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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review: Norman Rockwell Behind the Camera by Ron Schick

Norman Rockwell Behind the Camera
by Ron Schick
Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (October 22, 2009) ~ 224 pages
Non-Fiction / Art & Photography / Norman Rockwell

Edition Reviewed: Hardback - Review copy received courtesy of Hachette Book Group / Little Brown, many thanks to both the author and the publisher for sending me a copy to review!

Perfect for : Personal Use, Gift, Office Waiting Area, Coffee Table Book

My Thoughts: I don't know about you, but over the years I have had plenty of Norman Rockwell calendars and seen many of his wonderfully touching and detailed pictures. . . and I always assumed he simply had a wonderfully creative spirit, but wondered how he got the ideas and put together his paintings. It NEVER even crossed my mind that he would use photographs to help capture some details that he could later put onto canvas!

The fascinating thing about this book was learning how Norman Rockwell created his paintings by capturing entire scenes or subjects on film, then going on to create his own painting based on those pictures. Even more fascinating is comparing the final paintings to the photographs he used, and being able to see the details he included, as well as those he chose to leave out.

Content: The book goes beyond simply showing readers how Norman Rockwell created his paintings. It also includes a timeline, including important notes from history and some of the events that really impacted Norman's pieces.
Format: Includes a foreword by his grandson John Rockwell, lots of photographs from the Norman Rockwell Museum and archives, and a lot of the finished paintings to compare to the photographs. The book is put together in a time-line type order.
Readability: Very enjoyable both from the aspect of learning about the paintings and viewing the included paintings and photographs.
Overall: A very fun book to look through. It would be a great book to have in an office waiting room, coffee table, gift book, or personal book.

About the Book:
Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera is the first book to explore the meticulously composed and richly detailed photographs that Norman Rockwell used to create his famous artworks. Working alongside skilled photographers, Rockwell acted as director, carefully orchestrating models, selecting props, and choosing locations for the photographs--works of art in their own right--that served as the basis of his iconic images. Readers will be surprised to find that many of his most memorable characters-the girl at the mirror, the young couple on prom night, the family on vacation-were friends and neighbors who served as his amateur models. In this groundbreaking book, author and historian Ron Schick delves into the archive of nearly 20,000 photographs housed at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Featuring reproductions of Rockwell's black-and-white photographs and related full-color artworks, along with an incisive narrative and quotes from Rockwell models and family members, this book will intrigue anyone interested in photography, art, and Americana.

After the Prom, pages 184-185, Triple Self-Portrait, page 195

About the Author: (From the publisher's website)

Ron Schick was born in Miami, Florida and grew up in Chicago. After studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, he became an editor specializing in photography and the visual arts. Ron worked in art publishing for three decades and has written about photography for national magazines. Today, he is a researcher, designer, independent curator, and museum consultant. With his wife and collaborator, Julia Van Haaften, he coauthored The View from Space: American Astronaut Photography, 1962-1972. He was the first independent researcher to examine every photograph taken on the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions and to attribute them to the astronauts who took them. A Smithsonian Institution (SITES) traveling exhibition based on the book toured eighteen national venues.

He lives with his family in New York City.
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fredamans said...

Great review!

My mom has a bunch of Norman Rockwell plates. They are beautiful.

bermudaonion said...

Nothing says Americana like Norman Rockwell's work. I bet this book is beautiful.

DCMetroreader said...

My sister is an art teacher and this sounds like a terrific teaching resource. Will consider it as a gift for her.

Thanks for the great review (especially with the pictures)!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

His paintings were truly snapshots of America. This does look like a great gift, coffee table (or waiting room) book.

Anonymous said...

His great paintings WERE visual photos, so much detail & so American...He truly loved his country & we loved him for it.

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