The PhotoBook

July 7, 2014

Brooks Jensen – Looking at Images

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Copyright the photographers 2014 published by LensWork Publishing

Brooks Jensen is the Editor and Publisher of the LensWork journal and almost exclusively is focusing on Black and White photography. The bi-monthly journal is released concurrently in a print edition and a DVD that contains additional portfolios and audio interviews of the artist by Jensen.

Jensen also publishes a blog, also titled Looking at Images, where he provide extensive homilies about a singular image selected from the LensWork journal portfolios. Jensen has carefully selected a broad group of his published essays which provides the material for this book. In this book, Jensen’s photographic commentaries are sequenced alphabetically as to the photographer work that he is discussing. Each photograph and photographer being discussed is provided a two page spread with the photograph on one page which faces Jensen’s commentary on the other.

I am very honored that Jensen has selected one of my images from the In Passing project which was published in the #74 issue (January/February 2008) on page 252 and 253. This is the same photograph and a similar commentary that Jensen wrote about on his Looking at Images blog in 2010. I have known that Jensen was immediately taken by this image from the early days of my submission, as he had quickly asked if I would be open to a print exchange for one of his. That deal was a no brainier as I had been earlier intrigued by one his photographs, so we did the print swap. I guess you can say with Jensen as a collector of my work, this photograph keeps resurfacing in a very nice way. Likewise, the publication of In Passing in LensWork was a great validation of this somewhat controversial project and led to my subsequent publication of In Passing in a hardcover book through Blurb (Now sold out and out of Print).

As an insight to how Jensen categorized his commentaries, my image is a warmed toned black and white, not a pure black and white photograph, thus my photograph is grouped in the Colored Images section of the book, as were a number of other toned images. Which may seem odd as my print color is very close to all of the slightly warm selenium toning photographs printed in LensWork.

A couple of other Left-Coast photographers that are included are Hiroshi Watanabe, Aline Smithson, Ray Carfano and Larry Wiese of the 122 commentaries published. There is a strong emphasis on Modern Black and White Photography, there are some interesting Contemporary Black and White photographs included to make this a fairly diverse body of commentaries.

As a book object, the stiff cover book has a decent heft for the 264 pages and I am assuming from the high quality of the printing (another forte of LensWork), that this book was printed and bound by the same Vancouver, Canada printers that print the LensWork journal. Jensen has also included a QR code with each commentary that links to an audio file about this photograph and topic.

Cheers!

Douglas Stockdale

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June 7, 2014

Sarah Malakoff – Second Nature

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Copyright Sarah Malakoff 2013 published by CHARTA

Sarah Malakoff (b. 1972 Wellesley, MA and resides in Boston, MA) chose to photograph a subject that she knows well, the interior living spaces found in the greater Boston area where she was born and raised.

Her pensive photographs are characterized by a warmth and intimacy. These are not the staged interior photographs found in advertisements or glossy interior decorating magazines so common in America. The beds are ruffled and unmade, a box of clothing lies haphazard under a bed, a board game is askew on top of a table, and there are particles of soot lying on top of the carpet in front of the blazing fire, leaves and debris on the kitchen floor adjacent to the sliding door and the many lounging animals, both real and inanimate. Nevertheless her interiors are still a bit too clean and tidy, bordering on sterile, perhaps more indicative of the person who resides there than the photographer.

These are homes, not houses, a place where people reside as evidenced by the interiors. We are only indirectly introduced to the home owners by what and how they have chosen to decorate their residences. One might suspect that these homes are owned by cats and dogs, as these are the only ones present in Malakoff’s photographs. The inclusion of the cats and dogs are a subtle reminder that their owners, although out of sight, are not far away.

Malakoff has chosen to photograph her interiors with a middle ground composition, not focusing on details or grand views. It may perhaps be a practical matter, as many of the older New England homes have smaller rooms, tight quarters to use the nautical term, as compared to the mini-mansions now being built today across America. New England borders the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and many of the founders of this region worked the boats and sea, thus the nautical theme a popular motif, such as a basement bar made out to resemble the prow of a boat.

As such, this body of work is a study of identity, which in this case has a strong New England flavor. I recognize that these photographs are instilled with much of this regional essence and the interior home photographs would appear much different if compared to those found in the South, Midwest, Southwest or Pacific Coast of the United States.

Malakoff provides us with an opportunity to make a leisurely tour while visiting these diverse residences and wonder about who has chosen these places to nest, what interesting places might lurk just outside the windows and what events may have transpired in these wonderful warm and inviting places.

