncoming velocity of wind. "On a drive we took from Colorado to Kansas in 2010 - more than a hundred miles through cornfield after cornfield, nothing but corn - we found the storm, and I photographed it. On the drive back to Colorado, returning by the same road, we saw that all the corn was  gone. Instead, there remained only bare stalks standing there, for, maybe, a hundred miles."  from interview with the author at the conclusion of Storms.

Info: Storms Dobrowner, Mitch. New York, NY : Aperture Foundation Inc. 2013.
Central Library: 770 D634s 2013


Place a hold on this title to reserve it and send to your closest neighborhood library.

Links: Mitch Dobrowner | Aperture Foundation

 

Image Caption: Life cycle illustration from Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium. Amsterdam :Voor den auteur, als ook by G. Valck,[1705]. from the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s image collection on Flickr. The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible online the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections.

Quite possibility one of the most recognized names in natural history art is John James Audubon (1785-1851), considered one of the greatest bird artists, namesake of the Audubon Society and famous for his double elephant-folio volumes of the Birds of America. Audubon hunted his subjects and used these freshly killed birds in life-like poses for drawing.  Conservation of nature was not much of a consideration at this time and Audubon might shoot many birds before he found what he considered the perfect representation of the species. Audubon’s life work and act of Creation was also an act of destruction, an unrealized possibility of extinction.

In my youth I often went camping in MacKerricher State Park, on the Northern California coast.  I kept a journal to record aspects of small plants and animals I found along the beach and in the nearby woods.  Each entry was focused on a detailed penciled drawing of the creature.  Little did my young mind know this was a child’s play of natural history illustration. Our species’ interest and fascination in drawing the natural world around us goes back into prehistory long before Audubon when people first drew charcoaled animals on cave walls.  

This was a life’s work held by some women long before it was acceptable for them to be scientists and naturalists, women like Maria Sibylla Merian who in 1699 traveled from Amsterdam to South America to study metamorphosis and is known for her beautifully accurate drawings of the life cycles of butterflies.  This exceptional naturalist’s story is brought to life in Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis.  It was a profession held by women like Genevieve Jones who went out into the field with her father an amateur ornithologist to find bird nests and eggs to collect, identify, and draw. She noted that Audubon had not included eggs or nests in his drawings in any detail.  Jones’ life work and posthumously her family’s became the  Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio (1879). Virginia, Genevieve Jones’ mother stated that the family finished the drawings and created the book in memory of their daughter. “She had just begun the work when she died. So for her sake I made it as perfect as possible.” The story of the book’s creation and the Jones family’s colorful illustrations are on display in America’s Other Audubon by Joy Kiser.

Natural history illustration is a practice which was not quashed by the advent of the camera; neither captured light on film nor the instantaneousness and abundance of today’s digital images can completely achieve what can be expressed with the process and art of natural history illustration. Unlike a digital image which captures perfectly one particular individual at one particular moment in time, a drawing or painting of a heron or a moth can be the perfect hypothetical representation of its species.

Art and science converge in natural history illustration.  Katrina van Grouw aptly demonstrates this convergence in The Unfeathered Bird, a richly illustrated book showing birds painstakingly drawn without their feathers. This recent (2013) book combines “the visual beauty and attention to detail of the best historical illustrations with an up-to-date knowledge of field ornithology.”  It is is a book that shows how the birds’ outward “appearance, posture, and behavior influence, and are influenced by, their internal structure.”  The Unfeathered Bird bridges art, science, and history and is an unique offering in the continued practice of natural history illustration.  

For more comprehensive collections of natural history art check out the oversized Cabinet of Natural Curiosities which illustrates Albertus Seba 's unusual collection of natural specimens from the 18th century, dig into David Attenborough’s Amazing Rare Things for a history of natural history illustration in the age of discovery, or browse through an overview of three centuries of natural history art from around the world in Art & Nature by Judith Magee.  Anyone interested in the beauty of the natural world will be drawn to the interlocking fields of art and science that natural history illustration creates.


Image: Life cycle illustration from Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium
Amsterdam :Voor den auteur, als ook by G. Valck,[1705]. from the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s image collection on Flickr. The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible online the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections.

http://multcolib.tumblr.com/image/60866198248“City of the Book” is a poem that Kim Stafford wrote for the Multnomah County Library, to mark the formation of a new library district on July 1st, 2013. At a celebration that day on the steps of the Central Library, he led the crowd in a reading of the poem.

Kim Stafford reading in front of Central Library

When asked about the experience of writing this poem, Stafford said:

I understand the library as a force of nature--more like a river or an orchard or a lagoon teeming with fish than a box of silent books. The place is alive, bountiful, brimming, spilling treasure of ideas and stories, facts and films, songs and tales for children in all directions. It's a watershed, harvesting rain and feeding everyone. So, to write a poem about such a place is more like turning on the tap than struggling for words. Words flow from libraries, for libraries, for people in libraries. I was just a small part of this bountiful storm of words.

