• Jeff-big

    Bookshelf: Jeff Mermelstein

Photography

Bookshelf: Jeff Mermelstein

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

We were blown away by the ineffable goodness of Jeff Mermelstein’s work when we first came across it. A prolific photojournalist, Jeff’s innate curiosity and inspirational debt to the great street photographers has created a body of work with fascinating and fleetingly intimate currents. This week he has chosen his top five photography tomes for our Bookshelf feature – all stone cold classics, narrated in Jeff’s singular voice – however, it does look like all his books appear to be in storage…

The Americans Robert Frank

I was 19, still had a little bit of residual acne, and was a very confused biology major in college. I had already been a photographer of sorts – high school newspaper and so on – but now in my first college photography course I found and met my life-changing teacher who turned me on to real photography, including Robert Frank and Diane Arbus. It was 1977 and The Americans was a required textbook for the course. This book defines “masterpiece” and showed me how pictures can turn your guts inside out with feeling, emotion, soul and social content. It also proved the power of the photobook as photobook.
www.amazon.co.uk/the-americans
www.steidlville.com/the-americans

Diane Arbus: an Aperture Monograph Diane Arbus

Right along with Frank I was turned on to Diane Arbus and her powerful original vision of the bizarre and desperate. This collection of work shook me deeply and loosened my tight suburban-nurtured orientation. I was no longer a visual virgin. Brutal, beautiful pictures. Scary, real.
www.amazon.co.uk/an-aperture-monograph
www.wikipedia.org/diane-arbus

Lee Friedlander Photographs, Haywire Press

I moved to New York City in 1978 and became a full time intern at The International Centre of Photography. One of my classmates gave me a copy of Friedlander’s Haywire Press collection as a gift. It gave me the ability to visit and perpetually revisit, during my most formative years, the genius of Freidlander and showed me how pictures can be assembled like perfect mathematical equations. Like resonant, complex music where all the many pieces of an image fit together with refined perfection and poetics. A cool, witty, wry response and depiction of ourselves. Dry.
www.moma.org/lee-friedlander
www.wikipedia.org/lee-friedlander

William Eggleston’s Guide John Szarkowski

The invention of colour photography. A vision that dovetails right along with my other earliest heroes. Colour afresh and like a fine wine, taking time to appreciate and crawl into. Once in you can’t leave Eggleston’s uniquely American southern universe. So distinctly American and the south – these are pictures with a southern accent. Humid, taffy-like colour, aromatic pictures, like booze and tears, and coke syrup and guns. Eggleston makes us take in all his gorgeous complex American colours and opens up the possibilities of straight colour photography, period.
www.amazon.co.uk/william-egglestons-guide
www.wikipedia.org/william-eggleston

Evidence Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel

Found in institutions, corporations and other agencies’ archives, this mind-boggling, deadpan and very funny conceptual collection of images laid down the blueprint for how pictures can look photographically. Photographic. Such a brilliant editing and sequencing of found pictures. One of the greatest photography books ever. It touches the photography part of the brain.
www.amazon.co.uk/evidence
www.ahornmagazine.com/issue_3/evidence

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

  1. Ng_inside_2bookshelf-itsnicethat-list

    London-based fashion brand Eley Kishimoto was founded in 1992 by Japanese-born Wakako Kishimoto and her Welsh husband Mark Eley, and has since earned a global reputation for bold print design and collaborations with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jil Sander. We were lucky enough to pin down co-founder Wakako to find out which publications have most inspired and influenced her on her trajectory thus far. Her response? A beautiful old Japanese/English dictionary, a Jean-Charles de Castelbajac-clad Snoopy, and an old old issue of the National Geographic and all of the treasures inside it.

  2. Alex-tieghi-walker-itsnicethat-list

    When we invited Alex Tieghi-Walker to contribute to the Bookshelf feature we didn’t realise he was in possession of what basically constitutes a library. A looming wall of books, teeming with colour, insight and inspiration. Look at it! It’s enormous!

  3. Book-shelf-list

    If you’ve been for a walk in Hoxton, east London recently there’s a good chance you’ve come across One Good Deed Today, a recently-opened shop selling a curated collection of lifestyle and homeware objects. The objects on sale are lovely, but the approach taken by the owners Romain and Alev is even more so – the products are chosen based on how and where they are made, making it a very responsible collection, and five percent of all proceeds from the store are donated to a charity chosen by the customer at the time of purchase. Nice, huh?

