on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Mirrors Messages Manifestations – Minor White

Book review

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Minor White only really had one major publication of his own in his lifetime. Mirrors Messages Manfiestations was published in 1968 and is a strange work. A combination of spiritual guide book, artist catalog, diary extracts and poetry it is a wonderful distillation of his approach to his work and life. Although some of the text is a little 'arty' it still warrants attention. The photographs show a keen mind at work trying to use the landscape (and cityscape) to evoke the inner spiritual. One of my favourite quotations..

"To a student asking: To photograph what else things are? When you try to photograph something for what it is you have to go out of yourself, out of your way, to understand the object its facts and essence. When you photograph things for what 'Else' they are, the object goes out of its way to understand you." - Minor White, 19th Jan. 1957

The book is difficult to get hold of online though - my copy was £50 but I had to keep my eye out for quite a while to get hold of that. You can probably pick up a copy for £60-£70 but mint copies sell for upwards of £400.

For somebody who wants to know 'about' Minor White, I would highly recommend getting a copy of 'The Eye that Shapes'. It was published to coincide with a major retrospective of his life and work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and has a comprehensive biography and extracts from many of his journals and letters. It also puts together many of his most important works. A lot of the work from 'Mirrors' is also included but many are only quarter page size and included in a appendix of 'sequences'. His sequence work came from the influence of Stieglitz and his working with Nancy Newhall where he helped with exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A copy of this on your bookshelf should give you all you need to know about Minor White in the context of the time he worked.

You should be able to get a cheap copy of this for £15 to £20 (and well worth it at that price) and good copies start at about £40-£50.



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