The PhotoBook

February 9, 2017

Paula Bronstein – Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear

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Copyright © 2016 Getty Images and Paula Bronstein

Photographer:  Paula Bronstein (American, lives in Bangkok, Thailand)

Publisher:  University of Texas Press, Austin, 2016

Essays:  Foreword by Kim Barker / “Afghan Women” by Christina Lamb / Afterword by Paula Bronstein

Text:  English

Hardcover cloth-bound book with 228 numbered pages, 114 color images with captions; sewn binding, printed in China. Louann Atkins Temple Women and Culture Series Book 42.

Notes:  Paula Bronstein is a courageous and committed photojournalist with a distinguished career. The cultural and political situation of a war-laden country is not easy to depict, and she does not shirk from a gutsy presentation that documents the Afghanistan situation from 2001 through 2015. In comparison to other book reviews I have done, this particular one has been a true emotional challenge. Paula Bronstein gets right to the heart of things; having received amazing access in difficult situations, she confronts the viewer with a very stark reality through stunning, in-your-face photographic documents, each of which is a story in itself, enhanced by situational details in the captions. The entire volume is a heart-wrenching documentation of America’s longest war. As she depicts a variety of problems, she also provides small glimpses of hope that point to possible solutions.

The volume is divided into three sections labeled “The Situation,” “The Casualties,” and “The Reality.” Besides the 114 color photographs comprising these three sections, there are also three essays: A foreword by Kim Barker deals with the photographer and the context. “Afghan Women” by Christina Lamb describes the background as well as the progress that they have made over the years. Paula Bronstein in an ‘Afterword’ (pp. 224-225) also describes some of the difficulties she faced in doing this work.

Subjects covered in this photographic journey include clashes between belief systems, cultural transitions under the influence of modernity, political and military strife, and the promise of educational opportunities for all, against a background of great turmoil. Both people’s fears and hopes are made relevant through the immediacy of the visual documents. Bronstein does her best to illuminate all the things that are often ignored or shoved aside, such as the byproducts of warfare euphemistically labeled “collateral damage” and the difficulties of oppression, be they cultural or religious: she shows the pain of it all, as well as some small joys and pleasures. As the sample double pages from the work shown below illustrate, military and political as well as social and medical challenges are included. Injuries depicted, both physical and mental, cry out for finding solutions to create a better world.

If ever there was a volume that shows the follies of strife and the need to make a huge effort to find peaceful solutions, this is the one. As I write this review, the press reports that the Afghan war killed 25% more children in 2016 than in 2015, as well as causing injuries to 23% more children than the previous year, affecting thousands of families (Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2017, p. A4), along with all of the equally lamentable adult casualties.

Gerhard Clausing

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February 7, 2017

Barbara Kyne – A Crack In The World

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Copyright 2016 Barbara Kyne

Photographer: Barbara Kyne (b. Hoboken, New Jersey – resides. Oakland, CA)

Publisher: Daylight Books (USA)

Essays: Barbara Kyne, Susan Griffin, Jasmine Moorhead

Text: English

Hardcover book with dust jacket, sewn binding, four-color lithography, Index, printed in China

Photobook designer: Ursula Damm

Notes: Barbara Kyne and her partner Fran Lowe have property in Mariposa, located east of the San Francisco bay in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. The land is a bit rough and tumble, which is to say a little on the wild side. Although her book appears to be an abstraction of the natural landscape, Kyne is seeking to go beyond the apparent and investigate an aspect of nature that we do not usually think may be occurring; how does nature view itself?

In nature we take for granted that there is an active interplay between the wildlife animals, birds and other crawly creatures, but we have not been taught or made aware that perhaps the trees and vegetation may actively communicating among themselves. Kyne has tapped into the writings and scientific investigations that gives credence that plants and trees are in a sense actively communicating with each other. Thus raising the question; if plants and trees can perceive, what might they comprehend and what could that vision look like?