  4. Spuren_cover_00-int-list

    Brighten the Corners (the name comes from the Pavement album!) is a design studio split in two – it’s made up of Frank Philippin and Billy Kiosoglou and based in both London and Odenwald, Germany – so it makes sense that it has two bookshelves to show for it, too. The studio’s portfolio of work includes some very impressive stuff for the likes of Anish Kapoor, Frieze, the British Council and the Department of Education, and with fingers in such diverse pies we were keen to see the books Billy and Frank were drawing on for inspiration. So here they are!

  5. Allbook_spines-teal-triggs-int

    What a treat we have for you today! The one and only Teal Triggs, professor at London’s Royal College of Art and all-knowing figure in everything concerned with print, graphic design history, self-publishing and feminism, has spent some time digging five of the most influential and inspiring books she owns out of her bottomless collection to share with us.

  6. Laserigraphie_cover-int-list

    If you aren’t already familiar with Atelier Bingo then I can’t think of any better way to introduce their joyous work than to have them present five of their favourite publications, in their own words. The atelier consists of Maxime Prou and Adèle Favreau, a creative couple living in an impossibly beautiful barn in the French countryside where they experiment with illustration, graphic design, surface and textile design on a daily basis to create an endless array of utterly unique and distinctive works for clients including Vogue, The Plant, Wanderlust and Wrap magazine. But also just for fun, because why wouldn’t they?

  7. Main-books

    Guys it’s World Book Day! One of the only “days” of the year that people should really give a shit about (yeah I’m looking at you “National Play your Ukulele Day”). People all over the world are encouraging kids and adults to get their hands on a brand new book, or just glance at the spines of your well-thumbed publications on your dusty shelf that perhaps changed your life at some stage or another. In honour of this sacred day, we book-lovers at It’s Nice That have decided to pay homage to our own favourite tomes by listing them here for you today in our very own It’s Nice That Bookshelf. So in no particular order, here are the It’s Nice That editorial team’s favourite ever books. Tweet in yours too!

  8. Just_kids_cover-list-int

    How best to describe the enduring and ubiquitous influence of COS? The brand has become almost cult-like in its appeal since it was founded a mere eight years ago, creating designs which are somehow timeless and classic and simultaneously innovative.

  9. Dominic-wilcox-bookshelf-list-int

    There aren’t many designers out there who can count a pair of shoes with GPS tracking, a race against a 3D printer and a stained glass driverless car among their recent projects, but Dominic Wilcox isn’t just any old designer. In fact, the job title “inventor” seems to be more appropriate, given that he spends his days identifying gaps in the objects we use, and experimenting with materials to develop new and intriguing ways to fill them.

  10. 4_int_bookshelf_americasfav2-list

    Brooklyn-based graphic designer Elana Schlenker is not only the creator of “occasional pamphlet of typographic smut” Gratuituous Type, she’s also a freelancer with a magnificent array of colourful projects on her (frankly quite beautiful) website, a very good speaker, an exhibitor at exhibitions in Edinburgh and at London’s own KK Outlet. And she’s won a bunch of awards, too. Her aesthetic is pastel coloured without being sickly, innovative without feeling audacious and involves the kinds of books which just seem to make life nicer.

  11. Stevie-gee-rumble-fish-list

    Illustrator and art director Stevie Gee has a pretty solid place in our hearts; his work is a glorious collection of iconic retro elements, moustachioed men, skateboarding and surfing know-how and the occasional dollop of sleaze for good measure. His Bookshelf, however, secures him in It’s Nice That history forevermore; never before have a classic skateboard, several pairs of silken panties, such a delightful collection of textiles and a cat called Olive featured. His book collection is pretty good too, jumping from vintage erotic comic books to 70s psychedelia is one fell swoop. All hail Stevie Gee!

  12. Gourmand-list-int

    If you’ve passed an independent magazine stand or stepped into a newsagents of late then without a doubt you’ll have some idea of what The Gourmand is. The biannual journal focuses on food in all its guises, and it’s invariably too enticing not to pick up. Founded by David Lane and Marina Tweed, the magazine is something of a pulsating hub for cultural references, with every page bearing the kind of striking imagery that challenges accepted patterns of independent publishing, urging the whole industry forward. You can see why we decided to grab co-founder and creative director David Lane to run us through his five favourite inspirational books from the studio Bookshelf.

  13. Teoconnor-bookshelf-list-int

    If you’ve laid your eyes on a poster for one of Somerset House’s exhibitions recently then you’ve more than likely been looking at the work of Teo Connor’s eponymous east London design agency. Teo, who previously co-founded No Days Off, has since worked on a bunch of chic campaigns for the cultural institution, not to mention projects for Tate, Nike and the V&A. She’s also co-founder of The W Project, which champions women in the creative industries through a series of events and exhibitions, which means she basically ticks every box. Brilliant woman.