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Family Hardcover – June 3, 2009
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About the Author
Devendra Banhart is a musician and artist whose most recent album is Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. He lives in Los Angeles.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
When I was fourteen years old my father gave me my first camera, a Canon 35mm. I carried it around everywhere I went and I took pictures incessantly. As soon as I had the camera, I wanted to take pictures of people. I wasn’t interested in taking the sorts of pictures that my father, a photographer, was pursuing (abstractions, still lifes, quietly serious images of trees or mountains), and maybe this was in part simply an adolescent urge to go in an opposite direction, but for me when I pointed my lens at a beautiful landscape I felt no sense of excitement or urge to snap away. On the other hand, when I aimed it at a person, I felt as if there was a whole story happening within my frame. A life story—real or imagined—being told with every nuance of expression and every line on a person’s face. That’s where my passion for taking pictures started to grow from.
Later that year, I wrote an essay on J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories for my high school freshman English class. My teacher, Mrs. Gonzalez, said that my writing reminded her of another student of hers, a senior named Devendra. I started spending my lunch hours in Mrs. Gonzalez’s classroom, and I guess it was no coincidence that Devendra and his friend Isabelle Albuquerque also spent their lunch hours there. I would read and draw in a sketchbook, and one day Devendra walked over from the other side of the room and said he’d like to see what I was working on.
He was extremely magnetic and charming, and I felt that he and Isabelle were the most beautiful people I’d ever met. At first I wasn’t sure what I could possibly contribute. Why were they interested in me? They were four years older, and I felt out of my league, even though at school they were actually on the furthest outer rim of the usual social structure.
Soon, Devendra, Isabelle, and I started to spend many afternoons together riding into the city and wandering the streets. It was then that I began to photograph Devendra and all his friends. The photos were never posed; instead they were simple documentations of our adolescent adventures: shots of trips to the Getty Museum, photographs of Devendra and Isabelle in their backyards, a shot of Devendra through the rearview mirror taken from the back seat, images taken on city buses. These were my first photos.
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Top Customer Reviews
The photographer, Lauren Dukoff, produced a photo-album - capturing the moments and the life of a group of musicians - the Family. In this particular case, the photographer herself is also part of the Family, which makes this book an even more intimate and in-depth look at the musicians and personalities. Obviously, if you are familiar with the artists, you can have a better appreciation of the different photographs, scenes and expressions.
There are different types of photographs in the book - performance shots, portrait-style photos, and snapshots of life and the fleeting moment. There is black and white, there is color, there is reflection, spontaneity, costumes, emotion, and a few pictures that capture "the moment".
The book also includes instructions on how to download eight mp3 songs from the artists in the book - this is a great idea for non-fans, as they can get a sampling of the featured artists. A smart thing to do!
The book itself, from a book-perspective is beautifully crafted, with a foreword by Devendra, and an introduction by Lauren who gives us the background story and introduces the artists to us. The main "dish" are the photographs themselves, sprinkled with artwork from the artists themselves.Read more ›
By Frank Valish
I can honestly say I have never been this excited to open a book before... To flip through its pages, to examine and admire its contents. Lauren Dukoff is one of those photographers who truly connects with her subjects, who, despite the setting she's given or creates, captures nothing short of pure emotion. I knew Family would be good, but I had no idea it would be THIS good.
What the book manages to do, what Lauren accomplishes through her art, is to tell a story, convey a feeling of love and friendship in their most boundlessly genuine moments. Not only will you find portraits of some of music's most esteemed contributors, but you'll view them as very few people ever have before. These quiet, private, and beautiful moments... There's nothing more magical than being able to admire them and hold them in your hand. What this woman has achieved is something incredible. A book created out of love, love for music, love for art, love for the people who create it all and for each other... Family is definitely not one to be shelved. Keep it on your coffee table, keep it on your night stand, keep it underneath your pillow. You're going to want to look through it more than once, I promise you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am more of a fan of photography than I am of the subjects of the book Family. I was hopeful that the book would be of interest to people in both camps. Read morePublished on June 19, 2012 by Esther B.
I like the overall concept of this book, which is the combination of music, art, and the "family" that this union creates. Read morePublished on October 30, 2009 by Krisilou
Family is both a beautiful book in the inside and in the outside (if you can say it in English :) ) I mean is a beautiful object, because is a big violet book, and Lauren pics... Read morePublished on October 4, 2009 by M. Sara
From the interview betwen author/photographer Lauren Dukoff and best friend/mentor musicianDevendra Banhart
DB: Do you know how much I love you and think yer the best... Read more
Nothing wrong with creating a photo album of friends and family, but one wouldn't expect a personal photo album to justify mass production. Read morePublished on August 23, 2009 by alaska
This large-format album is more of a photo scrapbook than anything else. The author / photographer has compiled photos she has taken over the years of musician friends of hers,... Read morePublished on August 13, 2009 by Julie Neal
by Lauren Dukoff & Devendra Banhart
(Chronicle Books, 2009)
A puckish, restlessly creative... Read more
I absolutely agree with the other reviewers here who said this book is just a very personal collection of photos that really only mean something to this group of friends. Read morePublished on August 2, 2009 by Mercedes J.
This book is a compilation of photographs of musician Devendra Banhart and his friends captured by photographer Lauren Dukoff. Read morePublished on July 28, 2009 by Rama Rao