Marcelo Gomes has more than the average photographer’s affinity for light. His just out of focus images, like a careful shifting of attention between the subject and the space they inhabit, are a refreshing alternative to the high-gloss, high-fashion and highly-overrated images dominating the commercial world. As much as anyone with an awareness of their influencers, his selection for this weeks Bookshelf feature is a nuanced lot and not at all obvious. Good read, readers!
L.A. Noir: Dave Hickey in Las Vegas
I found this book a while back, turns out it’s a periodical of illisorts, published by a guy named Simon Horning under the title Other Times. I’ve been a fan of Dave Hickey’s writing for a few years, my friend Sean Carmody had told me about Air Guitar and I got through that one and Invisible Dragon in less than three days. This “bookazine” is a compilation of notes of Hickey’s undergraduate fiction writing class “L.A. Noir” at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I think Dave Hickey has made me think of art in general as a massive and nuanced gradient that comes and goes almost at random, and I now feel a bit more free to make connections between disciplines and that helps me to understand myself a little better.
Jun’ichiro Tanizaki: In Praise of Shadows
I don’t actually remember how I came across this one; it is a fairly short essay on Japanese aesthetics. It was originally published in 1933 by the novelist whilst he was building his home and it’s a treatise on or perhaps for the lack of light, or darkness and, to me, it made me think about elastic/slow light, and texture (lots of texture) — it’s funny, sometimes I think I try to find things to read that more or less justify what I like to see or try to do on my own.
Caetano Veloso: Verdade Tropical/Tropical Truth
This is an autobiography, though it’s not necessarily structured as such since it’s fairly free and quite idiosyncratic considering all the self-questioning that takes place throughout the book. It was a lovely read, though I’m completely biased (at the time it came out a lot of people said it was overwhelmingly self-indulgent, but I thought/think “isn’t that what you’re supposed to with your autobiography?”). Caetano is perhaps my favourite living artist – I’d probably read his grocery list and enjoy it.
Thomas Pynchon: Gravity’s Rainbow
I’d never read anything even remotely like this book. In fact, I’m still not done with it. The reason I don’t give up is because I think I figured out how to read it, and its purpose to me escapes narrative completely. Each page is saturated with so much texture, colour — it’s somehow even graphically/aesthetically pleasant in the way he orders the words — that I feel satisfied with getting through them so dementedly slow. It makes me want to be better (and makes me know that I don’t really know anything) without actually humiliating me, so it’s pleasant. It’s like that 10,000 piece puzzle that is somehow kind with its steady and nice pace of discovery.
Nick Tosches: The Nick Tosches Reader
I’d read some of Nick Tosches work over the years, I remember reading some short essays in magazines like Purple in the late 1990s and early 2000s and one day I decided to get this big book of his essays and poetry published by Da Capo. I love how his prose is super masculine but also very fragile. I remember how he used to personify New York City to me, I don’t even remember why really. There are a lot of really beautiful fragments in this book. It opens like this:
To those who did not run.
To those who broke and entered with me
Into the cathedral of the heart
To those who took my back,
In right and wrong.