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Monday, 19 April 2010


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"Lord knows how long the print run will last.

Print run? We don' need no stinkin' print run. The book is on Kindle for $9.99. An excellent book for the Kindle, too.

Actually, you're right, and yes, you're right--it IS an excellent book for the Kindle. Perfect book to carry around for a long time and delve into now and then.


On iTunes, free stuff...



Another 1-click order on..amazon.fr, and nothing for you, Mike!

Why ?

"Usually ships in one to two months"---this is the tag line for this book. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am disheartened by Amazon's service regarding photography books. I have had books on order since last July! They send notes out that they hope to ship by October of 2010. Don't know what gives. This book looks fine, and is inexpensive, so I have ordered it (through Mike's link of course $$). But I have no faith that I'll actually see it soon...

Yes, a wonderful book. I ran all over the campus of the University of Arizona on a rare rainy Saturday trying to get ahold of the copy, since at the time it wasn't available on Amazon yet. Mr. Gohlke had a line at the opening of the New Topographics show that just blew my mind. It was echoed in both this book and the materials in the New Topographics catalog, but it was to the effect of "I realized nothing I could say could possibly be as interesting as the world itself already is", and reading these essays now afterward has really been revelatory.

Mike, have I thanked you yet for an excellent website? I find it better than most photo oriented magazines. I am still enjoying the book that you recommended before Christmas which presents a broad variety of contemporary photographers.

Well in short, thanks!
Erik Petersson

listed as not available on the UK Amazon site.

"Another 1-click order on..amazon.fr, and nothing for you, Mike! Why?"

I wish I knew, I wish I knew. I applied three times for an affiliation with Amazon France and I was turned down all three times. I don't know why.

Sorry...it's not for lack of trying!


"Usually ships in one to two months"

That's Amazon's standard line for when they don't have the books in their own warehouses and need to make an order from the publisher. However I checked with the publisher and this book should ship sooner than that.


Just got it. One thing not sure. When I go in, the Amazon definitely has TOP ref but the kindle one, I am not sure. Hence pls check. Or is that buying kindle version you do not have anything?

BTW, after and I stress it is after the launch of iPAD, it seemed my family which has 1 iMac and 5 mac notebook decided to buy kindle instead. We have got 4 so far! I think for reading books (without much picture may I say), kindle is better.

Mike, it may be Amazon.fr rejects your application because you're not a citizen. IIRC, you cannot register .fr domain without having either citizenship or a company registered there. It may be something like that.

Thanks Mike-- I'll let you know when it ships


I must admit my first reaction to the text is to wretch. Possibly reading a little too much into it, but from the style and priorities presented.... :

"force that devastated 230 square miles

This much is probably a fact.

of commercial timberland

Now why is this the first perceived use for that land? Big hint, it's a volcano, it doesn't care about petty human-interest perspectives and there's not much you can do to make it go away.

, recreational forest, and wilderness."

I'm sure they'll heal themselves. Volcanoes are part of the natural processes that created whatever landscape you like to photograph; it changes, sometimes dramatically and quickly; so deal with it and enjoy the *new* genuine wilderness created.

Random related calculation: if that 230 square miles were in the Amazon rainforest, it would be felled in about 4 days flat. Quit bitchin'.

"I must admit my first reaction to the text is to wretch...." [snip]

In five years of running this blog, that's one of the strangest comments I've ever gotten. Not THE strangest, but right up there.

He's describing the effects of a massive volcano. What in the world would you have him write?

"Hey, a mountain blew up. Didn't catch it myself. But who cares? Sh*t happens. Buncha animals died. But they would've all died eventually anyway. Some humans died too, but I didn't know 'em, so who cares. Trees were destroyed; they'll grow back. Volcanos. I'm sure there've been bigger ones. Worse things have happened other places. Big yawn. Forget I brought it up."

And by the way, "retch" is the verb. "Wretch" is...well, a noun.


I took a workshop with Frank Gohlke quite a few years ago. It was an intense week at the Anderson Ranch art/craft center in Aspen. The workshop was about the photography of "place".

Frank is a great teacher; someone that has clearly thought a LOT about the what and why questions of photography. He was willing to share anything and everything he knew. He even enticed William Christenberry to stop by the workshop for a day and share his thoughts.

Frank inspired me to look carefully at my community and attempt to find its essence in images. The work I did there has never left my consciousness, after all these many years. If you're reading this.. thanks Frank.

Jamie Pillers
Oakland, CA

Oops, you're right, it should have been `retch'. Yes, I appreciate the comment was unexpectedly critical; here's where I'm coming from.

Foremost, it's a matter of style: the way it comes across, where the first thing that seems to matter is *commercial* forestry, underlined by the subsequent reference to trees in terms of "board feet of timber" and said trees being "killed" in various ways when they could merely have been trees, and destroyed, regardless of the purpose intended for them by mere mankind. It's reads like an attempt to make it human-interest.

My background here is Feynman's mini-rant against the written presentation of scientific research in human-interest terms - "a drug has been found [intrinsically good] .. that might cure cancer [stupid thing to say]". Similar principle here. It should be left to the audience to appreciate events for what they're worth.

Of course I wouldn't go for your proposed "sh*t happens" rewrite, much as it contains some truth - I would not commit the facetious style to Blurb.com. But the text could have said more with fewer words - left it after the 230 square miles. Or made it a separate sentence, detaching at the subsequent `of'. Or been more objective about the geological / landscape changes. Or save a proverbial thousand words, insert one or two (before+after) relevant photos instead.

Relatedly, have you noticed that only one Big Picture photograph of the volcano in Iceland has slow shutter speed motion-blur in the cloud? (#19 in the recent set; it spoke to me more than other photos recently.) If one were seeking (reasonably, I think) photographically to portray the inherent drama inherent of a volcano eruption, avoiding the above profusion of words, then what photographic trickery can you choose to convey that message?

"Or save a proverbial thousand words, insert one or two (before+after) relevant photos instead."

Perhaps I should have mentioned that one of Frank Gohlke's most extensive and best-known bodies of photographic work was made on Mt. St. Helens after the eruption. I assume people know these things, but maybe some don't.


I didn't, so now I know something new; thanks. Google has found me his site, so there will be investigation.

And it's an area I find interesting: one of these days I'll write an artist's statement about why I make whatever photographs I do, at which time no doubt I'll struggle with the articulation in much the same pedantic kind of way.

Just letting you know, this is the first photography book I've ever bought. I bought both the pictures and the essays. Thanks for the direction.

Kindle, smindle. I'm reading this fantastic book right now on my iPad!

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