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Los Toros [Hardcover]

By Michael Crouser (Photographer) & Mario Vargas Llosa (Introduction by)
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Item description for Los Toros by Michael Crouser & Mario Vargas Llosa...

Over the course of sixteen years, Michael Crouser visited the bullrings of Spain, Mexico, Ecuador and France, capturing the dark spectacle of the bullfights and the passions of the crowds who follow them. Select images from a mutitude of bullfights have been sequenced to create a singular, compelling fight ina narrative form. The book features an introduction in English and Spanish by renowned Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, recounting the childhood memories of his first corrida de toros, while also reflecting upon his personal philosophy on the contemporary bullfight. "Courage, nonetheless, is not truly the heart and soul of bullfighting. Its very center may well be fear. Fear - the most human of emotions - the matador must keep in check, channel, gradually overcome and forget as his knowledge and his art progressively dominate his antagonist and subject him to his will, to his game and to his spell, until he succeeds in creating the illusion that all danger has evaporated, that what began as a challenge of blood and death has become a dance, ceremony, sculpture, theater, ritual."

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Item Specifications...

Pages   200
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 8.5" Height: 11.25"
Weight:   3.16 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 15, 2007
Publisher   Twin Palms Publishers
ISBN  1931885621  
ISBN13  9781931885621  

Availability  0 units.

More About Michael Crouser & Mario Vargas Llosa

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael Crouser is a Brooklyn- and Minneapolis-based photographer whose clients include BMW, United Airlines, Target, and Nikon. His first monograph was published in 2007.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > Formats
2Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Art & Music > Studio Art > Photography
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Collections, Catalogues & Exhibitions
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photo Essays
6Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photographers, A-Z > General
7Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Portraits
8Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Travel > Europe

Reviews - What do customers think about Los Toros?

The Inexplicable Fight: A Beautiful Photographic Essay  Aug 29, 2008

Los Toros is simply beautiful.

Michael Crouser's striking images exhibit a combination of interesting composition and masterful printing techniques. All of the photographs are sepia toned, and have a soft, aged appearance that wonderfully conveys the timelessness of the cultural spectacle of bullfighting. In each photograph, Crouser seems to lead the eye with splashes of brilliant light contrasted with deep shadows. He is especially exquisite in the shadows, as figures mysteriously emerge and disappear in the dark corners of his photographs. Sometimes, dark shapes (like a bull or a hat) appear flat and blurred at the edges, imparting a surreal feel that is thematically appropriate to the surreal bullfight.

Almost all of the photographs were taken during the 1990s, though they look as if they could have easily been taken 50 years ago. The balanced selection of photographs depicts the actual fight, the participants and spectators, and the peripheral symbols of this ceremony. The photographs also communicate the sweeping emotional scope of the bullfight: the courage, pageantry, blood (of both the matadors and the bulls), brutality, poetry, triumph, and disappointment.

The two essays included in the book are brief: an excerpt on bullfighting from Mario Vargas Llosa and an epilogue from the photographer. Both lend just enough insight to viewers, allowing them to make their own interpretations and form their own connections.

The clean and restrained book design gives the photographs their proper due, without any distraction. Often, facing pages are left purposely blank to give extra viewing space for a photograph, much like the stark white walls of an art gallery. It seems that careful consideration was given to the thick, smooth paper used for the interior pages, as well as the near-black dust jacket and the streak of crimson-red book cloth that peeks out at the top and bottom edges of the cover.

Los Toros is an excellent choice for the art and photography enthusiast and for those curious about or intrigued by the bullfight.
The Essence of Los Toros - in a book  Dec 21, 2007
The book is a large a collection of images with an introductory essay from acclaimed author Peruvian, Mario Vargas Llosa.
Crouser has made the photographs from 150 bullfights in Spain, South America, France and Mexico. A large number of images to choose from and it shows. Careful editing has distilled the collection down to a series of depth and insight that could never be achieved from just one or two visits.
It tells the story of the corrida through the highs and lows of the day with passion and depth. The photographic style Crouser uses here evolves from a photojournalistic background. Individual images are often tightly cropped extracts of action and emotion, and he uses his considerable skill at anticipating and framing essential moments. Insights gone in a blink and a tourist would miss even from the front row (or maybe would turn away from) but an old, seasoned ticket holder would notice and might wish they could save to experience again are preserved to exploit the innate superiorities a book has over other media, perfectly.
Crouser alludes briefly to the moral politics of the bullfight in his short essay at the end saying, "I don't believe any real aficionado goes to a corrida to see bull's blood or bull's pain, but goes instead to see that day's matadors paint what they can with the unpredictable and deadly medium of that day's bulls.". I've rated this book as I have because I believe he has conveyed the essence of this quote beautifully.
well-done, but pricey  Nov 20, 2007
For your $60, you get about 10 pages of bilingual text and 123 sepia-tone photographs: in a 200-page book, this means that about a third of the pages are blank. The photos are artistic, and capture much of the spectacle, the drama, and the death that is part of the bullfight. Unlike in some books, the matadors are identified: some of the matadors are at the top of the profession, others are not.

A major part of a bullfight is the sense of emotion that can be conveyed: the top matadors are usually best at this. But some of the top matadors are left out of this book. You can have photographs of a dozen different matadors all doing what is essentially the same pass, and some of the photos might show a great sense of emotion, and other photos may show that this same emotion is not present. Emotion and drama can also be fickle: a matador may like one bull and dislike another, and the emotion can be very different. What I would have liked to see in this book would be a series of photographs of a dozen top matadors, all performing, say, a derechazo, to illustrate the differences in drama and danger. But it's still a fine book, and worthwhile for the enthusiast.

For some other reading and viewing:
Toros: The Crossed Lives of Man and Bull by Vidal and Masats. A fine book of color photos of the bullfight.
In the Presence of Death: Antonio Ordonez by Shay Oag. A fine mixture of text and photos, concentrating on Antonio Ordonez, who was featured in Hemingway's Dangerous Summer.
Death and the Sun by Edward Lewine (text). About Francisco Rivera Ordonez, whose great-grandfather, grandfather (Antonio Ordonez), and father (fatally gored in the ring) were all top matadors.
Bullfight DVDs: these can be worthwhile companions to books such as Crouser's. Most show complete corridas, and most are in Spanish, but even for someone not fluent in Spanish you can get a great sense of the spectacle and emotion. Look for Feb. 5th, 2005, at the Plaza Mexico--one of the greatest corridas. and dalbo9 and lasaves on ebay are good sources,

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