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Thursday, 13 November 2008


Ha, and I thought you missed my email about the book! Good to see this post after all, even better you already read the book.

Anyway, there's a nice interview with mr. Abell online at PDN: http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/content_display/esearch/e3i25cba8ba761bcf125d30d34b3ab7631c

(If the link doesn't work just go to http://www.pdnonline.com/ and search for Sam Abell)

I always appreciate tips...In this case however I've had an advance copy of the book since about mid-September, and I had a long phone conversation with Sam about it a month+ ago. Thanks for the link to the PDN interview....

Mike J.

Last Tuesday I've attended a lecture by Sam Abell in which he discussed most of the images within this book. The event was organized by the Art Wolfe Digital Photography Center here in Seattle and I'm not sure if it is part of a bigger book tour. Besides the anecdotes, Sam Abell provided insights into his process and philosophy of making great pictures. For me, listening to him for over 2 hours brought this book's educational value to a whole new level.

Strongly recommended if the tour comes to a city near you. I found nothing on the internets about a schedule--now there's publisher missing potential.

Here's a good summary of a similar event:

Thanks for your tip a while back. I ordered the book on your recommendation, not really having previously seen a body of Mr. Abell's photographs in a collection. Of course I was familiar with a few of his (lovely) single images.

I must say that I am a bit disappointed in the photography part of the book. The thought process, the presentation of sometimes two, sometimes more images for each subject, is captivating to be sure. But I found myself maybe a little underwhelmed by the actual photographs. Was there not a bit too much National Geographic in those pages? It seems that Mr. Abell doesn't really push the edge when he shoots. There is color, there is form (often a soothing horizontal) but I found myself wanting a bit more.

Anyways, in spite of my carping a good book to pick up.

Mike, you're a lucky guy!

I just ordered the book from Amazon UK, hopefully it'll arrive soon. Should go nicely with my copy of The Photographic Life (which I bought for 24 euro's in a used book store).

Check out the Amazon "Frequently Bought Together" price! It looks like you are skewing Amazon's sales. (and what a deal ! )

The Life of a Photograph by Sam Abell
Saul Leiter by Sam Stourdze
The Americans by Jack Kerouac

Total List Price: $124.95
Price For All Three: $82.47

I bought this book last week and thoroughly enjoyed my first reading of it. I was happy to see you point out Abell's use of multiple exposures capturing the same (or similar) subjects. More than anything, Abell seems to be saying that patience can make the difference between a competent photograph and a transcendent one. A brilliant photographer and a very good book.

Sam Abell teaches at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, and in March will do a workshop on publishing the photographic book. I took a couple of workshops at Santa Fe, a few years ago, and so still get their catalog, and Abell's workshop looks pretty interesting.

In my experience at Santa Fe, I found one workshop to be very useful, and the other, not so much; so, you have to be a little careful, but they do offer some useful stuff. This may be one of them.


The book just arrived from Amazon, and it's wonderful. I love the photos with commentary, and the photos alone. Thanks, Mike, for recommending it.

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