Friday, April 13, 2018

Illustrated with a Poem

MacLeish text "Now we don't know" next to Migrant Mother imageWe seem to be obsessing over photograph books lately. Not sure why, but here is another one! In 1938, while the Depression still raged, the poet Archibald MacLeish made use of the Farm Security Administration's invitation to writers to make creative use of their vast photographic collections. MacLeish produced a poem, but rather than use the photographs to illustrate the poem, he reversed the usual format. On the dust jacket blurb, he writes: "Land of the Free" is the opposite of a book of poems illustrated by photographs. It is a book of photographs illustrated by a poem.

MacLeish text "We're wondering" next to image of woman on a cot in a tent
The "poem" is also referred to as a soundtrack, and similarly to how illustrations change the way you read a text, MacLeish's poem alters your vision of the photos.

MacLeish text about a riot next to image of a riot scene
It is a cool interplay of text and image well worth your time. Come in and ask for Land of the Free, Rare E169.M16.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cruise of the "Pandora"

Photo captioned "My last look at the North-West Passage"We have blogged about William Bradford's mammoth photographic ode to the North, Arctic Regions, in the past. We just found in our collections a book that could be considered its little cousin: Allen Young's Cruise of the "Pandora" from 1876. Like Arctic Regions, it uses actual pasted-in photographs as illustrations. The scope and size is considerably smaller (it contains just twelve photos in a book you you can easily hold in your hand), but it shows the same kind of environmental and cultural tourism Bradford displays.

Photo captioned Cape Riley where the first relics of Franklin's Expedition were found."There are photos of Cape Riley "where the first relics of Franklin's Expedition were found"; a sentimental "last look at the North-West Passage": and the quarter deck of the Pandora after a successful hunt. The book also shares Bradford's awe toward the Arctic. Even though the journey had the dual purpose to complete the Northwest Passage and search for Franklin's lost ships, to Young, the region was a place of wonder and beauty.

Photo captioned Quater-deck of Pandora--A mornign's bag
To take a look, ask for Stef G665 1875 .Y5.