What's On My Bookshelf: Jennifer Cheng

A photographer talks about the books that influenced her

Posted by Kobo April  25, 2016

My name is Jennifer Cheng and I'm occasionally a photographer. I was practically raised with a book in hand.

For me, reading is about expanding my horizons.  Even though I think learning through experience is the most effective, there’s so much information in the world you’d (probably) never gain on your own. That’s where reading comes in. As cheesy as it sounds, someone has basically done all the research, summarized, and pre-packaged information and images for you to digest - it’s kind of like a life hack. 

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Portrait of Jennifer by Othello Grey

I don’t like to keep most books around after I’ve read them, the exception being visual books I’ll flip through for inspiration (image 003). Below are things I am currently reading or have inspired me at some point in life. 

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Wind-up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami

As someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy fiction, I found this book enjoyable. I find the phrasing, sentence structure, and even the way things are described to be stimulating - possibly because it’s a translated work? I find the way Murakami’s stories are not neatly concluded at the last page makes them a more rewarding read. 

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Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Mülller-Brockmann

This is a book I find myself thinking back to sometimes, even when I’m working on things not directly design-related. A lot of the information in this probably comes intuitively to anyone working in visuals, but it was helpful for me when I started design school and hadn’t had much practice making layouts.

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PIN-UP interviews

This is something I’m currently reading. It’s interesting reading about what people (in this case, designers, architects, etc.) think and speak critically about their respective industries and their own work. 

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Nausea by Jean-Paul Satre

When I first read this I wasn’t aware of how uncomfortably immersive it would be. It was equal parts frustrating and engrossing. Sometimes reading it felt like a chore, but the writing style and narrator’s voice really left an impression on me.

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Jennifer Cheng's Reading List

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Thoughts On Design by Paul Rand, Michael Bierut 

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami 

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand 

The Industrial Design Reader by Karma Gorman

Subculture by Dick Hebdige

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