Friday, December 17, 2004

Photographer: Walter Wick

Interesting article in the NYTimes about photographer, Walter Wick. His I Spy and Can You See What I See? books are, hands down, the most popular books in any school library. I heard Wick speak at a Texas Library Assoiation conference a few years ago and he is fascinating. If you are trying to think of a book present for someone and you are not sure they are a "reader," I can promise you, these books will be a hit, especially with boys.

Wick's medium is photography. He discusses his childhood without a television.

Mr. Wick is an affable, quiet man who favors baggy khakis and big, wooly sweaters. Though he is 51, with glints of gray in his sandy hair and brushy mustache, he remembers how it felt to spend boyhood hours engrossed in building card houses or stocking mud forts with tiny soldiers. He recalled "that sense of being totally absorbed and letting your mind go free."

Growing up in a family of five in East Granby, Conn., "we didn't have a television set, and I wasn't a reader," he said. Instead he became a tinkerer, assembling his own toys from basement odds and ends.

The article describes his studio and his work.

And he is still at it, inventing small worlds out of mundane stuff. Mr. Wick's elaborately constructed books require not only a photography studio but also woodworking and paint shops, an array of computers and room for the thousands of objects that populate his pages. One wall holds 16 feet of cabinets and shelves, home to at least 80 clear plastic bins of buttons, marbles, plastic reptiles, random kitchen drawer detritus; another roomful of old props and sets sits downstairs. A haunter of yard sales and hobby shops, "I've always worked with a large assortment of junk," he said.

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