Copyright 2009 Jeannette Montgomery Barron
Photographer: Jeannette Montgomery Barron (born Atlanta, GA, resides Rome, IT & Connecticut, USA)
Publisher: Welcome Books (USA)
Essays: James D. Barron, Patrick Kinmonth, captions by Jeannette Montgomery Barron
Hardcover book with dust jacket, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in China
Photobook designer: Kristen Sasamoto
Notes: Barron creates a portrait of her late mother through still life images of her cherished clothing, shoes, and personal possessions. As her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s progressed, robbing her of any remembered past, Barron began a visual album as a way of both sparking her mother’s memories, as well as coping with her own sense of loss, and in the process creating unique and personal remembrances. Having lost my own mother to Alzheimer’s, I found this photobook to be a very poignant and touching narrative.
Copyright 2015 Mariela Sancari http://marielasancari.com/
Photographer: Mariela Sancari (born Buenos Aires, Argentina, resides Mexico City)
Publisher: La Fabrica (Spain)
Without essays, captions or pagination
Text: English & Spanish
Hardcover book, sewn binding, two print blocks, four-color lithography, printed in Spain
Photobook designer: Mariela Sancari
Notes: Sancari’s photobook revolves around identity and memory and the way both are mingled and affected by each other over time and space. She examines the thin and elusive line that barely separates memories and fiction. Moisés is a poignant typology of portraits of men in their 70´s, the age of Sancari’s father if he were alive today. The two interior print blocks face each other and although there is a specific sequence to the interleaving, the pages can be re-mixed, re-sequenced and shuffled like a deck a cards by the reader to create new and alternative narratives. A lot of designers are really pushing the book design space today, sometimes with disastrous results. That is not the case with this book. This photobook is a very intriguing concept that is well executed and which works very nicely for me, bordering on brilliant in its simplicity!
Copyright 2014 Guilherme Gerais
Photographer: Guilherme Gerais (born & resides Londrina, Brazil)
Illustrations: Arthur Durate
Publisher: Self-published, Avalanche
Without captions, essay or pagination
Text: English & Portuguese
Hardcover book with sewn binding and an integral stiff cover book that is saddle stich & glued inside back cover, with poster, four-color lithography, printed in Brazil (Midiograf)
Photobook designer: Guilherme Gerais
Notes: The book is an enigma, from start to finish. The black and white photographs are very ambiguous, hinting at a landscape that might be found on Earth, or perhaps elsewhere, providing many options to construct a narrative. At times it seems the book is bordering on too many options as to confound the reader. I felt a push-pull tension; as the landscape and accompanying illustrations was a mix of the familiar yet still foreign and leaving me unbalanced. As such this is a bold body of work, very complex and layered.
Copyright 2014 Diane Vincent
Photographer: Diane Vincent (born East Germany, resides Berlin, Germany)
Without pagination, captions or essay
Text: English (title is German, English translation: Over)
Stiff-cover book, printed dust-cover with hand sewn binding, black and white lithography, printed in Germany (Bookfactory, Bad Munder)
Editing: Diane Vincent and Paul Gaffney
Photobook designer: Diane Vincent
Notes: Diane’s unusual subject is one that most architects probably abhor, the roof tops of large buildings. This is the place where all of the necessary equipment and infrastructure that supports the buildings operation is situated. Roof tops are the usually the eye-sores of owners and tenets, who do their best in an attempt to hide the industrial equipment, as this is not usually a pretty site (pun intended). Although sometimes, this is a place that can with a lot of care become an oasis. If we were to stay at a hotel with this being the viewpoint out our window, we are apt to want to relocate to a room almost anywhere else in the hotel. She examines this universal industrial landscape with an impartial eye using a black & white documentary style. Industry design is about efficiency of the running of pipes on top of flat sheets of tar paper roofs. In her hands, this same landscape takes on an abstract expressionist quality. It was this same quality that captured the imagination of the Modernist photographers in the 1930’s, like Edward Weston and Charles Sheeler. Her graphic photographs become a tantalizing myriad of gray masses with bisecting lines and overlapping shapes.
Okay, this is where I admit that I have an industrial design degree and I completed a brief stint being responsible for the maintenance of a similar roof top industrial landscape a long time ago. Perhaps a reason that this body of work resonates with me.
Copyright 2014 Catherine Leutenegger
Photographer: Catherine Leutenegger (born & resides in Switzerland)
Publisher: Kehrer Verlag (Germany)
Essays: Catherine Leutenegger, A.D. Coleman, Joerg Bader, and Urs Stahel
Text: English & French
Hardcover book with printed paper belly-band, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Germany
Photobook designer: Chris Gautschi
Notes: In this documentary style investigation of a US city that has been economically hit hard due to a global shift in technology, which is all that more poignant for photographers, as this city is Rochester, NY, aka Kodak City. The digitization of photography probably has not had more of negative impact (pun intended) than on Kodak, a company that has recently lived through bankruptcy, and all of those who depended on it for their livelihood. Of course the irony is that scientist at Kodak created the digital technology in the mid-1970’s, but they were so welded to film, paper and chemicals, that the Kodak executives keep this novel technology hidden under the covers until it was too late. Leutenegger started her project in 2007 when the photographic wind had already shifted, then returned back again in 2012 to observe the lingering effects. Thus this is also a photobook project that investigates the process of photography and asks open ended questions of what is next for image making.