The hardcover book is nicely printed and bound in a way that allows the book to be opened fully without any image contest lost in the gutters. The interior photographs are either graced with a classic white margin, or a single image printed across a two page spread, with an edge bleed of three of the four sides and both image formats allows these photographs a pleasure to read.

by Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook & co-published in Emaho magazine.

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June 1, 2014

Robin Maddock – III

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Photographs copyright 2014 of Robin Maddock, published by Trolley Books

The British photographer Robin Maddock (b. 1972 Leicester, UK, resides in Los Angeles USA & the UK) has taken an interesting departure from the his previous color documentary style, evidenced in his prior two books, with a more conceptual theme photographed in black and white. His subjects included three objects that Maddock introduces into the pictorial frame; sheets of white paper, ping pong balls and milk. This is a project photographed in California (San Francisco and Los Angeles) over a span of a couple of years with black and white film. As Maddock has stated “It is a product of California, not about it”.

Maddock has stated elsewhere that this book-project was a result of wanting to work on a change-up, a completely different project. His previous photographic work has garnered him some nice accolades and was developing a stylistic look. For some photographer/artist, developing a recognizable visual trademark is something that is sought after, while for others, like Maddock, it is akin to an artistic kiss of death.

For this project, he chooses to include three white objects which were found, positioned, tossed or flowed (spilled per Maddock) somewhere within the frame. As to why these three different objects, perhaps why not, but they each have unique physical characteristics and unified by sharing the same color. Another possibility is the sexual attributes that can be attributed to these objects with the ping pong balls have maleness, the milk is both male and femaleness and the flat white paper seemingly neutral.

Three is also one of those magical numbers. A good presenter knows that making three points in a presentation will have the most potential effect. One of something which is often repeated can become boring and repetitious. Two different subjects’ will add diversity to a message while three subjects add complexity as well as diversity. With four subjects the message begins to become overwhelming and losing too much focus. A photographer only has to look at his tripod to understand the concept.

Maddock’s ensuring photographs are a madcap range of the absurdity to the playful and witty, such as the tongue-in-cheek rubber band filled with milk or the ping pong ball sitting on top of the end of the rain spout. Maddock incorporates his own shadow into many of the photographs perhaps indicating a potential autobiographical nature of this project.

His photographs are a little higher in contrast with the shadows frequently become dark masses to push into a stronger graphic appearance. This also serves to push the whiteness of his introduced objects to a flatter and almost abstract quality. Maddock frequently uses a vertical format and tightly composes his photographs. As a conceptual project, I do wonder if this book might have received as much critical attention if it was Maddock’ s first book.

This book object is a bound hardcover book with a tipped-in image and embossed linen boards. Another well printed book by Grafiche Antiga (Italy), the go-to printer for Trolley Books, and the black and white photographs were printed on Tatami Ivory paper. The book does not contain an essay, pagination or captions leaving the reader entirely to their own interpretations. I did notice that the dark linen cover is a dust magnet and regretfully I did not get my book into a protective poly cover quick enough.

by Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook and co-published in Emaho magazine

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May 12, 2014

Stab binding – Fukuro Toji

Filed under: Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:24 pm

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Copyright Oliver Zenklusen, d’un mode flottant (of a floating world) 2013, self-published

Japanese stab binding, also known as Fukuro Toji (bound-pocket books), is a hands-on artist book binding process that can personalize a photobook project. The stab binding results in an elegant bound book that employs one of the basic, if not classic, sewing processes for book binding.

My edits from Wiki: Japanese bound-pocket books are also made by stacking sheets of double-wide paper that have been folded individually (also known as a folded leaf), but unlike glued or sewn books, the stacked pages (the block) are bound by stabbing holes and then sewing the loose edge opposite the crease together with either thread or tightly wrapped, thread-like strips paper. A front and back cover are applied before binding. This binding method means that each double-wide piece of paper has only two printing surfaces instead of four, but by eliminating the need for double-sided legibility, bound-pocket books enabled publishers to use significantly thinner paper than was necessary for glued or sewn books. This binding style also allowed for a much greater variety of appearance than either of the other forms of bound books, as the pages could be sewn according to any number of traditional and fashionable methods.

