Duck Duck Book

45 – sock monkeys
05.9.2007, 6:31 pm
Filed under: art & entertainment

Sock monkeys : (200 out of 1,863) / Arne Svenson + Ron Warren.
New York : Ideal World Books, c2002.
[MCL call number: 745.5924 S968s 2002; two copies, no holds]

Ron Warren’s collection of sock monkeys began with the simple desire to show how unique and special each individual sock monkey is. No monkey is like another. By the time a friend introduced him to photographer Arne Svenson, Warren had accumulated more than a thousand monkeys, and he hasn’t stopped yet. Sock Monkeys is the record of Svenson’s quest to individually photograph each and every one of Warren’s sock monkeys in classic studio portraiture manner.

You might think that two hundred sock monkey portraits would be dull and repetitive, but Warren’s collection is astonishingly diverse, and Svenson takes care to capture the individual expressiveness of each sock monkey. Some monkeys are straight-up classic; their only ornamentation in the style of their ear construction, the shape of their eyes, or the arrangement of the tuft at the top of their precious heads. Others are wearing elaborate outfits denoting their profession, personal interests, or sense of style. The photographs are punctuated with stories inspired by some of the sock monkeys – written by Neil Gaiman, Penn Jillette, Jonathan Safran Foer, Isaac Mizrahi, and others.

Sock Monkeys is a book you could find amusing with just a brief glance; but you may find yourself pouring over each photograph, considering the differences in personality between monkeys with eyelashes and those with none, monkeys with buttons sewn down their fronts and monkeys with bow ties, monkeys with caps and those with veils, and between monkeys who hold their heads up high and those who demurely nod at the camera.


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