I first came across Noah Kalina’s work in 2006, when I found ‘Everyday’ – a video montage project of thousands of daily photos of himself, spanning over a period of six years. With over 14 million views to date, the video received international fame, from being described as a phenomenon by The New York Times, to being parodied on The Simpsons. I later learned that Noah was a brilliant photographer, who’s client list included Interview, New York Magazine, I.D., Seed, PIG, and Esquire. Through his blog, I discovered that Noah and I have a common passion – art book collecting. Noah took the time to share with us some favorites from his collection.
This is my book collection. It mainly consists of photography books, but I also collect books on painting, design, and architecture. Some of others are old textbooks, critical essays on photography, autobiographies, and art magazines. My collection isn’t huge, but it’s pretty good and since I have a had a little more money in my pocket lately, I have made a point to expand it. Since I occasionally sell some of my “personal” work, I generally ask to be paid through Paypal. That way I can just go and buy more work. I don’t pay my bills with money I make selling my magazine or prints, I reinvest it in other artists so I can spread the wealth and expand my mind. I am a photographer but I am also a really big fan.
The books here are among the first I bought. These are my classics. They are also some of my very earliest influences.
Andreas Gursky: Photographs from 1984 to the Present. The first time I saw Gursky my whole perspective on what photography could be and was, changed. Books obviously don’t do his work any justice, but this is a good one to to have. I had the 99 Cent poster from his MOMA retrospective hanging up in my dorm room in college. I miss those days.
Joel Sternfeld: American Prospects: Sternfeld is simply amazing, every photograph in this book makes me want to cry, they are so good. You know that photo with the person buying pumpkins and the house is on fire in the background? What the fuck?!
Larry Sultan’s The Valley is one of my favorite photo projects ever. It’s happy and it’s sad and the photos are just ridiculously awesome. If you ever wished there was a sequel to Boogie Nights, this is it, in photographic form.
Philip-Locra diCorcia: A Story Book Life: diCorcia is my favorite photographer of all time. This collection of photographs is just one hit after another. Everytime I take a picture I think to myself “what would PLDC do”. And then I make pictures that aren’t even close to as good as his.
I love photo books that make me wish my life were cooler, more exciting and more interesting. Basically anything dealing with sex, drugs, or rock and roll. But really mostly sex. I would consider it its own genre of photography.
Mark Helfrich – Naked Pictures Of My Ex-Girlfriends: When I saw Naked Pictures of my Ex Girlfriends I was like, holy shit, the 70’s might have actually been decent. The stories attached to each photo are hilarious and sometimes sad and make you want to go awwww. Then one-day somebody told me the whole book was made up and my brain exploded.
Richard Kern – Action is basically porno, but it’s okay to have on your bookshelf because you can’t masturbate to books with hard covers.
Meanwhile…. Timothy Briner stopped by, lay on my floor, and hand-delivered a copy of his book Boonville. We talked about personal work that is too personal to ever show anyone. Make sure to check out his upcoming solo show at Daniel Cooney in January.
I love super-affordable DIY books and zines. It’s always exciting to see unique approaches to showing and distributing work, mostly so you can store it in your brain and rip off the parts you like for your own upcoming book or zine project. The problem with buying books like these is similar to the problem I have with buying a box of chocolates. But it isn’t always bad. In fact, a lot of the time it is really quite good. Plus, when you collect books like these, they tend to be limited editions. That means if for any reason they get famous or “make it,” your 10-20 dollar investment might double or possibly even triple. Here are seven by three artists that I really love:
I have always enjoyed Mikael Kennedy’s work as I am a sucker for polaroid. I have 3 of his books, Passport to Trespass, Passport to Trespass vol.3 and Still Not Dead.
Day 19 aka Jeremy and Claire Weiss have been doing fun work for years. I am more into sex, but I like rock and roll “lifestyle” photography a lot. I managed to snag a couple of their zines.
I have two zines by Ye Rin Mok. Canada (2004) and ichikawadaimon (2008). She is easily one of my favorite “young” or “emerging” photographers out there so anything she puts out I’ll try to buy.
These photographers have established themselves as emerging talents and all have bright futures. Self-publishing is obviously a great promotional move. But since everyone knows this already, and everybody is doing it, it’s time to figure out something else. If you were thinking about making your own zine, sorry, you are too late, think of something better. But if you can’t, email a link to your new book or zine and if it is under $20 and the online samples look good, I will buy it as long as you make purchasing Paypal-able. Or you can just send me a free copy – I like that better. I’ll take a photo of it and put it on my blog which gets something like 200 hits a day. It will be good “exposure.”
All photos by Noah Kalina.