The Big Heart. Text by Melvin Van. Photographs by Ruth Bernhard. Fearon, San Francisco, 1957. 77 pp. Small quarto. First printing. SIGNED by both 'Melvin Van' [later known as Melvin Van Peebles--see below] & Ruth Bernhard on front free-endpaper. Hardbound photo-illustrated dust jacket. Numerous black-and-white reproductions.
Listed in 802 Photobooks from the M.+M. Auer Collection.
"Ruth Bernhard is a revered artist best known for her still-life photography and images of naked female torsos. Ansel Adams once called her "the greatest photographer of the nude." She joined the San Francisco Photographer's Roundtable shortly after moving to the city in the early 1950s; at the suggestion of social documentarian Dorothea Lange, the group was invited to contribute to a show centered on the theme "San Francisco Weekend." As Bernhard recalls in Margaretta Mitchell's study of her, Between Art and Life, 'I never go out with my camera and wonder what I am going to photograph. ... But when Dorothea Lange said we had to, I did'...A departure from her studio work, this excursion into urban life yielded a cinema véritélike spontaneity evident in another group of her 1956 photos, this one involving tram scenes." This book marked the publishing debut of Melvin Van (better known as Melvin Van Peebles), who went onto great fame as an innovator of 'blaxploitation' cinema.--reference, Carl Nagin, "The Way We Looked,",/a> SF Weekly (September 17, 2003).
Fine- in Fine- dust jacket; trace of wear to boards and jacket; some tanning to front endpapers.