For the awesomely daring women in our lives comes the perfect gift: a jewel of a book that collects vintage candid snapshots of women enjoying unconventional activities. For the last two decades, Peter Cohen has been combing estate sales and flea markets collecting vernacular, or "found," photography taken in the middle part of the twentieth century. In his collection are countless images of women of all ages in various unconventional activities for the time: there are women swigging booze out of a bottle, boxing, playing pick-up football, smoking, or shooting arrows or guns—incongruous and playful behavior, all the while often performed in lovely dresses. Snapshots of Dangerous Women collects many of these period photographs, showcasing women from the thirties, forties, and fifties who are equal parts badass and rebellious, and, above all, clearly having a lot of fun. This charming book makes the ideal gift for the bold and free-spirited women in our lives.

 

Girls Standing on Lawns is a unique collaboration between renowned artist and bestselling children’s book author Maira Kalman and New York Times bestselling writer Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket. This clever book contains 40 vintage photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, more than a dozen original paintings by Kalman inspired by the photographs, and brief, lyrical texts by Handler. Poetic and thought-provoking, Girls Standing on Lawns is a meditation on memories, childhood, nostalgia, home, family, and the act of seeing. The gorgeous visual material sets the stage for what Handler succinctly describes as “a photograph, a painting, a sentence, a pose.” Girls, women, families, and even pets from days gone by grace the pages, looking out at us, enticing readers to imagine these people, their lives—and where they have gone.

 

Photographer and bookseller Melissa Catanese has been editing the vast photography collection of Peter J. Cohen, a celebrated trove of more than 20,000 vernacular and found anonymous photographs from the early to mid-twentieth century. Gathered from flea markets, dealers and Ebay, these prints* have been acquired, exhibited and included in a range of major museum publications. In organizing the archive into a series of thematic catalogues, she has pursued an alternate reading of the collection, drifting away from simple typology into something more personal, intuitive and openly poetic. Her magical new artist's book, Dive Dark Dream Slow, is rooted in the mystery and delight of the "found" image and the "snapshot" aesthetic, but pushes beyond the nostalgic surface of these pictures and reimagines them as luminous transmissions of anxious sensuality. Through a series of abandoned visual clues, from the sepia-infused shadow of a little girl running along a beach to silhouettes of a group of distant figures pausing upon a steep and snowy hill, a dreamlike journey is evoked. Like an album of pop songs about a girl (or a civilization) hovering on the verge of transformation, the book cycles through overlapping themes and counter-themes--moon and ocean; violence and tenderness; innocence and experience; masks and nakedness--that sparkle with deep psychic longing and apocalyptic comedy.

*All photographs from this collection have been donated to Pier 24

 

Snapshots preserve more than individual likeness and memory. Photographs of celebrations, vacations, and gatherings of family and friends are collected with the aim of constructing and preserving a personal identity for future generations. What happens, however, when a snapshot is subsequently discarded or displaced and becomes merely an "anonymous" image? This and many other questions are discussed in this fascinating selection of anonymous images depicting three women. Presumably all taken by nonprofessionals, these snapshots were acquired over time by a private collector interested in their eclectic yet familiar details, who named the grouping after the iconic Greco-Roman motif.

 

 

Dangerous Women is a small but lively selection of early-to-mid-20th-century, black-and-white snapshots of women taken from the collection of Peter J. Cohen, an esteemed private collector of vernacular photographs, and edited with humor by artist and publisher Melissa Catanese. The “Dangerous Women” presented here shoot, smoke, smoulder, shake and no doubt swear. Slipped in the middle of each book in a tiny glassine envelope, is an individual print from the collection—a take-away for inspiration.

 

 

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