A Year in Books/Day 174: Blumenfeld Photographs

  • Title: Blumenfeld Photographs A Passion for Beauty
  • Author: William A. Ewing
  • Year Published: 1996 (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers)
  • Year Purchased: 2010
  • Source: My lovely Momma
  • About: Before reading this book, I could recognize some of the more iconic images of Berlin-born photographer Erwin Blumenfeld as his, but I knew nothing of his life. Although I place value on my own emotional responses to art, music and literature, and as a parallel it could certainly be argued that the end product is all the biography we need, I love back stories, perspective; I’m obsessively curious about context, facts, and individual versions of the creative process. Artistic pathways fascinate me. The 235 illustrations in this thick coffee table volume are, of course, extraordinary. From erotica to fashion to adverts, it is all here; the experimental nature of his work is stunningly apparent. All are sumptuous, provocative, memorable. The biggest revelation for me-and it really was a revelation, make no mistake-is the extensive text, which, in forming a serious and detailed biography, echoes back to my love of concrete information. This two-sided approach gives us a bigger picture (ha!) than either traditional biographies or coffee table retrospectives usually offer. The result is aesthetically pleasing and deeply satisfying.
  • Motivation: I love coffee table books and vintage photography.
  • Times Read: Once
  • Random Excerpt/Page 32: “It is more than likely that Blumenfeld’s mind had not been entirely focused on his work. Ever since his arrival in the Netherlands-indeed, since he had fallen in love with Lena just prior to the war-he had been making art, partly to communicate this passion, partly as a release from the mundane pressures of daily life, and partly as a means of expressing his outrage over the war and the bankrupt values which, in his view, had brought it about.”
  • Happiness Scale: 8 1/2

6 thoughts on “A Year in Books/Day 174: Blumenfeld Photographs

  1. Oh this looks like one I would really enjoy. I’m with you on having an interest in the creative process and hearing how others go about it.

    Did you go to Sweet Frog last night?


    • It is a gorgeous, gorgeous (and illuminating) book! I’m confident you will like it, really confident!

      No, we did not! I forgot that we had scheduled an at-home play-date with our dog Crosley’s original humans. I probably won’t get there until next week. Oh, well. Good things are worth the wait, correct? 🙂


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