As a photographer myself (descended from a line of photographers – more about that when I write my autobiography – do you think it would be interesting?) I appreciate really good photographers . . . as well as the world around us that inspires them.
The Hamptons offer remarkable light, natural beauty and centuries of art and architecture to inspire. No wonder there are so many photographers who choose to call it home.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but again, I have started with the books I own . . .
The Hamptons: Long Island’s East End (Rizzoli – 1993)
The Hamptons may be more famous for the lifestyles of the rich and famous who congregate here, but this book of spectacular photographs showcases the natural beauty that brought them all in the first place – with an introduction by noted Hamptons personality George Plimpton, who epitomizes that other face of the Hamptons!
The Hamptons Suite, 100 Views of the Hamptons (Accabonac Books – 2000 & 2006)
Ken Robbins lived and took photographs in East Hampton, New York from 1972 until his death in 2017. His photos sold well in galleries. His images were frequently reproduced on book jackets, record album covers, and in magazines. He was the writer/illustrator of more than twenty highly acclaimed children’s photo books that deal with elements like air and water, and everyday things like trucks and Pumpkins.
Not finding a publisher for his art photos (his children’s books publisher had no interest), he went to the then-new owner of BookHampton, Hal Zwick, who offered to finance the book if he self-published. The result was the very successful The Hamptons Suite, for which he hand-tinted his black and white photos creating a hauntingly beautiful effect.
A bit more about the book and Ken Robbins’ life:
Peter Beard (Taschen – 2008) with essays by Owen Edwards and Steven M.L. Aronson.
Playboy, photographer, collector, diarist, actor, film producer, and writer of books, long time Montauk resident Peter Beard has fashioned his life into a work of art. The illustrated diaries he kept from a young age evolved into a serious career as an artist and earned him a central position in the international art world.
He was painted by Francis Bacon and painted on by Salvador Dalí, he made diaries with Andy Warhol and toured with Truman Capote and the Rolling Stones—all of whom are brought to life, literally and figuratively, in his work. As a fashion photographer, he took Vogue stars like Veruschka to Africa and brought new ones—most notably Iman—back to the U.S.
In 2006, Taschen published the book that has come to define his oeuvre, signed by the artist and published in two volumes. It sold out instantly and became a highly sought after collector’s item.
Now the book you couldn’t get your hands on is available in one volume, a handsome hardcover edition revised by his wife, Nejma Beard, with new images never published before. (I have one!)
Here are some other takes on Peter Beard:
- Hamptons Art Hub on the 2016 Guild Hall Exhibition: Last Word from Paradise
- Peter Beard and My Visit to His House in Montauk by Lynn Byrne
- African Dreamer Vanity Fair
- Taming Peter Beard New York Magazine
- ArtNet on Peter Beard
Michael Dweck, born in Brooklyn in 1957, grew up in Bellmore, Long Island and, after an award-winning foray into the advertising arena, closed his agency in 2002 to concentrate on visual arts (he thought the term photography to be too plebeian in the age of iPhones).
According to Wikipedia, “He began to photograph subjects and scenes around Montauk, focusing on its surfing subculture. Dweck had been visiting Montauk since his second year of high school, beginning when he’d heard that the Rolling Stones were spending time there with Andy Warhol. Instead of finding the Rolling Stones, Dweck and his friends discovered a hidden inlet with a thriving local surfing culture.” The photos evoke “the paradise of summer, youth, and erotic possibility, and of community and camaraderie in a perfect setting.”
Quoting Dweck, “I knew Montauk would change and I wanted to capture the way Montauk made me feel. I didn’t want it to be sentimental or nostalgic. I wanted that collection of images to freeze Montauk.” The photographs were so successful in galleries and art fairs around the world, and in the subsequent book, that he worried; “That’s the way it always goes, isn’t it? Everyone who makes it to the fallout shelter tries to bolt the door behind him. It’s like some graffiti I read in the stall at the Shagwong Tavern – Welcome to Montauk– take a picture and get the f— out.”
More about Michael Dweck:
- Michael Dweck on ArtNet
- American Beauty – Harpers Bazaar
- The New York Times on Habana Libre
- The Last Race – Michael Dweck’s first Feature Film
Further Lane (Quantuck Lane Press – 2011) Robert A.M. Stern (Afterword) & Paul Goldberger (Foreword) A stunning collection of 36 four-color and 63 black-and-white photographs immortalizing one of the most ambitious efforts at historic preservation ever undertaken.
In the 1970s, Adelaide de Menil, a photographer and an heir to the Schlumberger oilfield-services fortune, and her husband, Edmund Carpenter, an anthropologist and author, began acquiring, restoring, and moving to their East Hampton oceanfront property historically significant buildings of Long Island – one of which (an 18th century barn from North Main Street in East Hampton) is the original barn from the property now known as the Mill House Inn!
Mr. Carpenter wrote to the East Hampton Star, “All had either been abandoned or scheduled for demolition, but, like ships, were easily towed to new berths. In 50 years, we’re all going to be history. But a small bit of man’s past will have been preserved here, in this case, a good moment from his past.”
Four decades later they sold their property to their neighbor, Ron Baron, for $103 million in 2007, marking it the largest residential sale at the time. Mr. Baron had no interest in the historic buildings on the property and planned to tear them down. Rather than let that happen, Ms. de Menil donated eight of the the fourteen buildings (along with a $5 million endowment) which were dramatically moved several miles away, where architect Robert A. M. Stern interconnected and reinterpreted the buildings as East Hampton’s new Town Hall. Zak Powers brilliantly documented the move:
- The New York Times Magazine – Past Present
- The New York Times – Historic East Hamptons Buildings Gain New Life
- 27East – A Trip Down Further Lane
I am sure I will, over time, find more photography books about the Hamptons worthy of inclusion here and, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.
Until then, I hope you enjoy these books and my photographs on our website, blogs and newsletters. And on the walls of the Mill House Inn, and our Graybarn Cottage.
And please post your photos of the Mill House Inn and our beautiful area on TripAdvisor, Instagram or Google . . . or send them to me to post as guest photos!
Come out and take advantage of the fall light and create some visual arts of your own! Call us or email us to book your stay.
Until next week,
And, if you haven’t already, please check out our previous Reading List blogs: