photogs-cookbook-2

The Photographer’s Cookbook. What kind of a sick person cooks eggs in dark beer?

Eastman House, Aperture Books,  by Deborah Barsel and Lisa Hostetler

–A PhotoTrainer Book Review, by Tom Upton

With the recent three days of rain clearly Fall has fallen here in Palo Alto for 2016. With the change in weather we are all hankering for winter food and the prospect of Thanksgiving dinner looms large even in mid October. I happened into a new chi-chi store on my block and found this great little cookbook, for photographers and by photographers. Well, I guess anyone could read it but of you are an older photographer you will really appreciate this little gem. The Number One Gift idea for the photographer in your life!

It is a one of a kind book, born when photographers worked in darkness and amber with water, thermometers, print trays, timers, funnels, hand soap and towels. The bond many photographers have with cooking is a deep and spiritual. It is informed by many hours in the darkroom mixing chemicals, meticulously monitoring development times meticulously pursuing beauty and expression. And truth be known, perfection.

The book rose from a forgotten box of papers that was neatly compiled by Deborah Barsel, at the George Eastman House in 1977. Apparently Deb’s job was just a tad boring, so she started this as a side project. 30 years later Lisa Hostetler discovers the box and the photographers gustatorial mementos and could not put it away. I am beting she would dream at night of what recipes would go with what photographs; and thank god; the book is a real delight and ultimately useful for those of us addicted to the illuminated Path of Process. My only complaint is the very light gray text may not hold up to the vagaries of an active cook generating splashing and sloshing of foods and outbursts of emulsion.

This is a great new cookbook for the cooking season upon us, it stories a canny variety of things that photographers ate in the ‘70s. The comments many of the contributors volunteered in addition to their recipes are also as telling as they are entertaining.

Subliminal message: You should buy this book right now on my new PhotoTrainer aStore     ~TEU

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