The Shadow Catcher - Timothy Egan

Timothy Egan won the 2006 National Book Award for The Worst Hard Time, his chronicle of the 1930s Dust Bowl catastrophe as experienced by ordinary people. His new book, Short Nights of The Shadow Catcher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28), is an equally vivid and engaging account of the life of Edward Curtis (1868-1952), the brilliant photographer of Native Americans. Hailing from Seattle, Curtis began tinkering with cameras as a boy and was largely self-taught as a photographer. He was also an amateur anthropologist and archeologist, gradually combining his interests to document Native American culture. At a time when popular media scorned American Indians, Curtis, dubbed the “Shadow Catcher” by the Hopis, dedicated himself to presenting these peoples with sympathy and dignity—as is apparent in the examples of his work included in this book. Unfortunately, Curtis was also an amateur businessman and died penniless.

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis By Timothy Egan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780618969029
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - October 9th, 2012

Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis By Timothy Egan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544102767
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - August 6th, 2013

Cézanne: A Life - Alex Danchev

In his wide-ranging, erudite Cézanne: A Life (Pantheon, $40), the essayist and Braque biographer Alex Danchev tells the story of this modernist genius in two intertwining narratives. There’s the chronicle of the artist’s roots in Aix, his long friendships with Zola and Pissarro, halfhearted attempt at law school, and disdain for careerists. Then there’s the life of his work. In effect, Danchev breaks up the picture plane of a chronological account, overlaying the usual biographical trajectory with evidence of the reach and power of Cézanne’s paintings. To Danchev, Cézanne is “a life changer,” and a short list of those who experienced the “Cézanne epiphany” includes Matisse and Picasso, Beckett and Stein, Ginsberg and Heidegger. Yet what exactly is it about the art that’s so stunning? Danchev offers fascinating insight into Cézanne’s uncanny way of gauging weight, his application of highlights first rather than last, his radical approach to line and color. Ultimately, however, the undeniable power of his work is more than a matter of technique. Hemingway may have come closest when he summed it up as “a secret.”

Cezanne: A Life By Alex Danchev Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307377074
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon - October 23rd, 2012

Alexander McQueen - Judith Watt

In Alexander McQueen: The Life and the Legacy (Harper Design, $35), Judith Watt presents an illustrated biography of one of fashion’s greatest contemporary designers, a man with enormous vision who was challenged by personal demons. Watt shows how McQueen, the youngest son of a taxi driver and a teacher, was a man of contradictions— tenacious yet uncertain in his ambitions, charming yet a compulsive liar who delighted and encouraged the many apocryphal stories that surrounded him—and reveals how McQueen’s designs reflect a similar tension between extremes. Known for his flamboyant and theatrical runways, McQueen pushed himself to create new silhouettes and to combine fabrics and styles in innovative and avant-garde ways. From bumster pants to the Armadillo shoe, Watt’s intimate portrait proves that McQueen’s impact on contemporary fashion design is undisputed.