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Joan Almond
Essay by Roberto Tejada
Introduction by Karen Sinsheimer

St. Ann’s Press is pleased to publish of the first monograph on the photography of Joan Almond. Almond is ssecond-generation Californian who began producing movie stills for John Cassavetes. The origins of her interest in photography are unclear, but once she mastered camera technique sufficient to become a photojournalist for the local newspaper, she started the journey that has led to this remarkable book. Her self-generated pursuit has taken her to Morocco, Algeria, and the walled city of Jerusalem, Egypt, Thailand and India over the past two decades. All of Almond’s photographs, in some way, show the fabric of family life and her images show human beings with remarkable dignity and resilience, despite their frequently impoverished personal circumstances.

Joan Almond
ISBN: 0967174481
Hardback, 9.5 x 11 inches, 128 pages. 59 tri-tone plates
Trade Edition Price: $65.00


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Joan Almond is a WIPI CHARTER member

Pioneer Photographers of the Far West
A Biographical Dictionary, 1840-1865
by Peter E. Palmquist and Thomas R. Kailbourn
Foreword by Martha A. Sandweiss

Reviewed by Carole Glauber, Copyright 2002.
Carole Glauber is a photographer, photohistorian, lecturer, and author.

Pioneer Photographers of the Far West: A Biographical Dictionary, 1840-1865 is a fascinating window into our photographic past. With 679 pages,encompassing territory from Alaska through Central America and areas west of the Continental Divide, it is a huge labor of love. Authors, Peter Palmquist and Thomas Kailbourn are independent historians who devoted seven years of research, writing, and compiling information to create this volume. They are planning a series of five volumes with the next one less than a year away. Palmquist has already dedicated 30 years to his photo-historical work, with at least 50 books and dozens of journalarticles to his credit.

This volume includes some 1500 entries about photographers or workers engaged in photographically related pursuits. Everything about Pioneer Photographers is useful and many aspects of it are unique. Biographical entries are not the typical thumbnail sketches or location lists from city directories. Rather, the entries are engrossing descriptions of people’s lives with context and references to others whose activities were of some influence on the given subject. Once they identified someone as photographically related, Palmquist and Kailbourn would try to track their entire lives. Each entry is carefully footnoted and lists sites where researchers can locate collections of the person’s work. The authors also followed people engaged in pre-photographic activities such as painted panoramas as examples of pre-motion picture activity. They listed retouchers, printers, manufacturers and sellers of photographic instruments and stock, publishers, lithographers, and engravers.

Pioneer Photographers devotes attention to each photographer, no matter how obscure. We read how these people lived and how their work and professional choices affected family life. We share their successes, failures, and struggles and meet all sorts of intriguing people engaged in photographic pursuits. For example, readers will encounter Pietro Mezzara, a cameo cutter or discover that quite a few people combined dentistry and photography. There was Frederick Coombs, “daguerreotypist, photographer, phrenologist, inventor, author, eccentric” who dressed as George Washington. On page 55 is a photograph of Eadweard James Muybridge dressed as a camera, preceding a section that takes a captivating look at his life. We learn about Eliza Anderson, an ambrotypist in Santa Rosa, California 1858-1859 and Sarah Dickens, a photographic card mounter in San Francisco. Alfred Bierstadt, known for his grandiose paintings also made stereographs, and from 1927-31, Ansel Adams printed postcards from George Fiske’s negatives. Fiske(1835-1918) and his wife lived in the Yosemite Valley for two years, making him the first photographer to live there year-round. Another entry describes the Museum of the Western World Institute in San Francisco in 1852. Open every evening except Sunday, the museum presented “An exhibition...of views from the Camera Obscura, with changes and variations of rare beauty and perfection.” Admission was one dollar, with “no charge for ladies and museum subscribers.”

