First Book: Amy Stein

Posted in Female Photographers, First Book by charlie b. ward on December 8, 2010

I have been asking different photographers 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 Amy Stein’s response:

“The fist photography book I can remember having a real impact on me was Masahisa Fukase’s The Solitude of Ravens. In 2002, I was completely new to photography and trying to learn the basics by taking classes at the International Center of Photography. I was fortunate to study with a fabulous photographer named Ellen Binder who made it a practice to bring in photography books to sharewith us. We’d pour over the books while she told stories about how they’d influenced her.

The minute I opened Ravens I felt drawn to Fukase’s brooding approach and the book’s oblique but deafening poetic  narrative. I was struck by the iconic nature of the images and completely moved by the intensely personal feel of the world Masahisa had created. Only later would I learn that Fukase made the images while on a train ride home to Hokkaido after the dissolution of his twelve-year marriage.

Masahisa shot from the moving train and ventured out during stops to track the ravens; long a symbol of ominous events and death. The book features mostly stark black and white images of the ravens, flying, falling, in shadow, perched on posts and tress, along and in groups. Many of the images in the book are enlarged, grainy and overexposed. Fukase’s concern for atmosphere and emotion over technical perfection was an important early lesson for me.”

Amy Stein

More info on the book here

One Response

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  1. John Eder said, on January 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    This book blew me away when I first saw it,and I popped for it even tho I was totally broke at the time. It is some gloomy stuff, to be sure, but very powerful and mysterious. The guy was def. working thru some stuff here.

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