A variation of the folded leaf is to print a flat color or pattern that is concealed within the interior two pages of this quarto, such as Pietro Mattioli’s Two Thousand Light Years from Home. Another option is to use a single leaf, printed on both sides, to create two pages bound in a similar manner. The Japanese stab binding is similar to the pamphlet stitched bookbinding process. Using threads, strings, and sometimes even leather, separate pages are sewn together. Using an in-and-out technique you weave the string through the pages from top to bottom and then tie it off with a knot (see photograph below of the back of the book). It is a beautiful, unique and natural way of making a photobook.

There are a very wide array of design options are available for this binding process, from the very basic box design (the standard pattern) to extremely complex patterns, such as the tortoise shell or hemp leaf. A substantial margin (at least an inch) is necessary down the left side of the (two-page) leaf for the binding. The stab binding utilizes one long strand of thread that eventually doubles back on itself and then tied off.

For Zenklusen, his project d’un mode flottant was an investigation of the Japanese natural and urban landscape; as he describes the fragility of a place and a society and ways of living within it. He chose a Japanese stab binding to create a handmade object to include the imperfections of this form. For me, this binding echo’s his classic and elegant black & white photographs of Japan.

Cheers!

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May 8, 2014

Publish Your Photography Book – revised edition

Filed under: Book Publications, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:03 pm

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Copyright 2014 Published by Princeton Architectural Press

Darius Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson have updated and revised their how-to book Publish Your Photography Book. The revised (second) edition has a stronger emphasis on Print-on-Demand, mostly focused on the Blurb publishing company, Zines and the Digital Revolution. The later may not be any longer a Revolution. There is a corresponding reduction in focus on the publication of artist books.

I am very delighted that this blog is again listed in Appendix X, Print and Online Publications and Marketing Resources. Thank you Darius and Mary Virgina!

Cheers!

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April 29, 2014

Paris Photo LA – 2014

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Untitled (stack of new books) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

One of the nice aspects of LA becoming a regional center for photography is the growing number of photographic events occurring locally. Even though I live a good hour drive south of LA (if the traffic behaves), much easier to attend than similar events in NYC, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and Tokyo. Nevertheless, I usually only attend one day and if the event is a three day weekend, I make it a point to attend on Friday. Basically there is a much smaller crowd with more accessibility to exhibits and meet-ups, the downside is the grander presentations are usually on Saturday.

This past weekend was Paris Photo LA and the smaller Photo Independent (my review of the Photo Independent on Singular Images) located adjacent to the Paris Photo LA. My interest was primarily on the Paris Photo LA is the presence of the photobook publishers and distributors. This year the book publishers was Aperture (US), Kehrer (Germany), MACK (UK), Taschen (US) and Bookshop M (Japan) along with Printed Matter (US) and the U.S. mega photobook distributor Artbook D.A.P. Also a couple of photobook dealers, such as Harper Books and Dirk K. Bakker Boeken. There are also a few photobooks found amongst the various exhibitors, but this took more time to hunt down than I had available this year with the exception of Andy Freeberg’s recently published Art Fare, but this was a prearranged meet-up.

Most of the publishers have recently published titles and frequently titles that are not going to be released in the U.S. until late summer or early Fall, so a nice opportunity to see what’s coming out. Most of the publishers and distributors were organizing book signings, so an opportunity to meet up with the photographer behind the book. I have already reviewed Douglas Ljungkvist’s Ocean Beach, nevertheless this was an opportunity to meet the guy behind the book as we had already been trading email and Facebook messages leading up to his book being reviewed. Thus a chance to meet Rachael Jablo and an introduction to her photobook My Days of Losing Words, Nancy Baron and her photobook The Good Life, Robert Pittman and his photobook Anonymization and Catherine Leutenegger and her photobook Kodak City. As you can see in the photograph above, I also acquired the Harry Callahan book, but a bit too late to meet up with him. I had a chance to meet up with Cristina De Middel, Renee Jacobs and Wendy Hicks during my meandering as well as there were a couple of missed opportunities.

The big tension for Friday night was the darkening clouds and the forecast for rain that evening. Some of the store fronts where either books or pictures were hanging are true Hollywood facades sans roofs. So below are some of the sights of Paris Photo LA, which by the way was held again on the back-lot of Paramont Picture Studios in Hollywood. How LA is that?

Cheers!

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April 18, 2014

Laura Braun – Metier – Small Businesses in London

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Copyright Laura Braun 2013 published by her imprint Paper Tigers Books

The recent book self-published under her imprint by Laura Braun, Metier, investigates the Small Business in London, which is a region where Braun resides.  The book is a combination of environment portraits of the persons engaged in a small business, a study of the business interiors and all in conjunction with brief statements made by her subjects, usually in the context of how they arrived at this business.

