Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Five worthy books on photography and reality

Errol Morris is an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker. He has directed nine films, including The Fog of War, The Thin Blue Line, and most recently Tabloid.

His new book is Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography.

With Eve Gerber at The Browser, he named five notable books on photography and reality, including:
A Day with Picasso
by Billy Klüver

Let’s move forward to A Day with Picasso, about the back-story to a series of 24 photographs taken of Picasso, Modigliani and their artist friends over the course of one afternoon in Montparnasse in 1916.

This is definitely a book by a kindred spirit. I first heard about it from the writer Lydia Davis, who is a friend of mine. We knew very little about these photographs – the circumstances, how many there were, who took them, you name it – until Billy Klüver set for himself this project of trying to figure it all out. He did a forensic investigation of the photographs and discovered that they were taken by Jean Cocteau of his friends Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani et cetera. It's a true detective story about photography.

Did Klüver’s decade-long quest to sleuth out the facts behind these photos inspire the investigations you write about in Believing in Seeing?

It’s an obvious precursor to what I've been trying to do. It’s also a great book in its own right. Unfortunately, Klüver died just a couple of years before I started working on my own book. I would have loved to talk to him.
Read about the other books Morris tagged.

--Marshal Zeringue