Valerie's Reviews > The Principles of Uncertainty

The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman
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Sep 28, 08

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in September, 2008

The Principles of Uncertainty is a visual journal that Maira Kalman kept for a year. It's full of musings and questions, glimpses of her travels and simply things that moved her in some way. She talks and paints about her father-in-law, who collected insults by writing them down in a little book that he kept with him.... her suitcase (and other) collections... paints about a visit to the Deyrolles shop in Paris... the hangover of lingering bad dream malaise.

She records both big and small, remarking on things that we all might see if we consistently kept a visual journal. This book amazed me with the breadth of topics on which it touched and its richness.

Tips about other books that I'm going to look for that were mentioned:

Berlin Childhood around 1900 by Walter Benjamin
Helen Levitt's work (photographer)
Robert Polidori (another photographer)

Something I loved about Kalman that I didn't know? She does these amazing embroideries of things like quotes from Abraham Lincoln or excerpts from Faust. Who knew? (I'm not sure how long this link will work, but you can see some of her embroidery here.)

And how can she make photographs of people simply walking away from her (many of which become the basis for paintings) so interesting?

Inspiring.
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I have this book somewhere... I need to look at it more closely.


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