Friday, November 4, 2011

Role Model: Bill Cunningham

One person who inspires me is the fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, the subject of a recent documentary entitled Bill Cunningham New York (available in our Documentary section). Mr. Cunningham, now in his 80s, continues his life's work of photographing what people wear each day on the streets of New York City using only a film camera and a bicycle as his tools. Cunningham has created one of the greatest image archives of daily life ever to exist for any city, and over the course of 5 decades he has remained true to his own sense of ethics by not allowing his photos to be used to make fun of people, and striving to keep his work independent of the influence of financial reward. His weekly spreads in the New York Times reflect a contagious love for what he does, and while I am not particularly interested in fashion, Cunningham is an inspiration to all to seek joy in their work (or seek work that brings them this kind of joy), and to stay true to their mission in life. And ride their bike to work. While it's difficult for most of us to maintain Cunningham's level of devotion to our daily labors of love, as he stated in his acceptance speech for the title Officier de l'ordre des Artes et des Lettres, bestowed to him in 2008 by the French Ministry of Culture: "He who seeks beauty will find it."

Dan C. – Collection Development

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Role Model: Sambo Mockbee

(Inside the library for the next few weeks we are featuring a display of books and videos about heroes, role models and people who inspire.  Today and tomorrow we will post statements shared by two library staff members about their personal heroes and inspirational role models..)

Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee is one of my heroes--artist, architect, and teacher.  As co-founder of the Rural Studio at Auburn University he had a profound impact on architecture students and disadvantaged residents of rural Alabama.  Instead of designing grand skyscrapers, he, with the help of young students, created amazing, low cost housing and community structures often using recycled or inventive materials.  Not only were the designs functional, but they were also aesthetically pleasing and filled with spirit.  Samuel Mockbee is my hero because he used his great talents to give back to the poor and to help shape young architects.  In his words, "That is the reason you go to college, not to make more money, but to gain the knowledge to make this a better world."

Amanda - Circulation

Books featuring Samuel Mockbee:

Rural Studio : Samuel Mockbee and an architecture of decency / text by Andrea Oppenheimer Dean; photographs by Timothy Hursley; and essays by Lawrence Chua and Cervin Robinson.

Proceed and be bold : Rural Studio after Samuel Mockbee / text by Andrea Oppenheimer Dean ; photographs by Timothy Hursley

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adapting to Remakes

To channel the Halloween spirit, a friend and I went out and saw Paranormal Activity 3.  Sadly, I was only possessed with the urge to nap.  I will admit, though, that I’m probably not the one to judge, since I’m not a big fan of horror and I missed the first two installments - but if it is any indication of the film’s creepiness, there was a pep squad of teenage girls sitting behind me, and even they couldn’t muster a squeal of engagement (there was one tense scene where the lead character had to come to grips with his friend stealing books from a library- eek).
The thing that did grab my attention that evening was a preview for the film adaptation of Steig Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon TattooWhat was interesting about it was that I had already seen that movie.  Judging by the two minute preview, director David Fincher just superimposed Daniel Craig and the English language into the 2009 Swedish version of the film.  So, if you are willing to forgo a little Hollywood sheen, you can borrow this winter’s blockbuster presently at the library.

Another remake of an adaptation coming down the pike will be of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great GatsbyMaybe you are thinking - Why remake the Great Gatsby?  The 1974 Robert Redford version is already in English – and the answer to that is obvious:  Because it’s not in 3-D! (Really.)  Baz Luhrmann will be directing, and Leonardo DiCaprio starring in, this unexpected take on the American classic.  Just imagine: the sycophants from Manhattan having descended upon West Egg, tippling Gin Rickeys on Jay Gatsby’s dime, musing about their host’s vague origins, all in three glorious dimensions!  I don’t get it either.  Maybe the market is high school students who don’t want to do their assigned reading.   If you happen to fall into that category and your assignment is due before December 2012, we have the 1974 version of the film at the library and, of course, the book (it’s a quick read). 

Ransom - Reference