Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera (英語) ハードカバー – 2009/10/22
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Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera is the first book to explore the meticulously composed and richly detailed photographs that Norman Rockwell used to create his famous artworks. Working alongside skilled photographers, Rockwell acted as director, carefully orchestrating models, selecting props, and choosing locations for the photographs--works of art in their own right--that served as the basis of his iconic images. Readers will be surprised to find that many of his most memorable characters-the girl at the mirror, the young couple on prom night, the family on vacation-were friends and neighbors who served as his amateur models. In this groundbreaking book, author and historian Ron Schick delves into the archive of nearly 20,000 photographs housed at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Featuring reproductions of Rockwell's black-and-white photographs and related full-color artworks, along with an incisive narrative and quotes from Rockwell models and family members, this book will intrigue anyone interested in photography, art, and Americana.
What a wonderful book this is--and what a rare behind-the-scenes look at the artistic process it provides. So many of the moments we see as impossibly idealized versions of us are in fact us. Rockwell's genius improves with this 'backstage' glance.―Ken Burns, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker
A wonderful new book by Ron Schick . . . that lifts the curtain on Rockwell's working methods, revealing how profoundly labor-intensive and thoughtfully imagined they were.―David Kamp, Vanity Fair
Chronicler of midcentury Americana Norman Rockwell often recruited friends and neighbors to pose for the photos that he then used to create the iconic images we know and love. Until now, that part of the painter's process remained mostly hidden, but historian Ron Schick's new book Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera reveals the primary texts next to the colorful classics they became, and the result is truly impossible to put down. ―Elizabeth Bougerol, NBC NewYork.com
Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, written and compiled by Ron Schick, has given me immense newfound respect for the man, for the meticulous photography, the real people and the unintentionally hilarious DIY props and sets that he required to make his painted fantasies of Americana come true ―Wilson Rothman, Gizmodo.com
This is a book about one of our great homespun artists that will make you laugh, and also make you think. It's a real treasure. ―Alan Cheuse, NPR
Apparently, Rockwell used live models for all of his work. Every model will be meticulously costumed and posed until he could get his perfect composition. Preparing the shot almost seems like an art form itself as he tirelessly puts in all the details required, sometimes to the extend of staging elaborate settings, like deciding the items to display on the table behind models. Every painting is well conceived and composed in his mind even before he lays paint on canvas. If you've read any biography of him, you won't be surprised by his dedication.
Included in this book is a great selection of his paintings and the photos he used, put side by side for comparison. The author Ron Schick has done a great job providing commentary to all the illustrations, through interviews with people who have worked with Rockwell. There's plenty of insight and a few lessons to be learned on posing models. You'll see what are the details Rockwell retains and those that he leaves out.
This is an inspiring book recommended to all admirers of Norman Rockwell's paintings, and to artists who want to learn more on using references from the master painter.
(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
Admirers of Rockwell's art should consider this book unmissable, given the fresh ground that it covers. It will also have some appeal to illustrators and portraitists, because of the description and examples provided on Rockwell's working methods.
Why did someone with such a sharp drawing and drafting ability take such heavy recourse to use of photography? It should be understood that Norman Rockwell laboured under huge pressure to produce paintings at a rapid rate to meet deadlines of magazine editors and to satisfy other lucrative commercial commissions for his art. To spare time from doing dozens of preparatory drawings for each painting, Rockwell eventually began instead to use photographs and select among them before choosing a final composition. The photos did not displace the need for models, costumes, props or any of the rigour of painting preparation, like sketches and colour studies. But these snapshots did ensure great efficiencies: they saved re-sittings by models, avoided movements of sunlight; and made possible a far more phenomenal output in one man's career than otherwise could have been conceivable.
Author Ron Schick, an expert in photographic art, explains the considerable efforts that went into composing the photos and what Rockwell was aiming to conjure up. It is a tale of an artist scouting locations, assembling props, and amusingly positioning and directing the models like actors in a play. This book shows some of the tricks used by Rockwell for getting the best out of life models, including using stacks of books to support the feet of figures as they feigning leaps, running, or other exertions "in motion". We also see how folding screens in varying shades were used to help the artist accurately capture the tones and outline of a model, without distraction from background clutter.
The book is well designed. The author and publishers juxtapose paintings opposite source photographs, sometimes showing how several separately photographed models might be assembled on canvas into one composition. It becomes apparent how the artist selectively modified and spliced poses, or added or varied details in clothing and props, to drive the narrative power of his final paintings.
The visual extravaganza in this book is well supported by pithy and pertinent stories about the featured artworks, spiced up with quotes from Rockwell, his models and other associates (Rockwell was a little abashed at his use of photography, but he has written several accounts of his working methods for the benefit of fellow illustrators who have sought to learn his secrets). Schick threads the book together with writing of his own that is informative and perceptive. The book is a good length at over 200 pages, but Rockwell was such a prolific artist that it is hard not to wish for even more of his paintings in this enjoyable monograph. This is an abridged review from my Art Book News blog at blogspot.
I thought I would mention that, for those who like this book, that this TV series https://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Complete-Ronald-Howard/dp/B000BBOUGI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471151777&sr=8-1&keywords=sherlock+holmes+ron+howard portraying Sherlock Holmes is an interesting pairing, and I think adds more appreciation to both Norman Rockwell and Arthur Cannon Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes once you come to see the characters compared in this light. It would be hard to find a better candidate for an American Sherlock Holmes than Rockwell, or more Holmesian painter, character wise at least.
This book focuses on the photographic images which Rockwell created in preparation for many of his paintings. Just comparing the original photos to the final paintings demonstrates that Rockwell was never a hack, only copying photographs, but was master storyteller and extraordinary artist.
This book sheds new light on a revered American painter, perhaps THE most exemplary American painter of his time.