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William Albert Allard: Five Decades Hardcover – October 12, 2010
Collectible Photography Books
The 10 Most Collectible Photography Books of All Time. Learn more on AbeBooks.com.
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From William Albert Allard
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|Buckaroo T. J. Symonds, IL Ranch cow camp, Nevada, 1979||Sandrine Gataleta, Arles, 1993||IL Ranch buckaroo Stan Kendall at the bar, Mountain City, Nevada 1979||Ungaro models backstage, Paris, 1988|
|Calving time, Padlock ranch, Montana, 1975||Indigo Maynard, Missoula, Montana, 2009||Brian Morris, Circle A boss, Paradise Valley, Nevada, 1970||Minor league spring training, Phoenix, Arizona, 1990|
“Ranging from cowboys to fashion models, and from street scenes in Paris to everyday life in highland Peru, these images show one of the modern photography's masters at the peak of his form.” –Book News
“The breadth of [Allard’s] work is apparent in the sumptuous ‘Five Decades: A Retrospective’…Although his landscapes and street scenes are gorgeous, the portraits are what stay with you…Allard is a sculptor on film, chiseling faces and figures into monumentality.”
–Wall Street Journal online
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Top Customer Reviews
An interesting side note is that the press runs of the book may be uneven as the photographs in my copy were perfectly reproduced while the photographs in a friend of mine's copy were a bit on the darker side, taking away from some of their nuance and appeal. A book worth having!
This is a very sensitive, human book. Its beauty in writing and images goes well without saying. Nothing less would be expected anyway.
This book summarizes until the last few chapters all of the stories we fans have awaited and enjoyed in National Geographic and in his books over the decades. The last too few chapters show some of his personal take. Would that there could have been more of these, of images that none of us has seen before.
Allard is one of my top five personal photographic heroes. First has always been Ernst Haas, second Eliot Porter, and tying for third Allard, Cartier-Bresson, and, well, I have trouble deciding on this one. He has my vote for the best photojournalist/essayist since W Eugene Smith. His work is seldom a collection of hit-and-move on images. Most of his articles and single subject books are visual and written stories where it is so obvious that he, as the photographer, has the trust, acceptance, and liking of the subjects in the image. The people in his images are not just geometrical and color visual elements, but are conveyors of the images' feel and story.
So many of his images over the years have bored into my mind as visual archetypes of certain human situations - probably more than any other favorite photographer of the human condition. While he gets and publishes once in a great while some shocking, gruesome content, what I remember more about his images is how many I'd love to have in our home. There is a gentleness and love of humanity that comes through in most of his images and in all of his stories. Few photographers achieve that quality. But when there is something to show of the dark side, he achieves the impact without the abrasiveness and breath-stopping qualities of some who specialize in the most down-and-out aspects of life.
He admits in his interviews that he lacks the analytical vocabulary to describe and evaluate the architecture of his images in analytical/technical terms. Many photographers I know are that way. But when he says "I see in color," it brings to mind people with cross sensory brain architecture who perceive across different stimuli in the sense of, say, Kandinski, who when hearing music, saw colors and shapes in his mind's eye. Others hear music according to what they are seeing. I think Allard is of that ilk, where the visual, written/verbal, and musical are all happening simultaneously inside his head. To get the images he does, it seems to me that something like that must be going on. This is purely speculation, but, d---, he is good.
If any reader of this review gets the chance to take one of his workshops, don't miss it. I had that privilege several years ago. I didn't shoot much that week, but I certainly enjoyed and was often awed by the work that the others came up with. After finally getting some time for him to look at some of my work, he made my entire photographic career, such as it is not, saying, "You use the frame well." It only took me twenty some years to get to that point.
I hope there are more books to come. One I'd like would be just his unpublished and personal work. Allard came up in the 1960s and `70s when it was still possible for us of the Post-War Baby Boom Generation to find a handful of photographers to latch onto and follow through their careers. Now there are so many, I don't have a sense of whom I'd choose from among the younger crowd to call a favorite. But there is no question about my top five, and Allard is one of them.