I was given a $50 Amex gift card over Christmas that’s been burning a hole on my desk for the last month and a half, so I finally decided I’d go blow it this morning. I’d originally planned on making fast work of it at Other Music, but they weren’t open yet, so I found myself at McNally Jackson Books over in SoHo, wherein I decided to treat myself to a handsome coffee table book (`cos ya know … one needs more of those) of photographs by one Catherine Ceresole.
“Beauty Lies in the Eye” (the book’s title is taken from a Sonic Youth song, pedants) is essentially a stunning collection of pics from the downtown music scene circa the very early `80s. Here’s the official explanation…
In 1979 Catherine Ceresole and her husband Nicolas moved to New York, where he was to begin training as an audio engineer. In truth, however, the couple went there because they were captivated by the city’s underground music scene. They soon became friendly with a number of musicians who Catherine began to photograph at concerts and in intimate settings. The result was a unique photographic documentary of the New York punk, no-wave and avant-garde music scene during its heyday. With her keen eye for dramatic moments, she captured them all on film: Sonic Youth, Lydia Lunch, Glenn Branca, Arto Lindsay, Christian Marclay, the Beastie Boys and many others. After they returned to Switzerland, Catherine Ceresole continued to photograph musicians and their bands — with an unfailing ear and keen eye. The book is a visual music history of the last decades, presenting the work of this unique photographer to a broad public for the first time.
Texts by Christian Marclay, Thurston Moore, Rhys Chatham, Mark Cunningham, Lee Ranaldo, Alan Licht, and a conversation between Catherine Ceresole and Emmanuel Grandjean, along with Nicolas Ceresole and Francis Baudevin.
Cool, right? The book came out, evidently, in 2013. If, like me, you’re into this sort of thing, it’s well worth your time. For me, it was a shot of DNA playing in the truly unlikely environs of Folk City (a venue I wrote about here) that really hooked me in. Find out more here.
Anyway, here’s a little video teaser…enjoy.