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Thomas Allen: Uncovered Board book – September 1, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This enchanting book presents amusing tableaux of fictional characters, each coming to life with a quiet yet determined energy... These filmic scenes, set up and recorded with a 4 x 5 camera, have a quality of child-like make-believe, yet with a sophistication that enables the tales to take on a life beyond the page... With its witty narratives, it really is a delightful object that you want to return to again and again." -- Debra Klomp Ching -- Photo District News

"Allen's work is inspired by a love of pop-up books; he photographs these engaging tableaux in shallow focus -- imbuing his full color prints with the dreamy effect of a stereoscopic toy -- and expands the physical format of the paperback book into an otherwordly fantasy." --Flak Photo

"Looked at individually, each image is notable as much for its craft as for its narrative; as a collection they seem an allegory of a pop-history with gravity we don't witness enough today." -- Jay Gardner --Picture Magazine

"Old-school film noir, pulp fiction, and pop-up books coalesce beautifully in tableaux in photographer Thomas Allen's first monograph, Uncovered." -- Jared Paul Stern --BlackBook

"Vampish vixens, drunken sailors, bust-ups and shoot-outs are some of the entertaining images that can be found in this photographic homage to the golden age of pulp fiction, film noir and cult westerns. Thomas Allen cuts away and twists old paperbacks into these subverted narratives, bursting out of pages that almost slide off the edge of the mantelpiece." --The Bookseller

About the Author

Thomas J. Allen is author of The Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars. Jim P. Brock is co-author of Butterflies of North America and Butterflies of Southeastern Arizona. Jeffrey Glassberg, the general editor of the Butterflies through Binoculars series, is President of the North
American Butterfly Association and editor of American Butterflies Magazine.


Chip Kidd is a designer/writer in New York City. His book cover designs for Alfred A. Knopf, where he has worked nonstop since 1986, have helped create a revolution in the art of American book packaging. He is the recipient of the National Design Award for Communications, as well as the Use of Photography in Design award from the International Center of Photography. Kidd has published two novels, "The Cheese Monkeys" and "The Learners", and is also the author of "Batman: Death By Design" and the coauthor and designer of "True Prep", the sequel to the beloved "Official Preppy Handbook". His 2012 TED Talk has been viewed 1.2 million times and is cited as one of the funniest of the year. He is most recently the author of the bestselling GO: A Kidd s Guide To Graphic Design".
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Product Details

  • Board book: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture; BRDBK edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597110531
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597110532
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Board book
I had seen a few preview images online, but nothing prepared me for the awesomeness!!! The book is printed on thick, cardboard-like pages (think young children's books), so it's sturdy and rugged and highly unusual. If you're a fan of David Levinthal's stuff, David Levinthal: Small Wonders (American Scene (Washington, D.C.), 4,), this work will appeal. If you're a fan of pulp art, or popular illustration, this will appeal. It makes me want to grab some Xacto knives and go digging through old book boxes at the local antique consignment mall. I'll return to this one again and again for that quick-hit visual inspiration. It may not as large as a standard coffee table book, but you'll never want to put it away!!! It's excellent creative re-envisioning. It's a photographic parallel of what Bill Willingham is doing with Fables - taking long-established works and repurposing them to EXCELLENT effect. If you haven't read Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile, give it a try. You're in for a treat, and it gets better and better as the story unfolds!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm so happy for having ordered this amazing book!
I recommend it to anyone who love photography and pulp fiction brought together in such an unusual and surprising manner!

Cristina, Madeira Island - Portugal
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Format: Board book
In the book "Uncovered," Thomas Allen breaks the two-dimensional boundaries of photography, with his thrilling series of pulp fiction cutouts. From rowdy pirates and cowboys to alluring heroines, Allen's characters jump off the page and come to life, setting the scene for the viewer to then create his or her own narrative. What is even more impressive about his work is that he does everything from sifting through books to find the perfect combinations of figures, constructing and staging the scenes, to lighting and composing the image, all without any digital manipulation. The 4x5 camera that he uses creates the intense focus shifts that make the characters seem to pop right off the page.

I was first introduced to this series of Allen's photographs on his website where I immediately fell in love with them. But it was only after picking up a copy of this book that I was able to fully appreciate the true genius of his work. The experience of holding this book and flipping through its thick cardboard pages awakens your sense of touch and sight, creating the sensation that you could reach down and pick up the figures as if they were actually sitting in front of you. His photographs are meant to spark the viewer's imagination. Each figure and scene has a different feeling and personality, yet the ambiguity of what is happening allows for more than one story to be told and for each individual to create his or her own version.

The overall simplicity and originality of his work is inspiring. The illusions that Allen creates with his photographs never cease to amaze me. To see such powerful images created out of something as simple as an old book, is a refreshing break from the digital, manipulated world that photography has fallen into.
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Format: Board book
What a fabulous collection! I first saw the work of Thomas Allen in the Spring 2007 issue of The Georgia Review magazine, and was just blown away. I really feel like Allen is onto something nobody else is, both in terms of form and content. I almost don't want to know too much about his method, preferring to maintain the mystery and enjoy the results. This cool little book is a must-have for lovers of pulps, noir, dioramas, and innovative photography.
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
I always knew that someday, if I flew long enough, I'd read a worthwhile article in one of those dreadful inflight magazines they stick in the pocket of the seat ahead of you next to the sick bad. My eureka moment came in December when I read United's latest issue of "Spirit" (I think it was) and an srtist called Thomas Allen was featured in quite a slick spread. I must have been exclaiming over it out loud, for later on i found out that not only had I gone ahead and ordered a copy from Amazon, but my wife did too, thinking that aha at last she had found a good Christmas present for hard-to-shop-for me.

Some of you may be wondering by now is the book worth it, or is Allen a one trick pony? I have no idea how he does the things he does with a razor blade and a steady stack of old, sometimes crumpled up paperbacks, but they say a documentary is coming and will soon be on public TV to show the artist at work. You can see in UNCOVERED how, in an effort to keep the sliced out cover image at least minimally attached to the book itself (what a curious, seemingly irrational restraint), he has been known to carve out a single line--one here shows a line of smoke mounting moodily from an unfiltered cigarette, so slim and tenuous you wouldn't think anyone could get in that narrowly.

Are they suggestive? And how! It's an Oulipean art practice, born of subtraction, that nevertheless extends itself into eros and beyond. The campy aspects of the original covers seem to dissolve under the application of all that rigor and man meets woman, woman meets woman, man meets man, and undresses right quick, just the way the Lord meant it to happen. The sensual just pops right out, almost like a physiological reaction.
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