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JessicaRobyn

Reading Robyn

I am a lover of libraries, a reader of everything, a girl easily swayed by pretty pictures, and overall just your average, nerdy fairy princess.

 

2013 is the year I'm finally keeping up a regular reading blog Reading Robyn! There I post extended versions of my GR reviews so be sure to check that out!

 

I always seem to be on the move having lived in seven cities and counting in my nineteen years. I'm not on the run from the law as many have assumed (at least I don't think so), but moving around has given me an appreciation for how places make stories and people make memories. While change is inevitable, books are the friends that I take with me from place to place. They comforted me when I was sick, they push me to continue to learn and grow into myself, and most importantly they opened me up to the possibilities of living in thousands of places all at once.

 

I primarily read YA fiction, as well as a lot of graphic novels and manga. However, I tend to be this combination of odd reads, so expect the unexpected!

 

Cheesy Life Quote: "In this world through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself." - Frantz Fanon

Fred Herzog: Vancouver Photographs - Fred Herzog Fred Herzog came to live in the city of Vancouver in 1953 after emigrating from Germany and proceeded in the years that followed to capture the very life of the city in his photography in a way that I have never seen before. With fascinating pictures of second hand shops, billboards and signs, and most interestingly crowds of unsuspecting people as they experienced their lives up and down streets with familiar names frozen in time. There is not a single shot in this book of a city skyline or Pacific ocean waves, if that is the Vancouver your looking to see, look somewhere else. The photographs included in this book were mostly taken in the 1950's to late 1960's, the fashion, the cars, the magazines, even the advertising and the way that people interacted so openly is just a few of the driving factors in my utter fascination. Fred Herzog wasn't cataloging city streets or trying to represent the time, in every photograph he introduces you to a scene, a moment with a story that you can only imagine, where he has just happened to stop and capture something. I've lived in the area surrounding Vancouver for the past four or so years now and the city has always been like a wonderland that drains away your spare change and empties your wallet. Filled with childhood stories from my family who grew up here knowing every street and building. But seeing this different side of the city is probably the most interesting article that I've come across on an artistic level connected to life in Vancouver and the history of the city. Vancouver as a city of has always had a diverse population of cultures and styles which I was glad to see embraced so heavily on every page. Readily showing a variety of all these different cultures as they found their own place on family porches or as they intermingled on city streets. Herzog captures the pulse of the city, which sounds cliche in some respects but is true in every way. This is a book that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in photography or even just life in the city of Vancouver. I don't know if you'll necessarily find it as immersing as I have but it is definitly worth looking through. Even more so, I recommend checking out Herzog's photography in any way possible. The only aspect of this book that I disliked was the long wordy essays that sandwiched the wonderful photography. Although some parts were great, such as when they went into Herzog's life in Germany or the included interview, my interest waned after the first couple pages then completely disappeared when I realized that it wouldn't be ending for another 10 pages which made me skip over it completely. This was only made worse by some of the content when it became very apparent that it was an essay meant for artsy people, who like artsy things, and live in smart-pants land. As it regularly ceased to make any sense going off on smarty-pants tangents that for the most part just made me sigh and lose all interest. Sure, it's something that could be noted for a collage art ciriculm or something to that effect but for the average reader I could have done with less words about art and more actual art. I'll admit now that after finding this book on a whim I don't think I have ever become so attached, I don't want to return this one to the library I really, really don't. (you can't make me!) This is definitly something that I've connected to, and every read through opens up new stories and possibilities behind each photograph. The sad thing is, this is the type of photography that I would love to create, even in the most amateur form. However, the portrait of city life that Herzog presents isn't something that could be reproduced today. With the way times have changed as I said earlier, no one acts this openly anymore, the expressiveness disappears as soon as a camera is in view. With privacy and permission killing the spontaneous photography art form. Say cheese. Some of my favourites:- A father and young son simultaneously gawking as they walk past life size painted billboards of scantily clad women at the PNE in 1962.- "You'll like [cigarettes] they're so Good Tasting." Giant Painted Billboard.(Elysium Cleaners, 1958.)- A group of teenage boys and girls getting into the real Grease Lightning with the most awesome hair I have ever seen.(North Vancouver, 1958.)- Girl with Handbag, 1960.- The cover image which is reprinted in the book titled Flaneur, Granville, 1960. - Jackpot, 1961.and on and on and on.