Tim Carpenter’s Favorite Book from 2020

Bill Dane Pictures: 50 Years of Photographs by Bill Dane.   Self-Published.

For several years now, I’ve been jonesing for someone to put together a proper catalog of Bill Dane’s strange and wonderful photographs. That someone turned out to be the man himself (with the help of Dan Skjæveland), which is a real treat because this book is just as wild and unruly and generous as the pictures it contains. There are lots of images and lots of (non-expository) words; it’ll take a long and happy while to suss it all out. One of the book’s subtitles is “... it’s not pretty,” and I suppose that’s the case because nor is life, but equally true is Szarkowski’s assertion that Dane discovered “a kind of optimism, still available at least to the eye.” Which is why you might call him a photographer’s photographer: affirmative meaning lies in the pictures (in the seeing), and not in anything external to them – a stance not much in vogue these days. The book’s other subtitle is “I’m still in love.” Same here. This kind of thing is the reason why.

Honorable Mentions:
Michael Schmidt: Photographs 1965-2014
Meloni Meloni by Gerry Johansson

Tim Carpenter is a photographer and writer working in Brooklyn and central Illinois.