Since the term Metier was not well known to me, (a term that I never heard mentioned amongst the other small business owners in Southern California where our shop was residing), I thought it expansive to know more about this word in order to ground me as a reader.  Perhaps this is a far more common term in England, as in California those folks who run the small businesses are more commonly known as store owners, small businessman/women or for the hip stores, entrepreneur.

  1. A profession or trade, especially that to which one is well suited.
  2. A field of activity in which one has special ability or training; forte.

I suspect that the last part of the first definition creates more ambiguity in the reading of this book, as I find it extremely difficult to tell by looking a portrait or reading their statement that they are well suited to that professional trade.  The later found definition seems to have a better connotation and connection with Braun’s sociological study.

This book immediately resonates with me as many photographers, whether full time or part time profession, commercial, portrait or fine art, usually fall into this broad category of commerce.  And in fact she features three photographic oriented small businesses in her book.

As background, at one time my family owned and operated a storefront retail store selling a combination of picture framing services, do-it-yourself framing supplies as well a broad selection of fine arts materials. We were on the far end of main street and we quickly noticed the changes that began to occur with the local store businesses with the opening of a huge open mall near by. Similar to Braun’s environmental portraits of the store owner’s enclave, we also had the “back room” where all of the framing magic occurred and our framing team could relax a moment out of the spotlight of the customers gaze.

Her portraits are at once a look into the past and as well as potentially into the future for a small segment of society in North America and Western Europe.  In other parts of the developing world, these small business portraits probably do not appear as strange as family owned enterprises are the norm. Nevertheless with the continuing expansion of McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks other chains, even the far reaches of the globe may soon be similarly impacted.

In studying her photographs it seems that the store interiors provide a biographic environment, from the neat, tidy and well arranged to those on the ragged edge of total chaos, much like her subjects. There are also open questions asked by this body of work, such as to whether there might be a universality to small businesses.

Unlike the current trend of neutral appearing subjects, as if indifferent, it appears that Braun does not attempt to force her subjects into a predetermined formalistic pose. She captures what her subject’s offer, that perhaps this is part and parcel to her subject’s persona. She and her subjects provide the reader a little more of a hint as to one alternative reading of the photograph.

Likewise I find while reading this book recalling the various small shops and businesses I have frequented while some have made a lasting impression and memory to this day.

I do find this book to be a very enjoyable read.

The book has a stiff cover dust cover over a book block that has open thread binding. Okay, Braun describes the book as being naked bound with dust jacket, which I have discussed in much more detail in another post found here.  As a result of this style of binding, the book lays flat and viewing the interior spreads in combination with the smaller size of this publication is a pleasure. The flip side is that this is not a particularly strong type of binding thus the reader is encouraged to take a little more care in the book’s handling. My copy was immediately placed into a protective poly bag. In the captions for each small business, the subject as well as the physical location is identified. The Afterword was written by Dawn Lyon with the book design by Mel Duarte.

Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook & published concurrently with Emaho magazine.

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April 11, 2014

Naked Bound

Filed under: Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:36 am

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Naked bound with Dust Jacket, Laura Braun, Metier, copyright 2013

Okay, I’m guessing that this might not be the exact post you were expecting, eh?

For some time artist, photographers and graphic designers have been pushing the conceptual design envelop of a book as an integral extension of the published work.  Thus questioning how a published book should be designed and constructed as to how the book design might expand the narrative.

As the traditional book becomes morphed into a contemporary book, how do we describe the changes that beget the new look and function?

One aspect of the book’s design that has been getting some attention is focused on the spine, the section of the book which holds all of the signatures (pages) together. In the past, the spine had elaborate covers and enabled the publisher to identify the book title and author to allow recognition on the book sellers shelves. Now book designers have been allowing the spine to be unconcealed, or naked bound as Braun describes in her book description, and the underlying reason for this post.

My first brush with this open spine design concept was in 2009 with Lee Friedlander’s New Mexico, which was described as revealing the book’s skeleton (I have since found out that this book design style is call Tape Binding). In an exchange with Darius Himes, who was a principal of Radius Books, the publisher of Friedlander’s book, he stated discussion in response to my question;

No, you’re not going insane. The book is a very intentional object:  no end-pages, the book block “sits” against the raw book boards, naked and exposed on the rough terrain of those boards, if you will.  The back of the book block is secured to the back board as a structural device.  This very raw object is clothed in a very elegant dust-jacket with a debossed and duo-tone printed, inlaid image.  Again, the effect is a raw object clothed with elegance (kind of like New Mexico and Santa Fe itself).  So, no, the book is not supposed to have front end-pages and the spine is not meant to be glued to anything…. you’re seeing right to the skeleton of a book.

