Photographer Joseph Sherman Selects 3 Art Books From The SHOP
Photographer Joseph Sherman has balanced various jobs in and out of sports media, along with personal projects, since he first picked up a camera. Currently the lead photographer for the Los Angeles Lakers, Joseph is self-taught and self-published his first book, A Basketball Book About Black People, in 2019.
“My passion is Black people,” he says of the project’s foundation. “Basketball is one of the pillars of our experience in life. It’s one of the main vehicles we’ve used to escape the circumstances of which we’ve been given.” In the book, Sherman uses basketball to show the many layers of the Black experience. “You see camaraderie, individualism, creativity, ingenuity, passion, grit...all of the emotions we experience in everyday life, you experience in basketball,” he adds.
Now more than ever, Sherman wants his art to uplift and amplify the Black community. “For a long time, a lot of our art has been calling out for our experiences to be heard, for injustices to be recognized,” he says. “As Black artists, it’s our job to document these moments, own these moments, and point out the contradictions of society.” Whenever Sherman is seeking out art books for inspiration, he’s always interested, first and foremost, in the artist’s intention behind their work. He’s particularly inspired by artists such as Chi Modu, Gordon Parks, and Roy DeCarava. And when it comes to art and photography, Sherman says you can usually judge a book by its cover. “I always look for a cover that’s enticing and intriguing, and then I go into the nuances, the direction, and the intent behind the photos,” he notes. We invited Sherman to share his discerning eye, in order to select three art and photography books, all available in Complex SHOP.
The Art Of Interiors, Charles Zana
“These days I’ve been on Zillow more than I’ve been on Instagram,” Sherman laughs. With real estate on the brain, he was drawn to interior designer Charles Zana’s work in various European cities. Beyond the work between the pages, the cover stood out with its color and composition. “The greater cover is green, which flows into the green interior, and the photo is composed well,” he adds.
Sherman has always been a fan of skate culture, though he admits he’s never been skilled on a board himself. “We’ve gotten so much from skateboarding culture, from fashion to videos, art, and figures like Pharrell,” he says, adding, “Supreme is iconic in fashion and skate culture.”
Japanese Woodblock Prints
“With Japanese art, you see an intensity and dedication to upholding their culture,” Sherman says. “For any artist, it’s admirable to see culture live on through your art.” Through its vibrant storytelling, Japanese Woodblock Prints indeed preserves centuries of culture, spanning from 1680 to 1938. “It’s history. It’s going to live much longer than the creator of it, and that’s the value of books,” Sherman adds. Of course, the cover was a selling point, as well. He describes it as “intentional, extravagant, and grandiose.”
Check out our full collection of books here.