Kim Stafford’s father, William Stafford (1914-1993), spoke at a different library event 30 years ago at the Lake Oswego Library. Lewis & Clark University is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary of William Stafford’s birth, and the 2014 statewide Oregon Reads community reading project will focus on his work.

Throughout downtown Portland outdoor public artworks enliven the spaces we walk through. The Regional Arts and Culture Council, a sponsor of Portland’s public art collection, has published a guide to artworks along the Transit Mall, available in the downtown Trimet Ticket Office in Pioneer Square. If you are interested in learning more, Central Library's collections of books, exhibition catalogs, and online sources, such as the Oregonian, offer more in-depth background information and stories about these works and the artists who created them.

"Ring of Time" Bronze sculpture by Hilda Morris Standard Plaza at 1100 SW Sixth Avenue Portland OR photo: Beverly StaffordFor example, “Ring of Time" is a monumental sculpture along the Transit Mall, at the entry to the Standard Plaza building, 1100 SW Sixth Avenue.

The Central Library book Hilda Morris, published by the Portland Art Museum, includes full page color plates of many of her sketches and completed works, with biographical commentary and essays by Bruce Guenther, Susan Fillin-Yeh and David C. Morris.

Quote: “Introduced to the mathematical figure of the continuous one-sided surface of a Möbius strip by her son David, as she was developing the various maquettes for the project, Morris recognized a perfect way to animate the sculpture while creating a work of great visual stability and weight.” p. 24 from the book Hilda Morris - by Bruce Guenther, Portland Art Museum, c. 2006

 

book and e-bookYou’ve written something, and it’s time to publish! Self-publishing isn’t what it used to be - expensive, and often ignored by booksellers. Now you can bring your writing into physical form relatively cheaply, and it can be as glossy and perfect-bound as you like, or if you prefer, hand-stitched and hand-painted. With print-on-demand (POD) services,  you can have one beautiful book printed for a family member or friend, or you can print many to distribute to bookstores. It can also be an e-book - many authors are finding great success with self-published e-books. The avenues to self-publishing are diverse!

Because there are so many options, you’ll want to inform yourself as best you can. Things to consider include:

  • Do you want your book to have an ISBN?
  • How do you plan to market your book?
  • Who is the intended audience for your book?

Check out our booklist featuring books about self-publishing. Many of the books on this list discuss these questions, among others, that you should consider as you plan your self-publishing project.

What follows are just a few of the many resources available for you to choose from as you consider your self-publishing process.

For print-on-demand (POD) publishing, you can choose from a wide range of printers. Some popular POD printers include LuluBlurbCreateSpace (a division of Amazon.com), Lightning SourceIngram Spark (a division of Ingram, a major book distributor), and Smashwords (which publishes e-books only).

There some local resources that might be relevant to your project, too: 

  • Portland State University’s Ooligan Press is a teaching press staffed by students pursuing master’s degrees in the Department of English at Portland State University (PSU). PSU is also the home of Odin Ink, a print-on-demand publisher.
  • Powell’s Books has print-on-demand self-publishing technology in the form of its Espresso Book Machine.
  • Portland’s Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is a membership organization with resources and workshops related to printing and book-making. They also have certificate programs in creative nonfiction/fiction, poetry, and comics/graphic novels.

If you’re interested in making contact with a local publisher or association, you might find the following organizations useful:

For advice and news, the Alliance of Independent Authors has an advice blog about self-publishing.

Are you interested in having your e-book available in the library? OverDrive is the service that many libraries, including Multnomah County Library, use to provide access to e-books. Like publishing houses, self-publishers must fill out a Publisher Application found on OverDrive's Content Reserve site. OverDrive has also created a helpful Intro to Digital Distribution pdf for new authors and publishers. OverDrive's public contact info can be found here. If your e-book is added into the OverDrive catalog, you can then suggest that we purchase it.

In your creative work, you may find yourself wondering about copyright law and how it applies to you. We have quite a few books that provide guidance on these subjects - two of these are The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know by Stephen Fishman and Fair Use, Free Use, and Use by Permission: How to Handle Copyrights in All Media, by Lee Wilson. You’ll find quite a few others under the subject heading Copyright -- United States -- Popular Works.

Have fun, enjoy the process, and feel empowered to get your work into print! As always, please let us know if we can help direct you to books or other resources to help with your project. 

