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Pure Invention: The Tabletop Still Life (Photographers at Work) 
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Product Details 
63 pages 
Smithsonian Institution Press 
Published 1990 
From Library Journal 
As Groover notes in Pure Invention , photography lends itself to division by genre, and it is along these lines that this new series, "Photographers at Work," is organized. The first four installments (two more on Annie Liebowitz and Elliot Porter are due out in spring 1991) each contain an interview, a portfolio of images, and a biographical essay augmented with an occasional technical note. Interview sections average 15 pages and succeed through well-phrased questions in eliciting technical information, as well as the photographers' thoughts on the image-making process. The format works well to integrate text and plates. Each of the four photographers works within a major genre in contemporary photography--the still life, the documentary narrative, the advertising product, and the landscape. Groover, known for her "constructed" still lifes, uses the platinum-palladium process, which renders a wide range of soft greys, giving her images the appearance of "relics" from some unknown culture, e.g., the image of a marble column on top of which sit a metal box, two apples, a rusty instrument of unknown function, and a seashell. Mark, in a shift to more "real" worlds, discusses the concerns of the photojournalist/photodocumentarian (roles she views as interchangeable). She offers a candid look at magazine and newspaper work. Mark has photographed the famine victims of Ethiopia, the red light districts of Bombay, and the elderly in Miami; therefore, her thoughts on objectivity and the potential of the camera to exploit the subject are fascinating. Maisel offers similar practical advice on the commercial and advertising photography business. However, his personal concerns differ from Mark's in that he is marketing a product by way of the image and is not exploring social issues. The strength of the Maisel interview lies in his strategies for retaining one's "passion, intellect, and wit" in a process that involves others (art directors, ad agency personnel, and clients) in the creative enterprise. Finally, Meyerowitz reflects on the experience of landscape or "spaces." He acknowledges the tradition of Adams, Weston, and others, yet does not wish to approach the landscape in a traditional manner, as evidenced in his series on Cape Cod, Atlanta, and St. Louis. These slim volumes offer a rich source of thought, images, and technical ideas and will appeal to readers at all levels, especially students. For their price and quality, they earn the highest recommendation for all collections. 
- Kathy Anderson, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y. 
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.  
From Book News, Inc. 
Twenty-three b&w still life photographs reveal the striking beauty that emerges from essentially insignificant objects arrayed on a table top. Includes an interview with the photographer. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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