In discussing this book, she stated “And my work is about reality. Reality and time. I’m just looking at reality from what I imagine is the perception of another species. I’m attempting to expand our perception of reality and let go of or at least loosen the grip of our human-centric perception.”

Her photographs are abstract and very lyrical as I find Kyne’s hypothesis and subsequent investigating to be very intriguing and visually beautiful.

Other photobooks by Barbara Kyne reviewed on The Photobook: Gerhard Clausing’s review of By Fire

Cheers

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February 4, 2017

Left coast news: The International Photobook Competition 2017

Filed under: Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 9:55 pm

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Photo Book Independent 2016 judging, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Just announced; the 2017 International Photographic Book Competition in conjunction with Photo Independent.

Submissions are now being accepted. Important; the deadline for the 2017 Photobook Competition is March 15, 2017. Entries must be received (in hand) no later than April 1, 2017 for judging. The clock is ticking!

To enter:

  • Full out form here including uploading a JPEG file of your book cover(s)
  • Pay Submission Fee
  • Mail one copy of each book submitted to the following address:

Fabrik Media/Photobook 2017
269 S. Beverly Drive, #1234
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

The submission fees are as follows:

  • $25 for 1 book
  • $35 for 2 books
  • $45 for 3 books

As was last year, those juried-in will be featured at PHOTOBOOK INDEPENDENT FAIR, April 21-23, 2017 as a part of Photo Independent: Six (6) photobooks (3 self-published + 3 from publishers) will be chosen as Best in Show and will be honored at the Fair and Festival. Winners will also each receive a Think Tank bag. Additionally, the winning Photobook photographers and publishers will have the option of sending additional books to have for sale at the fair. Winners do not need to be present at the Fair for the selling of their publication(s).

I am again to honored to be among the 2017 PhotoBook Competition Jurors, who are:

  • Rudi Bianchi, Photo Collector
  • Marissa Caichiolo, Curator and Executive Director, Building Bridges Art Exchange
  • Chris Davies, Publisher, Fabrik Magazine
  • Kio Griffith, Artist; Designer; Writer; Curator
  • Sarah Lee, Curator
  • Kirk Pederson, Publisher, Zero+ Publishing
  • Douglas Stockdale, Photographer, Author/Book Artist, Photobook Reviewer, Curator

Below is a photograph of this team in action during the 2016 judging. So check it out!

& best of luck!

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February 2, 2017

Left Coast News: 2 photobook workshops in February

Filed under: Photo Book Discussions, Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:01 pm

The Epilogue, Laia Abril & book design by Ramon Pez

In conjunction with Art Book LA 2017, there will be two photobook workshops occurring on back to back weekends. One workshop lead is by the team of Ramon Pez and Michael Brown, sponsored by Magnum, which is being held at LACP and the other workshop is being led by Bruno Ceschel.

I am really familiar with the amazing art designer Ramon Pez’s creative photobook designs and I have been in discussions with him regarding his design work for the photographer Laia Abril’s various book projects, including 2014’s top contemporary photobook The Epilogue. Pez also worked on the design of Cristina de Middel’s brilliant 2012 self-published photobook The AfronautsMichael Brown is a member of Magnum.

The Pez & Brown workshop will take place Friday, Feb 24th and Saturday, Feb 25th at the LACP (Los Angeles Center for Photography) facility in LA; 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028. The two workshop leaders plan to spend the bulk of the two day workshop providing the participants with constructive advice in conjunction with group critiques of the participants projects.

The book design workshop by Bruno Ceschel, founder of Self Publish, Be Happy blog, is scheduled the weekend before Art Book LA 2017. His two day workshop is on Saturday, Feb 18th and Sunday, Feb 19th in LA. After a discussion of editing, sequencing & book design, the class will then develop their projects using Adobe In-Design or other publishing software.

As a reminder, my two day workshop, Introduction to Photo Book Design, is scheduled with LACP over two consecutive Saturdays later this spring; April  1st & 8th, at the LACP facilities in LA.

Cheers!

 

 

 

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