03 September 2009
Yesterday I spent a bit of time reading the introduction and looking at the black and white photographs in the oversized book The Photographs of Homer Page: The Guggenheim Year, New York, 1949-50. It was lovely.
I love black and white photography, and I love New York City, and I love the 1950s (okay, it's the very beginning of the 50s, but still). Well, I love the "look" of the 1950s. Actually living in the 1950s probably wouldn't have worked for me. But I do love me some chrome and that lovely low-slung, straight lines, strange pastel colors 1950s furniture. (I have owned a mint-green 50s couch, and do own a 50s coral-colored chair that has most definitely seen better days, but which I can't get myself to throw out.)
So when I saw this book's title in my library catalog, you can bet I had to see it. And I was not disappointed. I've tried to provide a bigger image than usual of its cover image so you can see the photo; four boys playing with a dressmaker's form. The kid on the left just makes me laugh and laugh. Look at his face! He's totally in the moment.
So as I looked through the book, I wondered if there were collections of photographs of New York City from other twentieth-century decades*: the roaring 20s, the not-so-pretty 70s and 80s, etc. And I thought, man, if I was putting together my dream library, I would seek out big books of New York City photography and collect them for it. And then I thought, hm, dream library, that's something to think about. It's a fun fantasy to not only think about what I might like to read but which books as physical objects I might like to own. So far, I have this photography wish, and I'm also always secretly book-lusted after a rare first edition of Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It, from the University of Chicago Press. (I saw one once at a rare book sale, and might have lost my head if Mr. CR hadn't been there reminding me of the mortgage.) So there's the question. What would you have in your dream library? Give it some thought. I'll revisit this topic, I'm sure.
*The other day I gave my nephew a book about twentieth-century baseball, and he said, "What's the twentieth century?" I'm old.