The PhotoBook Journal

May 28, 2012

Bruce Haley – Sunder

Photographs copyright Bruce Haley 2010 published by Edizioni Charta in conjunction with Daylight Community Arts Foundation

From 1994 to 2002 Bruce Haley embarked on “a far reaching (photographic) journey through numerous former USSR and Iron Country countries”, investigating a transitional point of time encompassing post-communism and post-war. This body of photographic resulted in Haley’s gritty and dark photobook Sunder, as Taj Forer describes “a stark perspective on the collapse of the Communist empire”.

His choice of using black and white photography is very well suited to this documentary style journey through a region that appears to be enduring very difficult times. I sense his range of grays as revealing a poetic and melancholic subtext to his urban subject. Likewise, his frequent choice of a panoramic photographic format seems to make the resulting dismal conditions appear to be even more overwhelming.

Haley’s body of work is very synergistic with Rania Matar’s “Ordinary Lives”, her investigation of the social aftermath of the Lebanon war. Interesting for me to compare and contrast Haley’s photographs with Katherine McLaughlin’s photobook “The Color of Hay”  investigating a Romanian region during a similar point in time. Haley’s photographs are dark and pessimistic, while McLaughlin has created colorful and optimistic photographs. Looking at these two bodies of work, it would be difficult to understand how this could be the same region and time.

Haley has provided a serve commentary on war and economic blight left by communistic colonialism. His photographs are a dark criticism of both socialism and those who take adverse advantage of a countries resource that result in a wasteland left in apparent ruins. His harsh landscape photographs reveal ecological disasters that might haunt many generations yet to come.

He observes individuals who frequently appear to be in a state of resignation or barely functional in a sea of dysfunctionality. Like Matar, Haley observes the dark irony, harsh and dismal economic conditions and that with perseverance and tenacity, individuals continue to survive. This is a transitional time as a dark curtain has been drawn back only to reveal an uncertain future. Nevertheless, Haley’s narrative is a testimony as to how resilient mankind is.

This very wide hardcover book complements the many panoramic photographs that Haley has incorporated into this project. The photographs are presented as singular images per spread, with ample classic white margins framing each photograph images that make this a joy to read. The book is beautifully printed and bound in Italy revealing the many nuances’ of Haley’s moody black and white photographs. A Foreword is provided by Dina and Clint Eastwood, an extended essay is provided by Andrei Codrescu and Afterword by Taj Forer.

by Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook

May 12, 2012

Douglas Stockdale – Ciociaria Limited Edition Book + Photograph Set

Copyright Douglas Stockdale 2011

Warning Notice: this is a self-serving personal shout-out about the availability of my book in a Limited Edition Book + Photograph set. You may find yourself spending a small amount of loot while yet making a wonderful investment so be warned before proceeding any further!!

I recently published two small versions of a Limited Edition Book + Photograph Set in conjunction with my hardcover book Ciociaria. The edition size for both versions is 25 and I choose two photographs which were not included in the the book. The photograph and book are signed and numbered with the photograph an archival pigment print. After a number of discussions with Susan Burnstine during the development of this Limited Edition set I opted to go with an inexpensive version to keep my costs lower and a provide a reasonable price of $150.00 per set.

The initial interest in the two Limited Edition sets is good and I am nearing the halfway point for selling the editions. I can’t say they are selling like hotcakes yet but are doing well enough and building a small reserve fund to finance my next book that I hope to be able to announce shortly.

The Fiuggi Edition photograph below, was an interesting turning point for me while working on this project. I had been deferring to a more topographical investigation of the memories of this area, which is to say photographing the urban landscape without the presence of any individuals. As this scene unfolded before me it spoke of another way to create a narrative as to how memory is preserved. But as book designs go with the choice, pairing and sequencing of the images, this photograph did not find a good home within the book. So it seemed a nature to include this as a special edition.

Fiuggi Editon

The other version of the Limited Edition is the Morolo Edition that includes the photograph below. I saw this lyrical web of branches with the different phases of the decaying fruit and hints of the surrounding residences. It speaks to the past memories intersecting with the current moment.

The Limited Edition Book + Photograph sets of Ciociaria will be available from specialty photographic bookstores.

Now available at:

Ampersand, Portland Oregon (Sold out)

photo-eye: Santa Fe, NM

The standard hardcover book at $55.00 is currently available at photo-eye.

Additional interior photographs from the book and links to some of the book reviews can be found here.

Check back as I expect this bookseller list to grow.

Best regards, Doug

Morolo Edition

 Now back to your normal programing…

May 10, 2012

The Photobook Review – issue 002

Supplement to Aperture magazine – issue 002, Spring 2012

Hear all about it! Get your Photobook News here!!

Okay, a “newspaper” that is published only twice per year is not exactly something that provides the hot, hot, hot daily news one might expect or want. But then again, the evolution of the photobook industry is not exactly moving at lightening speed either.

As a supplement to their magazine, Aperture has made an interesting decision to publish this newsprint edition, focusing on the growing phenomena of photobooks within the fine art photography establishment. With limited gallery and exhibition space availability, photographers have realized that a photobook will potentially reach a much wider audience over a longer duration as well as providing a more democratic venue & access to their content.

Interestingly The Photobook Review (TPR) is very similar in organizational structure to the now defunct photo-eye magazine edited by Darius Himes, which was published quarterly. This magazine was a perfect-bound stiffcover book that was a delight to hold and read and is sadly missed.

The TPR articles are much longer than any tweet or Face Book shout-out and probably longer than most blog articles, but perhaps shorter than many magazine feature articles. I find the inclusion of some new terminology interesting, last issue was an emphasis on maquettes for the word Book Dummy, and this issue is leporello for the word concertina (I discuss this book design here) or continuous gate-fold.

For TPR, Aperture Publisher Lesley Martin has decided to bring in guest editors, and for this issue the guest editor is photobook publisher and bookseller, Markus Schaden, hailing from Kohn, Germany. Overall TPRis segmented with sections about the photobook developmental process, in this issue the sequencing of the photobook (e.g. Garry Badger’s “It’s Narrative, But Not as we Know it…Sequencing the Photobook), a Designer profile (Greger Ulf Nilson), Publisher profile (Bohm/Kobayashi, Dusseldorf), a feature section (Book Dummy’s including a discussion of Kiyoshi Suzuki’s Soul and Soul that I reviewed), a photobook artist (Ken Schles interviews Christian Patterson) and last photobook reviews (12 of them in this issue, including photobooks by Taishi Hirokawa, Katsumi Omori, Paul Graham, Donald Weber (which I will review soon), and Nina Poppe to name a few.

And thanks to Helka Aleksdottir for providing me with this current issue.

Douglas Stockdale – The PhotoBook

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