Book Club: Ryan Allan

Welcome back to Book Club!

Used to be Book Club was all about what I, Jason ‘Big Juice’ Crombie, have been reading, but I’ve only ever read three books (Finnegans Wake, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Here’s the Situation by Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino), so we thought it would be nice to hear what our friends is been reading. Today’s friend is photographer Ryan Allan. If you’ve ever picked up a copy of Monster Children, you’d be familiar with Ryan’s photography. He’s been supplying us with incredible images for over a decade and never ceases to amaze us with what comes down the pipe (the pipe being the email pipe). We hit Ryan up for five books he really digs and sent us back the below. Enjoy. And keep reading. It’s terrific for your mental health and if you do it in public you might get laid.

Avedon: Something Personal by Norma Stevens (2017)

I’m a massive Avedon fanboy. I will forever try to emulate his on white portraits because for me they are the gold standard. Norma Stevens worked at Avedon Studio for a long time and collected the stories of those times into this behemoth book. The sections on the decadence of 80’s and 90’s fashion photography really make me long for a time when we image makers could get rich doing uppers and shooting beautiful people.

Get it here.

Girl in a Band: A Memoir by Kim Gordon (2015)

I got into Sonic Youth as a kid because of Ed Templeton. I never really did a deep dive into the stories and life of the band but Kim always seemed like a leader in what was cool and important. This book proves that and provides a look into her super-interesting life. Broke my heart to hear the stories about her and Thurston.

Get it here.

Road to Seeing by Dan Winters (2013)

Dan is a genius behind the lens and is very open about his technique and style. The greats are. It’s not the gear it’s the eye and personality of the shooter.

Get it here.

Talking To Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell (2019)

This book is basically a long-form episode of his podcast, Revisionist History. In this book, Gladwell breaks down why we are bad at detecting when people are lying to us. We just aren’t good at understanding people we don’t know. It’s kind of scary actually. The Amanda Knox section is jarring.

Get it here.

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat (1963)

I’m biased with this one. The author is somehow related to me (young pictures of him look shockingly like me), and Disney made a movie out of this book. Never Cry Wolf is about Farley’s time studying wolves alone in Northern Canada. The government wanted to prove (wrongly) that wolves were killing off the caribou population. How much of this book is truth and how much is fiction is up for debate. Farley was once quoted saying, ‘I will take any liberty I want with facts as long as I don’t trespass on the truth…We confuse facts with truth.’ His time in the Canadian north made Farley an outspoken environmentalist and Greenpeace named a boat after him. It’s a damn good read.

Get it here.


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