Following the alphabetical biographical entries is a section on anonymous workers, five appendices, and an impressively comprehensive bibliography. The first appendix contains a list of photographic partnerships, companies and gallery names to cross reference with individual entries. Appendix 2 is a cross reference list of panoramas, stereopticons, cosmoramas, and other public performances. A list of women workers is in Appendix 3. Readers can be assured that where there were women workers, Palmquist has found them. Appendix 4 cites those known only as “artist” or “artiste” since many photographers listed themselves in directories as “artist.” Appendix 5 is a “Geographical Distribution of Workers.” The large number of California photographers working prior to 1865 is impressive, with the numbers in other states, Canada, Mexico, and Central America equally interesting. Finally, the bibliography lists close to 1000 manuscript resources, city and state directories and gazeteers, census lists, newspapers and periodicals, books, and articles and unpublished papers.

Pioneer Photographers is indeed an authoritative text on this subject. Palmquist and Kailbourn have assembled a monumental work that is thorough, readable, and enjoyable at the same time as informative. All historians of photography and western America should have a copy of this book on their desk.

Pioneer Photographers of the Far West: A Biographical Dictionary, 1840-1865
Stanford University Press, 2000
679 pages

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Sicilia Singolare Femminile
Photos by Donatella Polizzi Piazza
Text by Giovanna Bongiornopublished by Bonanno Editore, 1996

Reviewed by Carrie Villines (www.carrievillines.com)

“Sicilia Singolare Femminile” celebrates the women of Sicily by depicting a vibrant cross-section of female life in Sicily. In the 131-page photo book, which was sponsored by Leica and Ilford, Donatella Polizzi Piazza’s images explore the women who shape and define Sicily, while Giovanna Bongiorno’s text enhances the images by drawing a connection between Greek mythology and modern femininity.

In her introduction, Piazza calls this “an invitation to a journey among the women of Sicily who keep quiet only when they want to.” The women in this book clearly open themselves to the camera, appearing more confident than vulnerable, each conveying her own definition of femininity. Each picture depicts a woman with something to say, whether it’s a mother with her children or the feet of ballerinas on stage.

The images in the book share a common theme in the women depicted and in the beautiful graininess of the black & white images. Yet as much as the images are united by these elements, they are equally divergent in the sheer variety of women represented - artists, teachers, mothers, musicians, actors, artisans, school girls, gymnasts, chefs, nuns...there are as many different women as there are images in the book. The images are made even more unique by the environments in which these women are represented. The backdrops vary from bedrooms to churches, hair salons to ancient ruins, homes to stages. The types of images vary as well - some are portraits, some candid, some are posed while others clearly capture a singular moment in time.

Through its depiction of such diverse and interesting women, “Sicilia Singolare Femminile” reveals the particular energy and sensuality of Sicily as reflected by its female inhabitants.

Donatella Polizzi

Donatella Polizzi Piazza is a Professional Member of WIPI

Reconstructing Aphrodite
photography by Terry Lorant
Introduction and Essay by Dr. Loren Eskenazi,
Forward by Dr. Susan Love
Interviews by Helga Hayse

Each woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer is faced with her worst fears and a sense of hopelessness that pervades her every waking moment. Often, her anguish comes from the belief that she will no longer be attractive, or look or feel normal again. This book offers an answer to the confusion and fear that arises from this diagnosis.

The women portrayed are much more than their breast cancer survivors, they are a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. They are an example of an inner and outer beauty triumphing in the face of adversity. Their stories are inspirational to everyone, whether or not they have personally faced the specter of cancer.

Reconstructing Aphrodite with photos by Terry Lorant is a unique combination of photographic and surgical artistry and the courageous stories of women whose lives have been transformed, an intimate and visual gift so that no woman will ever have to face this challenge alone

..You cannot help but smile as you look on these pictures; magnificent women reclaiming their bodies and their lives - Dr. Susan Love

..The book is about much more than breast cancer. It is about renewal, resilience, and regeneration. I want to thank everyone who has added a piece of their heart and soul to this wonderful alchemy - Dr. Loren Eskenazi

Verve Editions- Printed in Italy

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