• The cover of photographer Brian Vanden Brink's latest book, Iconic.
    The cover of photographer Brian Vanden Brink's latest book, Iconic.

I’ve worked with Maine-based photographer Brian Vanden Brink countless times (see an example here) and I never tire of his beautifully composed images. So I was excited to hear that he has a new title out from Down East Books. Called Iconic: Perspectives on the Man-Made World, this carefully assembled collection doesn’t disappoint.

Vanden Brink writes in his afterword that “the environment we build for ourselves reveals our cultural values and symbolizes our priorities.” He chose photos accordingly, ranging from the cover shot of a coastal California lifeguard station to a pair of anonymous Triple Decker apartment houses in Worcester, Mass., to a sweeping image of a barbed-wire-divided Nebraska prairie. Extended, jargon-free captions explain the history and relevance of each place.

Though many of the buildings featured in the book are modest and/or decrepit, Vanden Brink gives each one a simple, memorable dignity. I found Iconic to be absorbing and enlightening. “These are the gifts of Brian’s work,” writes Edgar Allen Beem in the foreword. “Heightened awareness, mindfulness, attention to detail, focus.” The book is priced at $65; click here for more information.