What's up? Well, actually quite a bit. There is a new book in the works and about to become available. Long in the making and passing through several iterations of design, editing and proofing, we are very close to releasing:
Neal Rantoul: Essays on Photography
Every book you see in the "BOOKS" heading on this site are monographs of my own work. But this new essay book is very different. We have taken key posts from my blog, reworked them, edited them and put them into a 8.5 x 11 inch book that is really elegant and pertinent.
I asked friend and author Christopher Benfey if he would write the introduction. Chris is the Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and, most recently, the author of Red Brick, Black Mountain,White Clay. Chris writes for the New York Review of Books. He and I taught together last year at Penland in North Carolina.
Blog posts are ephemeral in that their life, for the most part, is short and transitory. But a book lasts, has a physical presence and can be read, pulled down off a shelf, referred to, read again later and used to find a key phrase or a thought that has meaning for you. This new book is just that.
We worked with what I thought were key posts taken from three years of writing the blog, sent them off to the editor (Debbie Hagan, the editor of Art New England; thank you Debbie!), worked them over again, cut some, added some, sent those off again and so on until we got down to the essential ones that could not be cut. We tried to balance the book with essays on my work that were essential with pieces about photographers that have been important to me over my career, such as Fred Sommer, Harry Callahan and Ezra Stoller. Perhaps it is safe to say that Essays on Photography is one person's creative process, taught by example.
The designer is Andrea Star Greitzer, whom I tend to think of as more a collaborator than simply a designer. Andrea has designed all the on-demand books you see on the "BOOKS" page. Quite simply this new book would not be possible without her considerable skill, foresight, and advice.
We have worked to make the book accessible, affordable and informative to those of you that aspire to a career in photography as well as those that are already in a career in photography. This book, like most of my others, will be printed on- demand, so you'll need to go to 555 Gallery in Boston or to the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA to purchase it. I will let you know when it is out. It will be soon.