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Family Hardcover – June 3, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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About the Author

Lauren Dukoff's photographs have been featured in a wide range of publications and projected at L.A.'s Armand Hammer Museum. She lives in Los Angeles.

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.

The Introduction to Family by Lauren Dukoff

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (June 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811866629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811866620
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,500,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By bsg2004 VINE VOICE on December 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The core audience of this book may be people who are fans of the artists, but if you are not, or if you have not heard of these artists, you may also enjoy this book as an artistic endeavor. Fear not, the book introduces these artists to us in many different ways. I was not familiar with these artists before the book, so my review is from that perspective...

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Photo books of musicians or music scenes are tricky business. Too often, these tomes come across as either lifeless documents of some alien world to which the reader has no relatable context, or they function as vaguely voyeuristic glimpses into the lives of those who are lauded as heroes. The pictures of Lauren Dukoff's Family, however, attempt something greater in scope than simple documentation of moments in time. In Dukoff's photos of Devendra Banhart, fellow musicians, and friends, the photographer strives to connect her subjects through their like-minded spirituality, musical ideology, and overall appreciation of art that, in turn, make them "family." The images are of the intimate sort, whether they be of Banhart overlooking the beautifully greenery outside his home/studio in Topanga, CA, Bat For Lashes' Natasha Kahn putting on makeup in her Brooklyn, NY home, or Vashti Bunyan holding an acoustic guitar and laughing. These pictures not only pick up on the humanity of their subjects, but also tie together the musical and artistic threads that bind them. And in this sense, Dukoff succeeds in documenting the "family" she envisions, and manages to create a larger, more thought-provoking narrative.
By Frank Valish
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Format: Hardcover
Today, at approximately two o'clock p.m., I received my copy of Family in the mail.
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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My favorite music by current musicians, is for the most part all played by those bands/performers that fall into that FREAKFOLK camp. I love that acid folk from Donovan, Pentangle, Dylan 65-66, Tyrannasaurus Rex, right to the first "modern" freakfolk---HOPE SANDOVAL (Mazzy Star). So, to have a book with photos of all my favorite musicians, to sit and look at while their CDs play in the backround, is an absolute JOY. For anyone that has albums by Dev Banhart, Espers, Vetiver, Feathers, etc, then you know their CD art doesnt center around photos of the performers. (unlike the LP covers of the first wave of psychedelic folk artists, where the photograph of the artist WAS the album cover.) So we know what Donovan, Dylan, etc looked like...what about THESE guys? I could walk past these new guys, and forget to scream and faint. So, the first positive kick I got, was AH, that's what Andy Cabic from VETIVER looks like. AH, that's what the people in ESPERS looks like, and the people from FEATHERS, at their favorite energy spot. (Joanne Newsom is the ONLY one in this book, who had her image central to her CD artwork. Maybe MEGAPUSS is another exception, but then again, that's just DEVENDRA BANHART and another guy, and Banhart's image is recognizable from his music press coverage.) So for those who enjoy the visual "LOOK" of FREAKFOLK musicians, this book is just PERFECT for you. Also, if you collect photography books about musicians, the photography here is lovely, intimate and warm. Shot with analogue film, about 75% in B&W, 25% in color, the first book I'm immediately reminded of, is Linda McCartney's book of photography about the Psychedelic 60s' musicians, called "SIXTIES-Portrait of an Era".Read more ›
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