Sunday, April 10, 2011

Five: Take a look, it's in a book

I love books. It's no secret. And because of that deep, abiding love, the ebook "revolution" makes me weep inside, because no matter how much cheaper or more convenient it will be in the end to have all of your reading material stored on a digital device, I love the senses that come along with reading an actual book and cannot imagine my life without them. The smell of books is overwhelmingly nostalgic and intoxicating. There's a huge part of me that can never see myself completely switching over to a digital device purely based on the smells, along with other tangible senses, I experience with I read a book.

That being said, I, of course, love book stores. It's a dangerous relationship because no matter how many books I have, I always want more. I currently have 5 books I've purchased/acquired within the past few months that haven't been cracked open yet because I'm busy reading other things. It's a disease. A pleasant illness I don't mind having. And incurable cancer I simply can't imagine my life without.

Yes, I love books.

And so for this week's project, I originally had the idea of going to a city library to photograph the books housed within. While book stores are one of my favorite places, new stores have a patterned, consistent, even sterile feel to their shelves of books. All the books are new, shiny, and untouched. Library books are sometimes ancient, well worn, and have a past. To me, that's way more interesting to photograph than the books on the shelves of Borders.

However, the particular library I wanted to photograph happens to be closed on the weekends. Faced with this unforeseen challenge, I came up with a brilliant Plan B: Half-Priced Books.

This chain is a well known second hand book store started in Texas in the 1970s by a couple of hippies. And, well, it hasn't changed much since then. Isn't that beautiful? You can go to any of the Half-Priced Books and find thousands of random, care worn, sometimes decades old books for super cheap, waiting for their next adventure. I absolutely love this store. I worked in one when I was 18, and it continues to hold a special place in my heart.

I thought this would be the perfect place to photograph books. Torn edges, irregular patterns, yellowed pages, ancient's a photographer's dream.

I had to include the one Christopher Walken, who was just begging me to photograph him from the shelf.

And lastly, no hippie bookstore would be complete without an old Remington typewriter randomly placed on a shelf in the Fiction section.


  1. Awesome. Those last two pictures are phenomenal. The texture of the pages: beautiful.

  2. PS I have the Reading Rainbow song stuck in my head now. Thank you for that... ;)

  3. Dude, I'm totally having a Pavlovian response to these photos. My mom got me a Sony eReader a couple Christmases ago and even though I love the convenience and the cheapness (and sometimes freeness) of digital books, I never feel as immersed reading them as I do reading a real book.

    Also, all the Half-Price Books here are way out in the burbs. Envy.

  4. I love books too! I bought a bed-side table just so I could stack 'to reads' on it...and it has accumulated quite the stack!

    I've just introduced my students to Reading Rainbow in these last few weeks...still as awesome as ever!

  5. Ruth, those last two photos are my favorite, too. I'm glad somebody else thought so, too! Also, I've pretty much had the Reading Rainbow song stuck in my head since Sunday night. You're welcome.

    Murgs, remember when we talked for like 2 hours last night? Good times.

    Kelsy, I'm glad you're introducing today's youngest generation to Reading Rainbow. Somebody has to do it!

  6. Reading Rainbow stuck in my head too--ahhh!!!!

    But these are awesome pictures. :)