Saturday, September 29, 2007

David Vestal's latest book "Easter Parade New York 1949"

Unfortunately, you'll likely never see this wonderful new book. As far as I know David has made no more than 10 copies. In the same style as his first two books that I have, this one is "home made" and equally as wonderful as it's siblings. I think the first two also suffer from underproduction.

Perhaps the most important thing I have learned from looking at David's work involves "doing your own thing"! David has to my knowledge only used a 35mm camera for his personal work for most of the last 60 years. As he approaches his 85th. birthday he has produced an invaluable lesson in persistence and determination as well as some of the most beautiful photographs I have ever seen. If I sound like a fan it's because I am.

I first "met" David about 15 years ago when I wrote to him and asked if I could buy a print of a portrait of Sid Grossman he had taken many years earlier. Fortunately for me, he had a copy and he sold it to me for a ridiculously low price. Many years ago I made a small contribution to the exhibition of Sid Grossman's work that Anne Tucker produced and curated at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and in return she gave me a small book of Grossman's photographs. I noticed that Vestal had been one of the people involved in the production of the Grossman book and I had seen the portrait of Sid in one of Vestal's books on darkroom work. It was the start of a long and very rewarding association, for me at least.

I have learned a great deal about photography, the art world, and life in general as a result of my communications with David. He is a wonderful teacher. Two of the many things I've learned involve looking at the world where ever you happen to be and then seeing clearly what's in front of you. To my way of thinking, David has done what Walker Evans defined as the "art of photography".

Evans said "Leaving aside the mysteries and the inequities of human talent, brains, taste, and reputations, the matter of art in photography may come down to this; it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt."

David Vestal has given us a lesson in how to do that very thing and in the process produced some great photographs.

If you'd like to buy one of his books you can contact him by mail. He might still have copies available, but I can't guarantee it.

David Vestal
PO Box 309
Bethlehem CT. 06751-0309

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