Zine corner 8

Hello all, Continuing on our Vernacular Photography spree, today in the corner we are taking a brief look at Brad Feuerheim’s “TV Casualty: Ride, Johnny, ride”. This is definitely one of the more professional, “hi fidelity” zines to be featured in the corner. Information from Josef Chladek states the following:

“Softcover, limited edition of 300. Text by Brad Feuerhelm and Daniel Campbell Blight, design by Lamb + Sea, risograph print by Hato Press, published with The Archive of Modern Conflict November 2013 .

Pages: 46
Place: London
Year: 2013
Publisher: Self published
Size: 28 x 35 cm (approx.)”

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This zine is sexy – there’s no way around it. It’s a meditation on the pleasures of television, the assassination of JFK (which was definitely orchestrated by the mob), and Misfits songs about the former two topics. It’s made from collaged, found images, it comes in a black plastic bag, and it’s only red, black, and white. The “zooming in on an image until it is abstracted” is used to abounding effect here, and functions as a reminder of the image quality of 1960s television but also metaphorically links to the mystic distance of broadcasted images and information.

This book (I wouldn’t really call it a zine) is ON VIEW at the ICP Library at the ICP School in midtown. Come on over and take a look!!


This is just one of many beautiful books currently on display in our windows showcasing photobooks that use Vernacular images and archives. Je est un autre : the vernacular in photobooks is the title of this image extravaganza. On November 30th we will have an evening reception where some vernacular collections will be presented in a casual show and tell manner. IF you are in town – do not miss it.


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Caleb’S Zine Coorner #7 ~ BLOTTER

~♫welcome to the coorner ♬♪ ~ 🙂

In the spirit of ICP Library’s “Je est un autre: The Vernacular in Photo Books” show, THE zine corner will do this post about Pierre Le Hors and Tuomas Korpijaakko‘s mysterious zine BLOTTER, published by the even more elusive New York based NOWORK.


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This zine is big and black, and contains high quality reproductions of varying quality mug shots on newsprint. The decay of the images, when visible, is a beautiful wash on texture on a sometimes soft portrait. It situates the images in time, in a way that the faces and clothing of the subjects wouldn’t necessarily. Reading into the reproduced decay is further complicated by the decay each individual copy of the zine exhibits, as the newsprint is variously folded, unfolded, creased, and crumpled (I’m sure you’re now imagining me manhandling our copy which I am NOT doing). Another element of decay is the shade of black on each page varying in depth, which will also change over time.

Striking zine BLOTTER is available to view at the ICP Library upon request, as we have it stored in our rare section. Just ask the nice person at the front desk to fetch it for you 😉

Till next time,

Your good TA, Caleb

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David Douglas Duncan’s “Sunflowers For Van Gogh”

On September 22, select theaters across the United States premiered a groundbreaking, independent film titled “Loving Vincent,” the first ever fully painted feature film. This artistic masterpiece was produced with over 100 painters painstakingly creating each frame onto canvases in the iconic oil painting style of Vincent Van Gogh. The artists, crew and actors literally brought Van Gogh’s treasures to life with characters selected from actual portraits (i.e. Armand Roulin, Dr. Paul Gachet, Postman Joseph Roulin, and so on) and scenery consisting of well known wheat fields, cypress trees, streets of Paris, etc.

Upon seeing the film, I was inclined to further my research on my favorite painter, leading me to another homage to the Dutch genius but on slightly different medium. Where “Loving Vincent” merged motion picture film with oil paintings, David Douglas Duncan went to France to capture photographs of a specific, and famous, muse that Van Gogh reflected on canvas.


“Dedicated to Vincent van Gogh and Sunflowers, whose short lives he immortalized together with his own” Duncan states on the opening page of his book  “Sunflowers For Van Gogh” (TR724 .D85 1986).  Van Gogh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 37.


Page 7

Duncan continues: “Vincent van Gogh and I fell in love in the same way, in the same place, with the same girl — one hundred years apart. We both knew her only by her first name. Sunflower”

Throughout the book there are photographs of sunflowers, some solo, some in groups, some in full fields of gold, rolled bales of hay in wheat fields, sheds – all objects familiar from Van Gogh’s catalogue.  Beautifully shot, Duncan captures the personality of the sunflowers – his friends “the girls” – in a way that Van Gogh would appreciate, as he explains on page 12:



Page 13


Page 34


Page 35


Pages 50-51


Page 86

A two-page spread captioned “The lone survivor: A field of onions” is reminiscent of Van Gogh’s “Irises” but with a twist.  Much like the lone white iris amongst the purple ones, this photo shows one lone sunflower lost in a group onion plants.  Even the sunflower’s location is almost identical to the white iris:


Pages 88-89


Vincent Van Gogh, “Irises” (1889). J. Paul Getty Museum Collection

Just as the book opens with a self-portrait of Van Gogh, the book appropriately ends with the seven sunflower paintings (including “Sunflowers and Vase with Blue Background” which was destroyed during WWII) bringing Duncan’s project full circle.

