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Thomas Allen: Uncovered Board book – 10 Sep 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Board book: 46 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture; Brdbk edition (10 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597110531
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597110532
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 2.3 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 928,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Board book
I first discovered the work of Thomas Allen when he was featured in a book about artists who specialized in sculpting paper forms. I was immediately knocked out by his clever use of the pulp novel medium and the witty and inventive juxtapositions he utilized from their old illustrated covers. Sometimes he cuts and manipultes just the cover image; other times he uses the entire paperback book as a sculptural object. Every one of his images is packed with subtle humour and he displays a skillful eye for taking an illustration and re-using it to create new meaning. Allen plays with these stock-in-trade pulp icons of the down-at-heel private eye, the femme fetale, and the hard-nosed thug and reappropriates them for his own ends, creating new stories or adding layers of hidden meaning within them. In effect he rescues these battered and forgotten trash novels found in thrift stores and revives their old, weathered two-dimensional cover pictures to create beautiful three-dimensional vignettes that have the power to move, delight and entertain in equal measures. Like careworn old detectives brought out of retirement to solve that one last case.

This gorgeous book contains Allen's own photographs of his sculpted scenes, and there is just as much artistry in his photographer's eye as there is in his skillful, creative hands. He plays with depth of field, focussing on one element of the collaged vignette whilst leaving a background figure blurred, adding to the menace and mystery of a scene, giving the images even more meaning or extra intent. He's like a mini Howard Hawks or John Huston directing one cinematic scene, positioning the camera and lighting in exactly the right places to capture the full effect of the sequence being played out, fixing that one perfect frame of film. This is one of the very best art books I have seen for a long time, every page is a delight.
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By Robin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 May 2008
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
What a treat to get a book, open it and immediately be grabbed by the contents. 'Uncovered' did that for me. Mr Allen has been scouring pulp paperbacks for years it seems, his fight photo 'Red' was done in 2002 and used by designer Chip Kidd for the cover of James Elroy's 'Blood on the Moon'.

The twenty-eight photos in the book actually turn out to be a varied selection, a sort of template for Allen to go and explore other print media besides pulp paperbacks from past decades. 'Swell' shows a galleon tossed on the wave pages of an encyclopedia, the delightful 'Uplift' has two children on a swing or 'Migrate' with two birds having flown from a spread but leaving their shape so you can see the text on the previous and next page.

The book's production is rather intriguing. The thick cardboard like pages, round corners on two sides and a sepia tinting for an aged look on some pages are suggestive of children's books from yesteryear but the violent and suggestive nature to many of the photos seem at odds with fun and frolics of children's playbooks. The cover is brilliant though. The sexy blond is actually on page three, her shape has been die-cut from the cover.

'Uncovered' will delight anyone who opens its pages. It all looks so obvious yet it was Thomas Allen who seems to be the first person to realize the creative potential of the cut cover tableaux.

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
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Format: Board book
Saw some Thomas Allen photos on the internet but couldn't afford to buy one - what a talent! Came across this book containing loads of his pictures for only a few pounds. Well worth the money, good quality hard board pages - excellent images - inspired me to try and create my own!
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my son, who I know would find the creative style of Thomas Allen interesting. If you like books that are a bit different than the norm, this is one of them.
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
This work is so fresh and surprising, a few years on from the first time I saw it. When I read that Aperture had released it and that Chip Kidd was involved it was on my doorstep within a few days. And I wasn't disappointed.

Hand this book to a friend and see their tenseness at the title and cover image fade away as the realisation of how the photos are constructed starts to make sense.

The format of the book seems perfect for the subject matter, although a larger size would have been even better.

What I will say is, try and get to see some of these prints at their full size, then you'll really appreciate the mastery of the art that Thomas Allen posseses.
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