Eliot Porter -- In the Realm of Nature by Paul Martineau, Getty Publications '12, $39.95, 144 pages, 80 color and 30 b&w illustrations, in oversized format on glossy stock, ASIN #1606061194. Index, plate list, scores of b&w and color images.
Trained as a medical doctor and a scientist, Eliot Porter by the 1930s knew that his future lay in photography, in part because of the inspiration of the iconic photographers Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz. Meeting Adams at a dinner party in 1936 and invited, along with Adams, to show their prints, Porter "instantly recognized the inferiority of his own work...Those photographs took my breath away by their perfection and strength."
As a result of that chance meeting, Porter implored Adams to invest in a medium-format camera (a 9 x 12 inch Linhof) and, ironically, set out on a career dedicated largely to color photography rather than black and while, the medium in which Adams had made and honed his reputation.
Porter, who started out with landscapes, found himself increasingly drawn to birds. Author Paul Martineau writes that "He would often build a wood tower adjacent to a tree so that he could peer down into the nest of his avian subjects at closer vantage. He produced landscape images that captured both pristine forests and ragged river canyons with equal force and brilliance."
Eliot Porter's career ran from the 1930s through the 1980s. His Sierra Club book, In Wilderness is the Preservation of the World, was perhaps his landmark literary contribution, its images grouped by season and accompanied by quotations from Henry David Thoreau.
In the Realm of Nature isn't restricted to color images but displays Porter's lesser-known black and white photographs from the 1930s and 1940s "that are reminiscent of the work of Edward Weston, as well as Adams and Stieglitz. As Martineau writes, "Eliot Porter remained steadfast in his use of color photography from the 1940s until the mid 1970s, before it was recognized as a legitimate artistic medium."
Paul Martineau is an associate curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and author of several other photographic works as well.
Was Hitler Ill? by Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle, Polity '13, 244 pages, ASIN #0745652220. Index, select bibliography, notes, grouping of b&w glossy images, other b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the dust jacket:
"Four months after the end of the war, Hitler's personal physician Theodor Morell allegedly said to his fellow prisoner Karl Brandt: 'In fact, Hitler was never sick.' Brandt, who had been responsible for the 'euthanasia' killings and was thus deeply implicated in the crimes of the Nazi regime, disagreed. He claimed that Morell had 'pumped the Fuhrer full of drugs' and was now merely attempting to justify his actions. In his opinion, Morell had turned Hitler into a physical wreck.
"The discussion between the two Hitler-appointed professors in their prison cell continues to kindle debate to this day. Doctors, psychologists and historians are still looking for explanations for the genocide that was perpetrated by Hitler and his followers, putting forward various theories, including speculation about Hitler's illnesses and alleged perversions and paranoia. In this new book, Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle, a medical doctor and a historian, combine their expertise and re-examine Hitler's personal archive and his medical reports in an attempt to provide a definitive answer to the question that has troubled historians and others for half a century: was Hitler ill?
Co--author Hans-Joachim Neumann is emeritus professor of medicine at Charite', Berlin. Co--author Henrik Eberle teaches contemporary history at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, Vintage Paperback '92, $11.95, 217 pages, ASIN #0679722645.
First copyrighted 84 years ago, The Maltese Falcon is certainly one of the greatest classic detective stories of the 20th century. From the rear cover:
"A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a far man named Gutman, and Brigid O'Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett's coolly gilttering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted generations of readers."
Novelist Dashiell Hammett is the author of seven other books of fiction.