In retrospect, I guess I should have paid closer attention to Himes description of this design (…naked and exposed…) and probably Braun’s description for Metier would not have struck me as it did. I have deferred to calling this spine design an open thread stitching and included this in my photobook definitions (sidebar).

Since 2009, I have seen this open thread stitching become more common. I will admit that I am unsure why some book designers have included this particular aspect in their book design perhaps other than gain some attention. Perhaps it is the cool thing to do for a book. I prefer to think of how form follows function. You should have a reason for ever aspect of your book design; paper selection, layout, text, captions, sequencing, binding, etc. if you desire to present a cohesive concept.

Okay, that said, I will readily admit that there are some interesting aspects of Braun’s naked bound book Metier worth discussing. First, the dust jacket conceals the open thread stitching, thus you need to look for this aspect. Thus this design concept is not blatantly revealed but you have to remove the jacket to find out that her book is naked. hmmmm, perhaps I need to think about that aspect a bit more…..

Up until recently, the open thread stitching also included a layer of glue to finish the binding, while Braun’s naked bound does not. As a result, the binding is more vulnerable to handling and damage. Early books were notorious for the spine to break which resulted in the pages falling out, which is why the spines were glued after stitching to further reinforce the spine. One result of not having any reinforcing glue is that it allows her book to fully open into a lay flat condition.

The second subtly, but more apparent as the reader spends time with the book is that she has selected multicolored threading for her naked bound book. Thread color is usually selected to appear close to the page color so that the thread does not compete with the interior images and text. In Braun’s book, the variety of brightly color thread is hard to miss, and the color shifts though out the book. Thus Braun’s book is naked bound with a delightedly colorful flair.

So from time to time I will spend a little time discussing contemporary book designs as another aspect of this blog.

Cheers!

Update: The awesome photobook designer Sybren (-SYB- ) Kuiper pointed out to me that the book design above also falls into the book design category of Swiss Binding: The book cover is not attached to the face top edge, completely detached from the text block. Accordingly, I have added this to the blog sidebar of Photobooks:  definitions and terms.

April 4, 2014

Nico Bick – P.I.

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Nick Bick copyright 2011, self-published

Nico Bick’s P.I. is a study of what is purported to be the one of the most well-known prisons in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the Over-Amstel Penitentiary Institution locally known as Bijlmerbajes (Bijlmer Jail). Using a documentary style, Bick photographed the cells of prisoners, isolation cells, communal rooms and holding cells. Bick also include an area that is most relevant to the prison administration; the control rooms and an area equally important to the prisoners; the doors leading out of the facilities.

Interestingly, the book is unbound and the interior sheets are folded and tucked together. I think that there might have been initially some order to how these pages were arranged, but over the last couple of years, while I continued looking at these sheets I have managed to create a jumble in the presentation. I suspect that that was part of Bick’s plan to allow the reader to rearrange and create their own order out of the inherent madness associated with a tightly regimented prison system.

Perhaps with the exception of the prisoner’s rooms and control rooms, the areas photographed within this institution are ambiguous. The facility appears almost too clean and sterile with the exception of one type of room that seems to invite graffiti. The locations are photographed without the presence of the prisoners or their guards, but we sense that due to the nature of this place, someone maybe just beyond the scope of Bick’s lens. This is a man-built structure with a very specific purpose in mind.

In stark comparison to the photographs of the US jails and prisons interiors, in which the prisoners are living in a mass communal, the individual rooms appear to be only a slight departure from someone’s home residence. Each room appears to be designed for an inhabited by a single individual; each provided a window, blue curtains, a corner table with a small television and coffee maker and an adjoining chair. On the shelves above the single bed is a place to hold books, snacks, or a photograph. Some of these rooms look Spartan as though just occupied, other have the accumulated debris that comes with too much time. Bick’s photographs appear objective and not judgmental of the current situation and circumstances.

As a book object, it has tri-fold stiff cover, with the interior panels containing thumbnail photographs and captions that provide an index to the interior sheets. The four color interior sheets are folded and loose (unbound). An introduction is provided on another loose sheet by Frits Gierstberg while the book was designed by Joost Grootens.

