Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Leanne Shapton on "how we read images"

Leanne Shapton discusses Swimming Studies with Rachel Hurn over at the LA Review of Books (one of my most favorite literary destinations). Here she describes the origin of her book and her decision to combine words and images... just so:
This book started with a lot of text. I knew I didn’t want to illustrate the text directly, yet I wanted it to be like my other books — how we read images and how reading of images can be more emotional than the literal read. I realized when I did those “Swimming Studies” images for the Times, that I could use that as a chapter. In another book those would have come in and out, in place of the text, but I realized I wanted people to experience being pulled through, one after the other. That backed up the idea of immersion, not just in the swimming metaphors, but in this repetitive lap thing that I talk about later in the book.

You can see the complete original Swimming Studies series Shapton did for the Times HERE. While you are there, make sure to view her series of quick drawings in its entirety. I think A Month of Thursday Nights Out is my personal favorite. 

Thank you, Dima, for continuing to feed my obsession with Shapton's work. I take comfort in knowing I am not the only one. 


  1. Thank you for introducing me to her! Can't get enough of her work, really.

  2. Love Leanne. She's so talented! I love 'Was She pretty?'
    We have a picture of her on our website in the 'friends' section.
    She's a doll!

    1. oh! thank you so much for your note! i love "was she pretty," too. her work is so wonderful and brave, without being aggressive or loud in any way. i find so much inspiration in that–both the work and the person behind it.

      i saw her picture on your website! it is fantastic! and i am so SO excited to have discovered your beautiful pieces!

      thank you again!