So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Friday, September 08, 2006


A Kiss is Just a Kiss. Bruce Velick

This is not a narrow-minded boy kisses girl tribute to heterosexual romance although there are lots of pictures like that. The book contains 60 black and white pictures that span the 20th century from 1915 to 1988. In addition to the heterosexual romantic kiss there are men kissing men, women kissing women, people kissing animals, animals kissing people and other animals, children kissing each other, adults kissing children, people kissing statues, statues kissing statues, kissing in the foreground, kissing in the background, and even a person kissing the pope's ring.

Each picture has the photographer's name beneath it and a list at the end of the book lists the photographer, the title, the date, and the owner of each photo. Two are from before the 1920s, three are from the 1920s and 30s, eight are from the 1940s, nine are from the 1950s, five from the 1960s, eleven from the 1970s, and 12 are from the 1980s. Ten have no dates associated with them.

These are famous photographic kisses. Included are William Mortensen's The Kiss, Robert Doisneau's Le Baiser de l'Hotel de Ville, Dennis Stock's Cafe de Flore, Weegee's Palace Theater, an untitled kiss by Elliott Erwitt, Louis Stettner's On a Dutch Ferry, and Alfred Eisenstaedt's Times Square VJ Day,

There are also pictures by Peter Marlow, Bruce Davidson, Joan E. Biren (JEB), Chris Steele-Perkins, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Leonard Freed, André Kertész, Burt Glinn, Mary Ellen Mark, Ernst Haas, Barbara Crane, Gilles Peress, Lou Stoumen, Josef Koudelka, Sage Sohier and many others.

Combine this with a delightful essay on the history and importance of kissing by Tom Robbins and you have a great book. It would make a wonderful gift for a lover or a friend. Buy one for yourself and be inspired.

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