 

 

Visiting the Portland Zine Symposium is always exciting - a big room full of zinesters from far and wide, chatting, swapping zines, drawing, and displaying their work. Among the zines on display, there are minicomics, personal zines (aka perzines), works of history, fantasy, art, humor… basically, zines as diverse as the zinesters themselves. This year’s symposium was bursting with exciting new work, and we bought many new titles for the library’s zine collection.

Here are a few of our favorites. Also, check out our blog post about all the food-related zines we found at the Zine Symposium!

That's Not OKThat’s Not Ok: Boundaries for the Conflict-Avoidant by Breanne Boland

A guide to setting boundaries that’s clear, concise, and also fun, interspersed with humor, comics, and drawings.

 

 

Portland Oregon AD 1999Portland Oregon AD 1999 by Jeff W. Hayes

Written in 1913 and beautifully reprinted by Corvus Editions, this speculative story tells of a little old lady who calls upon the narrator to tell him of the vision she’s had of life in Portland in 1999.

 

 

 

Mocha Chocolate Momma: Bessie ColemanMocha Chocolata Momma: Bessie Coleman by Marya Errin Jones

Mocha Chocolata Momma Zine chronicles the lives of black women, real or imagined. It’s part history lesson, part perzine, full of engrossing stories, photos, and illustrations. This issue’s about Bessie Coleman, the first female African American pilot.

 

GrowGrow: How to Take Your DIY Project and Passion to the Next Level and Quit Your Job! by Eleanor Whitney, MPA

From a blurb on the back: “Eleanor Whitney breaks down the daunting process of earning a living as a creative person into chewable, bite-size bits.” With easy-to-digest, step-by-step tips and tangible examples from working artists, Eleanor’s expert advice is some of the most sought-after content on diybusinessassociation.com.” - Amy Cuevas Schroeder, Venus Zine and DIY Business Association

Never Date Dudes from the InternetNever Date Dudes from the Internet: Responses to a Craigslist F4M Ad by Amy

Includes the author’s original posting on Craigslist, as well as all the responses she received. Can you guess which guys she actually went on dates with?

 

PunkPunk by Mimi Thi Nguyen and Golnar Nikpour

A conversation between two lifelong punks about punk and how it’s been defined, studied, and canonized, and the problems and politics therein.

 

Bad Boy Image #1Bad Boy Image #1: Paranormal by Asher Craw, Fiona Avocado, and Moishe

The first comic zine put out by Bad Boy Image, a comics collective consisting of Asher Craw, Fiona Avocado, and Moishe. This issue focuses on stories of the paranormal.

 

Science You ForgotScience You Forgot: An Illustrated Guide to Your Elementary School Science Textbook by Jeannette Langmead

Gorgeous illustrations reminiscent of your childhood science textbooks, including four famous scientists, with facts you may have forgotten. Also includes an experimental cocktail and a pop quiz drinking game because you're a grown up now.

 

Rad Dad #24Rad Dad 24

This issue of the long-running zine about radical parenting focuses on parents sharing hard-earned wisdom with one another.

 

 

Trusty Companion #1Trusty Companion #1 by Katy Ellis O'Brien and Max Karl Key

A charming comic all in blue about a lady space explorer and her robotic trusty companion.

At this year's Portland Zine Symposium, we found that quite a few zinesters were offering new zines about food - from the practical to the poetic to the bizarre. Read, relish, cook, laugh, enjoy!

(Also, check out our other blog post about new zines from the Zine Symposium!)

 

FoodStampFoodie3Food Stamp Foodie #3 by Virginia Paine

This issue of Food Stamp Foodie includes recipes, self-care tips and DIY projects in comics form. Simple vegan recipes, easy sewing projects and more!

 

Carnage

Carnage by Kelly

A zine about cooking and eating meat, from the perspective of an author who was formerly vegetarian.

 

 

KosherKosher

A zine about eating kosher!

 

 

Burgermancer

Burgermancer #1 by Jason “JFish” Fischer

A burger fanzine, full of comics, recipes, reviews and articles - all about burgers. It’s delightfully weird, and features an interview with Hamburger Harry, burger connoisseur and curator at the Hamburger Museum.

 

FlavorFlavor by Sofie Sherman-Burton

Rich prose (or prose poems?) recalling the author’s most prominent food memories.

 

 

Burrito Burrito BurritoBurrito Burrito Burrito: A Zine Created for Burrito Lovers by Serena H.  

Origins of the burrito, recipes, interviews with burrito experts, log of burritos eaten in Portland. Focuses on vegetarian and vegan burritos.

 

Brew Your Own KombuchaMake Your Own Ginger AleBrew Your Own Kombucha

Make Your Own Ginger Ale

both by Kione

These two teeny-tiny 8-page zines feature clear instructions and tips for making your own kombucha and ginger ale!

 

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