Page 9

Page 134

“Sunflowers For Van Gogh” is an interesting book for any fan of Vincent Van Gogh’s work, but it was even more intriguing for myself, as his “Sunflowers” were never a particular favorite of mine. However, Duncan has allowed me to view these paintings in a different light.   His analogy of the lifespan of the flower to that of Van Gogh is clever, solemn and true.

VGAndIFellFull crop

Page 9

My personal favorite photo of Duncan’s is towards the end of the book.  He was able to capture the real-life moment of one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings – so much so that one could imagine Van Gogh visualizing this himself:


Pages 126-127

Crows Wheatfield

Vincent Van Gogh, “Wheatfield with Crows” (1890). Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

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Zine corner 6: “Tres vol.3”

Caleb’s zine corner 6

Tres vol. 3

Today we are opening up “Tres vol.3” from Hui Books in Okayama, Japan. Tres is a series that catalogs the work of three artists in each volume: Masahiro Ikeda, Shinichiro Uchida, and Katsuaki Hata. The title page of volume 3 reads as follows:

“Photographers of three

living in Okayama.

This is a photo book that you take photos

from the perspective of each.

World traced through the camera

the object located in front of.

Something on the other of these images

I am happy if you can feel.”

Ikeda’s section (“untitled”) features carefully focused/non-focused images of an autumn landscape. They make use of extreme close-ups and a very shallow depth of field, absolutely calling to mind the work of Uta Barth but with perhaps a different affect (although both definitely involve a sense of melancholy). The last image in Ikeda’s section stretches across two pages and is a soft image of a woman that seems to fade into a tree cut off by the right frame. IMG_20171012_120746

In Uchida’s work (also “untitled”) we see limbs and musical instruments emerging from a sea of thick photo black. The lights of clubs and landscapes of stages stretch into the abyss, warped by a shallow depth of field. Faces are usually obscured or in shadow, reflections of unexpected colors appear on limbs, and the images have an overall warm color palette. To me, the intimate gestures portrayed suggest “music” more than a photograph of a full band or musician in action. IMG_20171012_120917

The final section is Hata’s “Tico”, and is immediately striking in that it appears to only use two colors – a desaturated green/cyan and white. The images are of a forest, softened by a snowstorm to the point of abstraction. Looking closely reveals the details of trees and mountains, and the angles often seem almost impossible. Two images break from this pattern to portray a similarly snowy city square, which helps us regain a sense of scale. IMG_20171012_121459

The overall flow of this volume feels like the passage of time – perhaps an afternoon into an evening and subsequent morning – or each chapter functioning as a season (although I would interpret it as autumn>>summer>>winter). We begin with Ikeda’s muted color palette and understated images, in some cases printed at a very small size and placed in a variety of locations on the page. From here we enter Uchida’s full-bleed, black background club-scapes, and then emerge into the snowy void of “Tico”, which is once again located within white borders.

This zine is on view at the ICP School library, as well as Tres volume 4. Hui Books has a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated since 2015, but their website is http://huibooks.thebase.in and the photographers can be found at:

Masahiro Ikeda: http://d-76-mi.blogspot.jp/

Shinichiro Uchida: http://www.supc.jp/

Tatsuaki Hata: http://www.amakicamera.com

thanks for tuning into the zine corner,

till next time!


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Photography is Magic


Jack Gwynne, February 28, 1951

Who was Irving Desfor? Unknown to us up until now, his book/photo album Great Magicians In Great Moments came to the ICP Library when the personal library of our founder Cornell Capa was folded into the ICP collection after Capa’s passing in 2008. How did none of us notice this until it seemingly appeared (excuse the pun) as if by magic? Such are the delights of a library, any library, for diversity and inclusion.

The book was self published in 1983. The colophon bears the notation:

FIRST EDITION: The deluxe, numbered, signed edition is limited to 200 copies. The balance of the first printing totals 1800 copies. 

The Library’s copy is marked 61/200. The edition number is written in (excuse the pun) magic marker and our guess is that that the book itself is otherwise no different from the “balance” that totals 1800 copies.

But who was Irving Desfor? According to Magicpedia.com:

Irving “Doc” Desfor (1907-1993) was a photo-retoucher, art director, photo-writer and amateur magician.”

“He was 15 years old when his first photograph was published. Desfor was a photographer with AP from 1929 until he retired in 1972. He continued as a freelance columnist for AP until 1979 when he moved to Florida. His wrote the nationally syndicated photo-columnist “Camera Angles” for 31 years.”

“He was famous for his photographs of magicians in action, beginning with Blackstone. His photos appeared in major magic journals for over fifty years.”

And most importantly for librarians and archivists, for future reference:

“In 1978, he donated thousands of his photos to the American Museum of Magic.”


Great Magicians In Great Moments gives us an unparalleled glimpse of magicians at work, as well as moments with star ventriloquists such as Shari Lewis, so fondly remembered from our childhood. Not to mention the presence of Cornell C and MoMA curator John Szarkowski. What would Szarkowski say about photography and magic – that is, magic not as metaphor, but as vocation?

