The PhotoBook Journal

March 27, 2015

Matej Sitar – Morning Sun

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:57 pm

Matej_Sitar-Morning_Sun_cover

Copyright 2014 Matej Sitar, published by Angry Bat, Ljubljana

Admittedly, this photobook review for Matej Sitar’s Morning Sun has been very slowly developing and for all of the right reasons. There are photobooks I have received which are over the top and very obvious as to subject, concept and content. Some of these are really good, some not, as to be so obvious as to leave me wondering why it was even published, a waste of perfectly good paper. The later do not warrant a review; my time is too precious, thus the reason that I am usually very positive about the photobooks that I write about, the others are usually donated to a library or good cause. (It is very difficult for me to put any book in the rubbish bin, no matter how awful it appears)

Morning Sun is a book that immediately connects with me, but it has been hard for me to put into words as to why. The book’s title is a fun play on words, as the subject of this book is his wife who is pregnant, as well as bit autobiographical, awaiting the arrival of their son. So each morning the sun arises to a new day, new events, and a new life.

As a father with two children, I get what it was like facing the unknown challenges and yet excited with anticipation for the first child. For guys, no matter how much we think that we are prepared, the first child is fun, exciting yet a mystery and an enigma and can be overwhelming. We are just not prepared for all about what is to occur, but I think we really do the best we can to prepare.

This is what I believe Sitar is exploring with this book; to be a guy who is soon to be a dad, attempting to understand the changes occurring on this nine month pathway to fatherhood.

I found this photobook subtle as to the subject, sequencing and layout. It is one that I experience in a non-verbal way, thus has been difficult to find the right words to provide meaning.  This is a personal and intimate body of work; a poetic sonnet rather that a narrative.

It contains an interesting mix of portraits and landscapes. The landscapes are mid-distance and also intimate exploring phases of life. The metaphoric photographs are introspective; changes, new life, attempting to anticipate what might soon be, while being open to the changes occurring now, external/internal,

Morning Sun was selected as one of my more interesting photobooks for 2014.

This is a hardcover book with linen covers and tipped in photograph on the front cover with embossed title. The printing is four color offset on 150 gm paper with a sewn binding.

Matej Sitar photobook previously reviewed on the photobook: America, My Way & America, My Way (Collectors Edition)

Cheers!

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March 14, 2015

Alec Soth & Brad Zellar – Michigan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 5:28 am

Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_cover

Copyright the artists 2012, LBM Dispatch #3: Michigan, published by Little Brown Mushroom

A couple of years ago at the LA Art Book Fair I acquired LBM Dispatch issue #3; Michigan, published by Little Brown Mushroom (aka LBM), an unusual zine that is the brain-child of Alec Soth (photographer) and Brad Zellar (writer). I had not really planned on reviewing it. Since I recently acquired a copy of Alec Soth’s Songbook (published by MACK; 2014) which incorporates images previously published in the various LBM Dispatches, I thought it might relevant to briefly discuss Dispatch #3 to provide a little more context to Soth’s Songbook.

First to be up front I may have a bias for a photobook about the state of Michigan as I spent too many years of my youth growing up in this state. Some good memories, others not, but to say that I left with my family very shortly after I graduated from college and we have now lived for many, many years in Southern California.  We still have a lot of my wife’s family in Michigan, so we do return, but not too regularly, and over the many years, we have visited much of this State.

As collaboration, the LBM Dispatch zine is an interactive photo-journalistic creation by a pair of guys who seem to enjoy each other’s company while doing road trips across the country.  It is a combination of Black & White photographs, captions and various quotes relevant to the State sprinkled thru out. It does make for a snappy read, not really a newspaper per se, but also not a hard edge, searing recreation of Robert Frank’s The Americans either, although there are some gritty elements present. Maybe this zine is more in spirit and trying to connect with the WPA photographic work of the 1930’s.

As Zellar states “We do not pretend to be real journalist, and though we don’t have a clear agenda when we set out, we do try to shape the narrative and round out themes that develop as we explore the places we visit.”

They came, they saw and this is some of what they saw and heard and what it made us think about. Interesting.

As a photobook zine, this has a softcover similar to a broad sheet, the entire publication is printed on the same weight paper, lightly scored gutter and folded, but not bound; loose. The paper has a slightly heavy hand, a slight off-white color and is not recycled newsprint as are most newspapers. Even with the high quality paper, the black and white images are printed a lower contrast with weak blacks, again frequently as with many newspapers which attempt to save a little money, going lighter with the black ink on the presses.

Cheers,

Btw, the Michigan Dispatch #3 is now Sold Out

Cheers!

Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_1

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