Recommended Read | Lartigue: Life in Color

0

I’ve been making use of lazy summer days to catch up on the stacks of travel magazines that have been piling up in our little apartment. Among all the new wanderlust and inspiration happily swimming in my head, I was smitten with the photography in a feature on Lartigue: Life in Color.

Recommended Read | Lartigue: Life in Color | Thought & SightJacques Henri Lartigue is best known for his early black and white work, and the book delves into why that is. It’s both mind-boggling and fascinating, but when color photography was first developed, it was viewed as a crass commercial tool, vastly inferior to the purely artistic black and white medium. Martin Ravache describes the “astonishingly moral vocabulary” applied to color photography, with detractors throwing around words like “corrupted!”

Recommended Read | Lartigue: Life in Color | Thought & Sight

However, because Lartigue considered himself first and foremost a painter– but only an amateur photographer– he had little investment (or interest) in the purist attitudes of his contemporaries. No doubt his proto-hippie attitude toward life: living frugally, surrounded by nature, and focusing on seeking out joy, helped as well.

Recommended Read | Lartigue: Life in Color | Thought & Sight

Lartigue’s color photographs from the 50s through the 70s showcase country life in France and Italy, with a dose of jetset, and frequently feature his wife and muse, Florette. I love this one, below:

Recommended Read | Lartigue: Life in Color | Thought & SightThe book has a nice selection of Lartigue’s color photos, and just enough commentary to provide a context to understand the photographs. I’m dying to know more, and have my eye on this fascinating profile of Lartigue, as well as this gem devoted to the Riviera.

Recommended Read | Lartigue: Life in Color | Thought & Sight

Recommended Read: Rice Noodle Fish

Rice, Noodle, Fish is part travelogue, part food guide, and one of the best I’ve read from either category in quite some time. Stunning landscapes might stir my wanderlust, but what I ultimately want to know is “What do they have to eat?”

Matt Goulding ably answers that question, traveling Japan to highlight the wide range of shokunin (artisans who are obsessively devoted to their craft– think Jiro from Jiro Dreams of Sushi). From high end yakitori in Tokyo, to cocktails with unexpected seasonal ingredients sourced entirely from Japan (carrots from Kanagawa, anyone?), to a small town couple preserving long-held traditions of fermentation, to an incongruous but excellent French bakery in Hokkaido, I found myself alternately delighting and despairing in Goulding’s descriptions. Why am I not there, eating that, right now??

Recommended Read: Rice Noodle Fish Book Review | Thought & Sight

Goulding intersperses his profiles of shokunin with short cultural tips, food photos with accompanying names and kanji, and even recommendations on what to order from vending machines or buy from conveniences stores (which I’m already smitten with). Even if you’re not a big foodie, the writing is engaging; covering history, culture, stories of the shokunin– and yes, while it’s not the major focus– Goulding will have you yearning for the streets of Kyoto or the mountain landscapes of Hokkaido.

Recommended Read: Rice Noodle Fish Book Review | Thought & Sight

Recommended Read: Rice Noodle Fish Book Review | Thought & SightRice, Noodle, Fish is not exactly meant as the kind of travel guide you carry in your backpack, but there’s so much great info, and so many must-try restaurants, that I’m either taking copious notes or making room in my suitcase for this book next time we visit Japan.

Recommended Read | Unruly Places

1

I’ve been meaning to post more frequent book recommendations, and Alastair Bonnett’s Unruly Places has finally given me the push I needed! The book is a collection of short essays on strange, forgotten and mysterious places and spaces. Each is intriguing, but rather than serving as a tourist guide of locales you can–or would even want to–visit, the places more often provide a way of thinking differently about the world. Each location is covered in around five pages, making for an easy read, and leaving you with fascinating tidbits to share in conversation.

They’re also a great jumping-off point for further research, so I wanted to share a couple of the places that inspired me open up Google image search:

Recommended Read: Unruly Places | Thought & SightYou might remember hearing about Sandy Island in the news a couple years back. First mapped in late 1700s, this small island off the coast of Australia remarkably remained on maps until 2012, when a surveying ship passed by and “undiscovered” it!

It’s likely that the island was simply a mirage that made it onto a succession of maps, surviving into the digital age, when the map data served as a building block for Google maps, among many others. That’s not to say that many people didn’t already have doubts, but Sandy Island’s long reign is a testament to the mysteries of the ocean.

Recommended Read: Unruly Places | Thought & SightVery far off the beaten tourist path is the “Archaeological Park of Sicilian Incompletion,” a crumbling collection of unfinished public projects in Giarre, Italy. The theatrical name was devised by an international artist’s collective, which envisions the modern ruins as “a kind of open-air museum,” going so far as to create a map and guidebook to the half-completed structures.

click here to pick up Unruly Places on Amazon