First Book: Brian Ulrich

Posted in First Book by charlie b. ward on February 18, 2010

I have been going around to photographers asking them one question:

What was the first photo book that you can remember buying or seeing that really had a strong affect on you?

Here is Brian Ulrich’s response:

“In my early disastrous days as a  graphic design student, I recall wandering into the photography classroom. Sitting upon one of the long cardboard covered tables was a copy of ‘An American Visionary: Ralph Eugene Meatyard’. Simply out of curiosity or boredom I picked it up, and began leafing through the pages but then immediately slowed. Here were all this strange photographs made for some unknown reason; kids in masks, ghostly figures in forgotten southern landscapes, aggressive camera experiments (who has the balls today to open the shutter and kick the tripod legs out from underneath them?). The photographs had a profound aura, mystique and atmosphere. I was transfixed by the fact that this man had spent so much of his time and formed his entire life and family around making these odd pictures… for what reason?

Luckily some of those answers existed in the preface by a curator named Barbara Tannenbaum. I decided then that I was going to have to find out who this woman was, even if just to thank her for making this book so it would lay upon a table for me to discover.”

5 Responses

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  1. tread said, on February 18, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    being from lexington, kentucky where most of meatyard’s images were made or created therein, this book, as well as his original Aperture monograph pretty much hold a Bibilical importance to me as a shooter but even more importantly as a looker of all types of photography. meatyard gave me minor white, white–weston, weston–mapplethorpe, etc and so on…great choice mr. ulrich.

  2. steve giovinco said, on February 18, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    This is such a great question because for me purchasing a book represented an act of wanting–an intense drive to really look at work.

  3. Simon Larbalestier said, on February 21, 2010 at 5:19 am

    I bought bought this book many years ago whilst in Paris – Meatyard’s work still to this day, captivates me and leaves me with questions about his work, his subjects, life itself and how creativity endures and inspires.

  4. kaitprivitera said, on February 22, 2010 at 9:18 am

    The first day I found this blog (a few days ago), I saw this entry. Meatyard was what inspired me to get a degree in fine art photography. About to graduate with a degree in photojournalism…but my very first project in art school was based on this book. Good choice!

  5. hellomynameisart said, on March 2, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Brian, if your reading, Barbara is now the photo curator at the Akron Museum….your roots! Although I’m sure you know that : )

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