Fall 2012 Preview: Instant: The Story of Polaroid (Princeton Architectural Press)

Book trailer for INSTANT: THE STORY OF POLAROID by Christopher Bonanos from Princeton Architectural Press on Vimeo.

If you're like me, you will no doubt find it impossible to watch this book trailer about the upcoming history of the Polaroid company and not want to learn more. In fact, I actually missed about 30 seconds in the middle of the trailer while I left the room in search of my ARC of the book.

From the book-making wonders at Princeton Architectural Press, and Christopher Bonanos from New York Magazine, comes the richly illustrated history of the visionary founder Edwin Land and the phenomenon of instant photography.

Instant: The Story of Polaroid
by Christopher Bonanos
Princeton Architectural Press (dist. by Chronicle Books) | 9781616890858 | $24.95 | Oct 2012

Read more at www.papress.com:

"Pictures in a minute!" In the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, Polaroid was the hottest technology company on Earth. They were an innovation machine that cranked out one irresistible product after another. It was even the company after which Steve Jobs is said to have modeled Apple, and the comparison is true. Jobs's hero, Edwin Land, Polaroid's visionary founder, turned his 1937 garage startup into a billion-dollar pop-culture phenomenon. Instant: The Story of Polaroid, a richly illustrated, behind-the-scenes look at the company, tells the tale of Land's extraordinary and beloved invention.


More, elsewhere:

Christopher Bonanos: twitter | blog
Princeton Architectural Press: twitter | blog | tumblr

Fall Favorites Preview: Three really cool books that just showed up here at the house.


Not a lot to connect these three – but they're three books I've been selling all summer long for Chronicle Books and their distribution partner publishers, Laurence King and Princeton Architectural Press – and they have been really warmly received by the bookstore buyers I've been talking with.

Girl In The Kitchen
by Stephanie Izard with Heather Shouse
photographs by Dan Goldberg
Chronicle Books | 9780811874472 | $29.95 | Sept 2011

The first cookbook from the winning chef of season four of Top Chef, and now the chef/owner at Chicago's hot restaurant, Girl & The Goat.

First off, in the category of cookbooks by celebrity chefs, this is a great one. Though I haven't yet made my way to Girl & The Goat for a dinner reservation, Chef Izard's reputation precedes her. And this book seems to do a wonderful job of capturing her lively personality and her way with mixing flavors and inspirations.

Like all of Chronicle Books' cookbooks, it's beautifully produced with funky & highly cookable text design, luscious photography, and a rich blend of insider tips, personal history, and yes, recipes. You can check out a few sample pages at Chronicle Books' page for the book.

(Chef Izard's co-author on this book is Heather Shouse, the well-traveled food writer and author of Food Trucks, a survey of the nation's best & coolest food trucks.)


Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming
edited by Ellen Lupton
Princeton Architectural Press (dist. by Chronicle Books) | 9781568989792 | $24.95 | July 2011

Princeton Architectural Press's resident genius for inspiration, design chops, and generally thinking outside the box is Ellen Lupton. Before Graphic Design Thinking, she also gave us Thinking With Type, Indie Publishing, Graphic Design: The New Basics, and one of my territory's all-time best-selling books from Princeton Architectural Press, D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself. She is also the curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore.

This new book packs a ton into fewer than 200 pages: it's a toolkit for designers, writers, filmmakers – any humans, really – on ways to think about a problem (a design brief, a stalled project, that troublesome second novel), how to unleash your brain's creativity, and how to structure your ideas.


Let's Make Some Great Art
by Marion Deuchars
Laurence King Publishing (dist. by Chronicle Books) | 9781856697866 | $19.95 | Aug 2011

A tall book, a beautiful object, with paper that begs to be drawn in or doodled upon. An inspiration.

But nothing I could say about this book will match what these charming introductory videos will show you. (All via the author's page at Vimeo.)

Ta-da! It's my3videos!

How to draw a simple bird from Marion Deuchars on Vimeo.


Draw on the Plinth from Marion Deuchars on Vimeo.


Can you draw the Mona Lisa's smile? from Marion Deuchars on Vimeo.

The book has a lovely homepage all its own, too. Explore more.


Watch this new trailer for the indie documentary "LaPorte, Indiana" and tell me you don't feel SOMETHING.

LaPorte, Indiana Trailer from Joe Beshenkovsky & Jason Bitner on Vimeo.

A sneak peek at "LaPorte, Indiana" - a documentary film by Joe Beshenkovsky and Jason Bitner. For more info on the project, head to laportemovie.com. The film premiered in LaPorte in July, 2010, and had its Film Festival Premiere in Indianapolis at the Indy Film Fest where it won the "Hoosier Lens Award!"

This actually does connect to a book - a "companion" of sorts to this documentary and this trove of photos, published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2006.  I missed out on getting to sell the book originally, but I need to find a copy of it and check it out.

