First Light pal and member Kate LeSueur is an artist and photographer (and also the finest maker of hors-d’oeuvres in all the land). If you're lucky enough to see inside her studio or her home, you'll find vignette after vignette of beautiful objects. Mixed in with dried fronds, driftwood, and vintage silver bowls are colorful stacks of books. About art and cooking and design, New Orleans houses and Parisian street life and the people who make everyday life anything but ordinary.
"While I'm not a portrait photographer per se, I'm so inspired by portraiture and love to observe its evolution," Kate told us a few weeks ago. "I think portrait photography has and will always be a ubiquitous and important part of human existence. It changes over time, yet its value doesn't. Yes, digital photography is overwhelming and social media all-consuming, such so that the inherent value of a single photograph can often be lost. But! I also look at what a single portrait can mean, to one family, to one person, from 100 years ago or from today, and it remains the same. To capture a moment, an angle of incidence of we are connected to at our core. I am consistently drawn to the types of books that help me stay true to the genesis of photography."
We asked Kate for a list of books that she returns to time and time again. Here's are her favorites.
“Hold Still” by Sally Mann
“The Artist's Way” by Julia Cameron
"Deep Blues" by Josef Helfenstein
“Art and Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland
"In the Beginning" by Diane Arbus
"The African Lookbook" by Catherine McKinely
"The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp
"Milky Way" by Vincent Ferrané
"The Photographer in the Garden" from Aperture Press
"Lastly, perhaps most importantly: the real book of my life is called 'An Everlasting Meal' by Tamar Adler. It is entirely unrelated to photography. :)"