In a mediascape now dominated with technological special effects, the illusionism of magic shows now look jarring in their emphasis on physical trickery and the need of a live audience. It is a world where theaters and clubs are primary venues for shows, before television or computer screen. Why does our “information highway” seem so lonely in comparison?

Irving Desfor, Great Magicians in Great Moments: A Photo Album by Irving Desfor. Pomeroy, OH: Lee Jacobs Productions, 1983.


The ICP Library


Ricky Jay (age 9), 1954




Virgil and Julie, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1964



Lou Tannen, February 2, 1946


left: Jack Kodell, November 22, 1947   right Jack Chanin, March 18, 1960


Phoa Yan Tiong, April 26, 1969


top: Velma, October 16, 1976   bottom: Ruth Dore, May 20, 1944


“a visual tribute to the untold thousands of pretty, young assistants of magicians who appear mysteriously from boxes, barrels, cabinets, trunks and other ‘empty’ containers . . .” March 16, 1962


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Caleb’s zine corner #5 __________GET In THE CORNER____________

Caleb’s zine corner #5


FUGU -Tetraodontidac-  by Yuka Nakashima (2015)

IMG_20170914_110042This week’s subtitle is GET In THE CORNER because I am writing to you from a literal corner of the library to which I have been exiled. Perhaps this physical embodiment of “cornerness” is what has pushed me to write about what is possibly my favourite of the zines I have come across in the library thus far. The zine in question is none other than Yuka Nakashima’s FUGU. A bit of backstory on the zines reviewed thus far: apparently the material I have been looking through is all left over from a zine sale we had, and FUGU was apparently mostly derided but with a few die-hard fans speaking up for it. I happen to think it is masterful (perfect??) in essentially every element of its composition and presentation. Okay enough gushing, let’s get to the meat

FUGU begins with this title page:


tetraodontidae (Pufferfish)



as 河豚 ,pronounced as fugu

Pufferfish can be lethal if not served properly. Puffer poisoning usually results from consumption of incorrectly prepared puffer soup, fugu chiri, or occasionally from raw puffer meat, sashimi fugu. While chiri is much more likely to cause death, sashimi fugu often causes intoxication, light-headedness, and numbness of the lips, and is often eaten for this reason./from wikipedia”

What can I even say about this zine? It’s photographs of pufferfish, I believe almost entirely in restaurants, that when eaten raw produce a high. They are found in murky fishtanks, the glass between the camera and the creature is often dirty and scratched, and the photographs dwell in the uncanny zone between playful documentary and psychedelic abstraction. Depth of field is thrown out the window, and washes of colour from neon signs and restaurant ornamentation give a glamorous yet mysterious aura to these dangerous fishes. The edges of the tanks are never included within the frames, so our sense of scale is completely cast off. The fish could be any size, floating in a bubbly, eternal abyss ~ a purgatory before they are snatched onto the hellish cutting boards of late night kitchens. IMG_20170914_105224

The construction of this zine is perfect to me – I don’t have any explanation for this I just love it. Each page is a photo print, with the photo on one side and the paper watermark (FUJICOLOR Ever-Beauty Paper for LASER) shown on the back with writing and signature in sharpie by Nakashima. Oh yeah, and the title/author’s name are also written in sharpie on the cover. These prints are bound together simply by black tape. The idea that a collection of prints becomes a zine simply by being taped together is somehow profound to me, and absolutely seems to match the general praxis of Nakashima based on a little research into her other work. IMG_20170914_104734

Her website (http://yuka09182.wixsite.com/yukanakashimaphoto) and instagram (@nakasmith) are absolutely worth checking out, but I specifically would point any interested parties to her VINE account (https://vine.co/u/1323641380144574464?mode=list) perhaps because VINE was my favourite form of social media (RIP) but also because a few seconds of motion can add a great deal to our understanding of a photographer’s thought process and technique. This zine, of course, as usual, is on view at the ICP School Library in Midtown so come on down and check it out!


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Caleb’s zine corner #4

Caleb’s zine corner #4


ASHES IN THE OCEAN by Minny Lee (2017)

This episode of the zine corner highlights a work by one of our ICP alumni, Minny Lee. We have quite a few of her zines in the collection which are all very much worth checking out, however this post is about ASHES IN THE OCEAN from earlier this year. The zine is produced by Encounters Editions and a postscript states that it is “in memory of my father-in-law”. Photographs of the ocean and the interiors of an adjacent apartment in Honolulu, Hawaii are occasionally interrupted by blank pages, or pages with lines of poetry.

IMG_20170907_122515IMG_20170907_122537For such a small zine, to me it packs the same punch as a photo book (and it would bring me much joy to see it reissued as such). The photographs speak volumes, interior shots dwelling on reflections, stillness, softness, and emptiness are juxtaposed with grand images of the outside world. After viewing the apartment photos, when Lee brings us outside there is almost a sense of vertigo at the seemingly endless water.

Lee can be found at http://www.minnylee.com and ASHES IN THE OCEAN can be viewed at the ICP School Library.

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