Footnote: This is one of the photobooks that I received in early 2012 and which never seemed to make through my photobook review cycle. Nevertheless the book’s intriguing design in conjunction with the clearly seen yet stark photographs made a strong impression and this book keeping lingering in my memory as a book that needed to be discussed.

Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook

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April 1, 2014

Douglas Ljungkvist – Ocean Beach

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Copyright Douglas Ljungkvist 2013 published by Kehrer Heidelberg Verlag

Ocean Beach is a photographic project that Douglas Ljungkvist (b. 1965, Gothenburg, Sweden, resides in Brooklyn, NY) initiated in 2009. The original intent of Ocean Beach was to investigate a region located in the midst of a 200 mile stretch of the barrier island located off the American coast of the New Jersey. A coastal stretch that is a well-known summer holiday destination.

Ljungkvist’s project took an unanticipated and epic twist when in October 2012 this region was directly slammed by Hurricane Sandy. During the ensuing storm, the magic bubble surrounding this holiday retreat was burst and totally shattered.

The book opens with an investigation of furnished rental structures that are designed and built for a holiday escape. Even the name of the Ocean Beach rental homes, called cottages, is meant to evoke thoughts of a lyrical English country side. The cottage exteriors area characterized by their pastel colors; sea foam greens, peach, tans, light gray, and sky blue. The cottage interiors complement the cottage exteriors with a similar color palette which Ljungkvist humorously pairs together on facing pages. Few individuals are present in his photographs with the exception of one crowed photographed during what appears to be a summer beach party.

The light and airy colors of the cottages are meant to set the mood for the ensuing sunny, balmy, summer vacation days. Ocean Beach is a destination to have fun times and not be reminded of the stuff of home; work, bills and yard work. A sugary and candy sweetness abounds. No distractions, no industrial buildings or high rise offices on this part of the Jersey Shore, just sand and surf and the warm sun to bask in.

As stated by Harvey Benge in his Introduction; “These pictures address issues of conformity and of pervasive empty consumerism. We are confronted with a bizarre version of the American Dream that embodies the unrelenting desire for happiness constructed from a determined yet fragile sense of self-value and apple-pie radiant optimism.”

In October 2012 a Hurricane named Sandy devastated much of the American East Coast region as this huge storm hit landfall. Ocean Beach and the length of the Jersey Shore absorbed the brunt of the savage gale winds and surging ocean. In the twinkling of an eye the fate of nature altered this idyllic landscape, much as nature has wreaked similar havoc in many parts of the world.

In the post-Sandy photographs, his photographic perspective was altered and expanded to include the beach as well as the outlying ocean. In an interview with Ljungkvist, he stated that “it felt important as the ocean and sand was a large contribution to the destruction.”

Ljungkvist photographs of the Ocean Beach destruction have a calm and objective perspective without the drama of the storm. The skies are now clear blue with hints of sea haze, while the ocean is relatively flat and calm and is no longer threatening.

His documentary style photographs are almost coolly clinical in his middle view point perspective.  His photographs of the damaged structure were taken well after the event has transpired and an almost ghostly quietness has come over the area. He reveals the crushed homes with sand drifts flowing through the living areas, bedrooms in shambles, wrecked furniture and kitchens all askew.

Amongst the ruin is the construction equipment attempting to take control of the damage and new piles of dirt are mute testimony of their labor. There are profuse footprints on the layers of sand covering the interiors and other evidence that mankind is now in the midst of wrestling with the consequences of this storm. The devastation is no less, but appears more benign in the light of a clear day.

Ljungkvist narrative has change mid-chapter into a story about uncontrollable nature, chance, unplanned events, much as life itself. It is true serendipity as to where nature’s full impact and fury will occur. If possible, mankind can take cover or get out of its path and then deal with the aftermath the best we know how. His photographs that capture a glimpse of the construction equipment imply that the process of resurrection has begun. Similarly the photograph of the destroyed house in the foreground while in the background, high on a mound of fresh dirt, stands an erect and defiant American flag, signifying hope, determination and American optimism.

The hard book has an image wrap cover book with superb four-color offset litho printing on a semi-luster paper. The book includes essays by Harvey Benge and Steve Bission with the text in English. The pages are numbered while the photographs do not have any captions allowing the reader to create their own stories.

Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook and co-published by Emaho magazine

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