Sunday, September 27, 2009

Calendars V. 2010

The National Audubon Society’s 365 Songbirds & Other Backyard Birds 2010 Calendar

365 Days in Ireland
365 Kittens a Year
(both available through

Just as the English language has been crunched down to evocative shortcuts (like “sexting” and the combining of proper names like Brad and Angelina to produce “Brangelina”) so too has that highbrow staple of publishing, the big, grand art book, undergone a major downsizing in the age of the internet., with its potent combo of holiday or arty pictures taken by the common folk has singlehandedly re-shaped the idea of the art book. Visit the site and you can see what your peers think is art: a Beijing alleyway, a busy Cairo street or the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. (Big minus points for the “artists” who tilt their cameras or shoot all their stuff in black-and-white.)
No wonder then that the calendar has become the middleman between art book and Flickr sideshow, with the best calendars (those most resembling the big, grand art book) assigning a single, lovely picture to each day of the new year.
The National Audubon Society’s 2010 Calendar, 365 Songbirds & Other Backyard Birds (available through and Workman Publishing’s, 365 Days in Ireland and 365 Kittens a Year (both available through are wall calendars where every month’s grid of squares is accompanied by either a bird, a kitten or an Irish hillside, meal or pub. It’s all very beautiful to look at and contemplate as you figure out how to spend another year but even better the pictures remind you of little things or big dreams that get pushed aside in the daily grind of the here and now. Even better, the kittens’ calendar is made up of pictures sent in by the public so each of them represents Global Cat Love; a little, furry, tactile life out there somewhere else in our rapidly evolving digital world.