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Archive for November 24th, 2019

by Sam Juliano

Just a little over three years ago an entry in the 2016 Caldecott Medal Contender series featured a resplendent picture book biography on Ana Lovelace titled Ada’s Ideas who was dubbed the world’s first computer programmer.  The work’s author-illustrator Fiona Robinson, a Brooklyn based author-artist, has this past year again explored a prominent female living in a male-dominated age who is widely credited for being the very first person to publish a book of photography.  Robinson’s wholly sublime release The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs bears a number of similarities to the earlier book contextually and in a thematic sense (Anna like Ada was basically reared by a single parent, both of whom ignored the ways of the time by encouraging her education) but Robinson has upped the ante, instilling a profound sensory air to the world’s most popular color.  To achieve the authenticity she sought, Robinson walked through actual English meadows where she took photographs for their initial stage in her amazing illustrative process.  While she developed into a master botanist her claim to fame is the cyanotype,  photographic printing process that produces prints in a distinctive dark greenish-blue. The word “cyan” comes from the Greek, meaning “dark blue substance.” The process was invented by Sir John Herschel, a brilliant astronomer and scientist, in 1842 but Anna expanded to become the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images in addition to, according to some, the first woman to create a photograph.  In the latter half of The Bluest of Blues and in some exceedingly useful end notes Robinson painstakingly defines the process, with stunning end paper shell and seaweed replications that bleed over onto the frontispiece. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

Jim, J.D., Jamie and the rest of the staff here at Wonders in the Dark would like to extend to our friends and readers Thanksgiving Day wishes.  Though Jim and J.D. are Canadians who reside near Toronto, they are no doubt influenced by the stateside infectiousness of this very special time of the year.  As always Lucille and I will be driving up to Butler, New Jersey with the rest of our family on Thursday to her sister’s mansion-sized home to join over fifty other guests for a veritable Turkey Day bonanza.  I am looking forward to the apple and pumpkin pies.  Hoping everyone has their own plans set and will have a safe and relaxing day.

This past week Jim published a brilliant essay on Ingmar Bergman’s The Passion of Anna and J.D. posted a fantastic review on Clint Eastwood’s 1993 A Perfect World.  I also would like to thank the Caldecott series readers for responding in a big way via comments and page views to my recent review on Field Trip to the Moon. 

Lucille and I saw one movie in theaters this past week:  A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Matthew Rhys and Tom Hanks in Ridgefield Park on Saturday evening.  My rating is 4.5 of 5.0.  Haunting and beautiful work with a most unique approach.  And I saw it all with only my left eye!

Jamie Uhler’s latest  Horror Fest 2019 review is another jewel: (more…)

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