Here's some more about the project:

Tucked away in the back room of a B+J's American Cafe lies a secret history waiting to be discovered: over 18,000 dog-eared studio portraits taken in the 1950s and 60s. From baby pictures to graduation shots to young soldiers heading off to war and beyond, each of these photos hints at a personal story waiting to be discovered.

From 1947 through 1970, the diner's second floor housed Muralcraft Studios. It was here where Frank and Gladys Pease documented many important milestones- Muralcraft was the go-to studio for special event photography, but little did they know they would also become the "accidental historians" of LaPorte, Indiana with the extensive archive they left behind.

Some forty years later, the subjects of these portraits share their own life stories: deeply personal tales of love and family, divorce and loss, and the search for one's place in the world. We also encounter the next generation of LaPorteans, grappling with the decision to stay and begin their adult life in their hometown, or to search for opportunities elsewhere, a truly universal dilemma experienced across America and beyond.

The filmmakers have announced two upcoming screenings of LaPorte, Indiana in October:

Thursday October 7
8:15 pm
Gene Siskel Film Center
164 N. State Street

Thursday October 21
285 Kent Avenue
(at s. 2nd St.)

And you can also order a DVD of the film direct from the film's web site: laportemovie.com


my3books' First Impressions for Spring 2010: Princeton Architectural Press

Recap: Here's the introduction to the First Impressions series of posts.

Princeton Architectural Press is distributed to bookstores by Chronicle Books.  These three books on their spring list absolutely wowed the reps in the conference room – wonderfully illustrated books, a quirky take on pop culture, a peek inside the lives of creative people.  You can count on PAP to deliver books in those veins every season, right alongside their signature architectural monographs and reference books for professionals.

Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?
by Kate Bingaman-Burt
Princeton Architectural Press (Chronicle Books) | 9781568988900 | $19.95 | Mar 2010

Alien anthropologists wondering where all our money went in the first decade of the third millennium A.D. would do well to lay their tentacles on this book.  On the surface, it's a diary of self-absorption and typical consumerism, but with a closer look, Obsessive Consumption cleverly leaves those first impressions in the dust.

A professor of graphic design in Portland, Bingaman-Burt has been documenting her personal relationship with consumerism across a range of artistic endeavors.  Here in this book, though, she bears witness with a daily drawing of something that she spent money on that day, beginning on February 5, 2006.  The book covers the first three years of her documentary urges and her impulse spending.  From her monthly credit card bills to a bottle of soda at the CVS to an iPhone (finally, on 11/21/08!) to more fancy artist's pens (the last entry), Bingaman-Burt bears witness to how we live today, and where all the money goes.

Her drawings are tart doodles, combining representative line art, squiggly captions, and how much money she spent and where she spent it.

Fans of the documentary & book Handmade Nation (also from Princeton Architectural Press) will recognize her work - she provided all the illustrations for the book.  Kate Bingaman-Burt can be found here on the web, with a blog here and you can even buy a print of one of her pages at 20x200TwitterEtsyFlickr. Frankly, I think she may be the most findable, connected author I've ever profiled on my3books.


Lists: To-do's, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts & Other Artists' Enumerations from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art
By Liza Kirwin
Princeton Architectural Press (Chronicle Books) | 9781568988887 | $24.95 | March 2010

This book makes a nice pairing with Obsessive Consumption, above, providing another way to peer inside the surprisingly mundane lives of artists.  Curator Liza Kirwin has gathered from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art dozens of examples of unremarkable lists made by remarkable men and women. 

The lists themselves demonstrate clearly that geniuses truly are just like you and me. But it is precisely those actual accomplishments outside of the mundane list-making realm that make these lists worthy of collection, curation, and in the case of this book, further study.  We see lists of paintings sold, lists of appointments, lists of books to read and more.  Many of the lists give us more than just daily ephemera: we see Pablo Picasso listing his recommendations for the epoch-making Armory Show in 1912, Alexander Calder's address book is a who's who of the Parisian scene when he lived there.

The catalog copy provides a list of its own: the artists who have been collected here, including Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Andrew Wyeth.  And yes, the list does goes on.


Bird Watching
by Paula McCartney
Princeton Architectural Press (Chronicle Books) | 9781568988559 | $50 | Feb 2010

Another clever subversion of the observer's expectations, Bird Watching documents artist Paula McCartney's recent work in art and nature photography.

Each photograph captures a scene of purest wilderness - trees, branches, sky, pine needles underfoot, distant trails.  Carefully framed in each photograph is a beautiful specimen of passerine, or perching bird.  Notations accompany each photo, citing location, weather conditions and descriptive text of each documented bird.

Look a second time at these photos, though, and you may begin to see that there is more artist than naturalist at work in this journal.  Each bird has been carefully affixed with wires or strings to the branches, because these birds were purchased at craft stores.  McCartney's work is walking the divide between the artificial and the real, and along the way, she has found a way to make the real world feel that much more vivid.

You can spot some examples of her work on her page at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Photography, and at the web site for the Photo-Eye Gallery in Santa Fe, NM.  Her own web site is here.

