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Rough Beauty Hardcover – October 1, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In the interview concluding this book, Anderson suggests that the historic photographer he most admires is Dorothea Lange, especially for her images of poor, rural Americans. His pictures taken in little Vidor, Texas, attest the affinity. The people Anderson shows, like those in Lange's famous pictures, are poor and white. Most of the adults have no or too little work; Anderson says they typify the people his economic historian father says have lived for generations as tenuously as many more did only during the Depression. Whereas Lange photographed the poor to call attention and relief to their plight, Anderson aims to disclose the beauty in their lives that arises from their persistent enjoyment of life despite continual hardship. He finds it in the things they create because they can't buy them: a deer-hunter's stand, old boots transformed into planters, a barrel rigged with ropes for children to "bronco"-ride. He finds it in candor of expression, tenderness for pets and infants, and children's play. But it's a rough beauty, all right, especially among the adults. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Prior to becoming a full-time professional photographer, Anderson worked for Bill Clinton at the White House and then as a full-time producer at MTV. Dave's project "Rough Beauty" was the winner of the Santa Fe Center for Photography's 2005 Project Competition. He was also named a rising star by Photo District News. Founder and curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Curated over two-dozen exhibitions, including retrospectives for Robert Frank, Richard Misrach and Brassaï, and published many articles and lectures around the world. Awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Getty Research Institute.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904587291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904587293
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.7 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,317,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Keasler on November 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was very impressed with this incredible book with quiet and poetic images. Photographer Dave Anderson is doing what the best and most important photography today does - addressing social issues in a dignified manner. The resulting portrait of Vidor is a difficult but sweet one that presses into details of quiet beauty that we might never see if we were walking through the same streets. I found the photographs of children endearing and sweet. I have never been through the town in question but but love to visit after seeing Anderson's view of the town. I think the people of Vidor would be complemented by this sweet portrayal of a part of their town that is surely ignored by most.
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Format: Hardcover
Recalling the great photojournalists of old, Anderson's photographs conjure stories -- great and small, joyous and sorrowful -- of his subjects, though we are to guess them ourselves. The title, Rough Beauty, is apt because while the eye initially falls on the center of a perfectly captured beautiful moment, around the periphery lie markers of a difficult place (poor, small town East Texas) and a difficult time (now).

I recommend this work without reservation.
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For me personally, this book was a breath of fresh air. Admittedly Rough Beauty's focus is on Vidor's poverty, but the book tries to show my home town for its humanity. Every other media outlet has shown similar people, but instead has focused their inhumanity. It's a good book and the photographs are beautiful. For anyone from Southeast Texas or anyone familiar with Vidor's reputation, I strongly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I sound like an NPR nut, but after I heard David Anderson's interview on NRP's Day-to-Day, I had to take a look at this book. Anderson's camera opens our eyes to areas of our world that we overlook, whether it asks us to see a part of the country with a troubled history that we'd rather leave to our own prejudice, or it asks us to find our own inner landscape unexpectedly reflected in the portrait of a stranger. The presentation of Anderson's beautiful photos of Vidor, Texas by Tucker and Anderson are clearly products of a photographer with a thoughtful eye. I hope I'm conveying my enthusiasm well without sounding too thinky-thinky. These photos grab the eye and don't let you sit down. It's themes and beauty are perfect for the holidays-- I'm definitely gifting this book.
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By Zack D. on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I grew up and live near Vidor the focus of Dave Andersons book. I can say Vidor does not have the best or reputations in the surrounding areas. Daves work is a poignant look at an area plagued by stereotypes and missunderstandings. His photographs show the area and in such a beautiful way. I'm impressed that he was able to capture the spirit of the area without focussing on the negative aspects the town is so known for.
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This is great insight into an infamous East Texas town, that is trying to shed its stigma.

The photographer uses the stark realism of b&W photography to capture the essence of the townfolk and their mostly poverty ridden environ.

Highly recommended.
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