Battered Books, Tattered Covers: The Photos of Cara Barer and Abelardo Morell

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Ron Hogan, the sharp-eyed senior editor of Galleycat (our bookish feline of a brother blog), recently noted the nascent trend of book covers sporting photographs of books that have seen better days. The examples he highlighted—The Late Age of Print by Ted Striphas (published in March by Columbia University Press) and Michael Greenberg‘s Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life, out next month from Other Press—both feature photos by Cara Barer. The Houston-based photographer describes her work as “primarily a documentation of a physical evolution” and an attempt to “blur the line between objects, sculpture, and photography.” Two more of Barer’s photos are below (from left to right): “Foam” (2005) and “Eccentric Circles” (2007).

(Photos: Cara Barer)

In more recent work that has an appealing Rorschach floral vibe, Barer picks up where Abelardo Morell left off. Morrell, a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, is known for his pioneering explorations of the beauty of books in stunning black and white photographs collected in the 2002 tome A Book of Books (Bullfinch). Literary types may recall his 2001 photo “Book Damaged by Water” (below, at left) from the cover of a swell 2003 issue of Ploughshares, the literary journal published by Emerson College. On the right is “Book with Wavy Pages,” also from 2001.

(Photos: Abelardo Morell)