New visual treasures from Fantagraphics, Princeton Architectural Press & Chronicle Books

OK, having got that little throat-clearing end-of-summer group hug out of the way, I'm free to talk about three of the cool books that recently arrived here at my3books HQ.  

I'd like to use the traditional phraseology "landed on my desk", but to be honest, so many books and catalogs and packages come and go here that nothing really lands on my desk.  Also, when you say "landed on my desk", that more or less implies the presence of mailroom staff or interns or something like that.  And I'm usually the only one who opens up the jiffy mailers and book cartons.  

Nevertheless, you must check out these three beautiful books.  I can't think of a single good phrase to refer to them in the aggregate but at least one of them is perfect for the traditional "gift book" section in your typical indie bookstore.  One of them is simply a graphic novel from one of my favorite artists.  And one of them is a book that I would say is a no-brainer for any customer or loved one who is hoping to become a visual artist one day.


Pictorial Webster's: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities
by John Carrera
Chronicle Books | 9780811867184 | $35 | Sept 2009

A visual delight, a word-lover's coffee table book, a fascinating historical document - Pictorial Webster's is all of these things.  John Carrera stumbled across an ancient and battered 1898 Webster's International Dictionary at his grandmother's house in 1995.  He was struck by the quality of the illustrated section: 80 pages of engravings in a variety of styles.

He embarked on a 10-year-long quest to find more examples, track down the original engravings and restore these beautiful images to print.  He ultimately located the original engravings at Yale University, organized their holdings, and then put together a collection that spanned the different editions across the decades.


Carrera published the extremely limited letterpress edition through his own fine press company, Quercus Press. The Fine Press Book Association recently featured a video by Carerra that walks viewers through the steps that were required to create his book. Chronicle Books has finally brought out the trade edition. They're also hosting a drawing - one lucky individual is going to win a copy of the Quercus Press edition. Chronicle is also hosting another drawing with IndieBound: five winners will win beautiful framed posters of Pictorial Webster's art.


Low Moon
by Jason
Fantagraphics Books (W.W. Norton) | 9781606991558 | $24.99 | June 2009

When I started repping for W.W. Norton, one of the special treats awaiting me as a longtime fan of graphic novels was the Fantagraphics list.  I've always been a fan of their particularly lovely bookmaking and their wide-ranging participation in both the history of the field as well as the future of comics.  To be dropped in amongst their riches was like Dorothy stepping out of her ruined farmhouse into technicolor Oz.

Consider this short list: The complete Peanuts.  Daniel Clowes' Ghost WorldLove and RocketsChris Ware's Acme Novelty LibraryComplete Crumb Comics.  Bill Griffith's ZippyTony Millionaire's Maakies.  Jules Feiffer.  Krazy & Ignatz.  I could easily fill this blog with nothing but Fantagraphics books, if I wanted.

 But my most exciting discovery of all has been Jason.  The mono-named Norwegian artist has been a prolific creator and a recent star of Fantagraphics' list.  His "clear line" style is immediately appealing and understandable to readers, and gives those readers what I think of as a head start - your focus and attention can be spent in finding the emotion and the subtext that runs below the surface narrative.

Some of my favorite backlist titles by Jason include I Killed Adolf Hitler (a time-traveling assassin is sent back to 1939 to do in the Nazi dictator, though the mission does not go as planned), and Pocket Full of Rain (a collection of 25 works from Jason's first 10 years as an artist).

He was one of the contributors to the Funny Pages serials in the New York Times Magazine, creating in the title piece from my featured book, Low Moon, an Old West homage that somehow combined gunfights, thwarted romance and chess.  Fantagraphics' Web site features a short video peek at Low Moon.


Inside the Painter's Studio
by Joe Fig
Princeton Architectural Press (Chronicle Books) | 9781568988528 | $35 | Paper | Sept 2009

Jackson Pollock 1951 (2002)This book began in 2000 when artist Joe Fig began a series of miniature sculptures of historically significant artists in their studios (see the Jackson Pollock sculpture, right).  After two years of working from memoirs and paintings and other source materials, he moved on to a related study of contemporary artists.  As he says in his preface, "my intention was to get a clearer understanding of the real, day-to-day practicalities of being an artist..."

Chuck (Chuck Close 1997) (2000)The resulting book combines all of the elements of Joe Fig's work and his behind-the-scenes research: an interview with each artist (which Fig quickly standardized as The Painter's Studio: An Artist's Questionnaire, seeming to riff on the Proust Questionnaire...), site photographs of each artist's studio space, their painting table, and works in progress, and photographs of the resulting miniature sculpture of the artist's studio by Fig.  In the end, what the curious reader holds in their hand in a guided tour through How Artists Work, told by an insider.  It's truly fascinating.

Fred Tomaselli 2003 (2003)Among the 24 artists involved in this project are Chuck Close, Ross Bleckner, Jane Hammond, Julie Mehretu and Fred Tomaselli.



Twitter coordinates:
Chronicle Books
Fantagraphics Books
Princeton Architectural Press