Tierney Gearon’s Alternative Alphabet

Tierney Gearon

The beautifully eccentric A–Z tome turns the form on its head.

Read enough ABCs books, as photographer Tierney Gearon, a mother of four, did, and you wonder if the world consists of little more than apples and zebras. So when she put together her Alphabet Book (Damiani, November 30), the goal was not only to educate readers but to surprise and challenge them with whimsical images that, like much of her oeuvre, depict kids without infantilizing them. “I wanted to create an art book for children and a children’s book for adults,” says Gearon. The 26 images within were mostly taken on family vacations to her homes in St. Barths, Telluride and Montana over the course of four years. Below are the first three.

A is for Airplane Adventure: “We sat for hours in Nustique waiting for a plane to land.” (pictured above)

B is for Bear Boy: “Everywhere I went, if I saw something that could be used as a prop, I would buy it.”

C is for Clown Car: “Sometimes the kids got annoyed. I’d get my camera—‘Oh no, mom, not your camera!’”