Loch Raven (self-published)
Loch Raven Reservoir never looks so subtly enticing or stunningly dramatic as when David Simpson revisits the same spot seasonally and juxtaposes his findings on the page. A sense of continuity and change emerges simultaneously in these photographs, as Simpson bends shadow and light around the tilt of time and place. In doing so, he captures appealingly familiar scenes and reveals exotic landscapes we wouldn’t otherwise see.
Rebekah & Sara Maysles
Grey Gardens (Free News Projects)
Coming on the heels of the Grey Gardens HBO movie and Tony-winning musical, this lavish volume is geared towards completists. Put together by offspring of the Maysles Brothers--Albert and David made the original Grey Gardens documentary about “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale living in a dilapidated Hamptons mansion--it looks a bit like an elaborate scrapbooking project, but it’s full of essential ephemera for the hardcore fan. You’ll find snapshots, correspondence, contact sheets, news clippings, drawings, transcriptions, a detailed chronology, and even a CD of conversations with the Beales. It’s a shame the title memoraBEALEia (used for a book by a friend of Little Edie’s) was already taken.
The Jazz Loft Project (Knopf)
This is one of my favorite books of the year, because it provides a glimpse into a private world that significantly impacted our culture and had nearly disappeared from the public record. Culled from thousands of photographs and tapes made by Eugene Smith, between 1957 and 1965, it takes us into the New York jazz loft scene at 821 Sixth Avenue, the legendary spot where Monk rehearsed for his historic Town Hall concerts and late-night jam sessions drew the likes of Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, and Don Cherry. Norman Mailer, Salvador Dali, and Robert Frank were known to drop by, as well, and their fleeting presence gives added sparkle to the project. But Smith also trained his lens on the street below, and that depth of documentation provides a greater overall sense of place and roots the proceedings in the workaday routine of a city that doesn’t even nap.