The PhotoBook

March 26, 2017

Klaus Pichler and Clemens Marschall – Golden Days Before They End

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Photographer:  Klaus Pichler (Austrian, lives and works in Vienna)

Texts compiled and edited by Clemens Marschall

Translations (English Edition): Charlotte Maconochie and Clemens Marschall

Design: Roland Hörmann

Publisher:  Edition Patrick Frey, Zurich, Switzerland, 2016

Hardcover book, sewn binding; 250 unnumbered pages; 120 color photographs; German and English editions; including 100/96 pages of text, with quotes by owners and patrons, list of venues, and glossary; printed and bound in Austria; 29×23 cm

Copyright © 2016 – Photography: Klaus Pichler; Texts: Clemens Marschall; Publication: Edition Patrick Frey

Notes:

This work contains a pictorial portion of 120 color photographs by Klaus Pichler and four interspersed text portions totaling 96 pages (English edition) and 100 pages (German edition), bound in four segments within the picture sections. These text portions consist of a huge number of quotes (collected and edited by Clemens Marschall) that give fascinating insights into the lives of both the owners and the patrons of small Viennese bars that are the subject of the photographs, as well as a list of these 70 or so venues that the authors visited and depicted, a glossary of some of the choice phrases and terms from the quotes (how about “Baucherl” and “Strizzi” for starters!), and the customary publishing information. The German text portion is slightly larger because it includes an expanded glossary of choice local dialect and colloquial expressions. Wherever the images contain relevant language material, a translation is thoughtfully provided below the picture. An impressive collection of visual and textual data!

So here we have Vienna (not Hamburg as in the case of Anders Petersen’s Café Lehmitz), a documentation of not just one but many similar small bars, often on the brink of financial disaster and destined for a subsequent demise, and patrons that derive a “good time” both from the liquid refreshments consumed as well as from a shared coexistence marked by comfort and camaraderie. As for the photographic documentation, Pichler ably demonstrates the efficacy of color for this stark documentary work, where formerly monochrome images were the standard. Color is just fine for the impact that is required for this in-your-face dramatic presentation of people tableaus and “barscapes.” The horizontal format predominates. In 2013, Doug Stockdale reviewed a previous work by Klaus Pichler that also demonstrated his eye for the unusual.

A world that is not always so observable is shown here. These small bars are mostly very funky and idiosyncratic. Their customers are depicted in various stages of inebriation and sometimes acting out or clowning for the camera – they are being themselves and sharing their special world with us. In control of themselves or not, they do not seem to feel shame to show us their definition of togetherness and belonging. As outsiders looking in on them, we marvel at their narrowly defined bit of paradise. One of the intriguing tasks for the viewer is to imagine who said what, since the quotes articulated by owners and patrons, though attributed, are not assigned to any specific individuals depicted in the picture section, but they do allow us to study a variety of insider perspectives to complement the visual documentation.

I consider this comprehensive volume a most enjoyable new classic!

Gerhard Clausing

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March 18, 2017

Lorena Endara – Ė Arenas: Nariz

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , — Gerhard Clausing @ 2:04 am

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Photographer and Designer: Lorena Endara.

Music composed, arranged, and produced by Eduardo Arenas.

Publisher:  Producciones Con Sal, Los Angeles, 2016

Stiff cover, saddle stitch binding; 32 unnumbered pages; 13 color photographs, accompanied by the corresponding song titles from the vinyl album that it accompanies; printed in Los Angeles, CA; 8.5×8.5 inches

Photography Copyright © 2016 by Lorena Endara

Notes:

A labor of love and creativity – this package of music and photography speaks of all that and more.

Eduardo Arenas, a talented composer and musician, plays a variety of instruments and sings, along with some support musicians, in a set of twelve songs that comprise this exciting innovative solo album, Ė Arenas – Nariz. The “in your face” themes reflect our time – ever searching and sometimes finding. The resulting “world fusion” music (using this term in a supportive, constructive way here) is most expressive, showing Anglo, Latin, and Brazilian influences, in the rhythms and in the lyrics as well. Outstanding sounds, a variety of unexpected pleasures, speak for the creativity of the artist. You can preview the music on this CD Baby page.

And, getting to our main focus here, his lady, Lorena Endara, worked hard during those six years as well, supporting the project, and was also inspired to create images that reflect the tenor of the musical pieces. And again, we report a distinct measure of success; instead of merely illustrating the content of the music and lyrics, the images are in themselves an interpretation of the emotional substance and context of what the music represents and engenders. In her images, she achieves a level of abstraction that allows the viewer/listener to dream and wonder. You will need to obtain the vinyl version (yay! resurgence of vinyl!) to appreciate the images, printed in a separate booklet that comes with the album; some of the double pages are reproduced below.

We are looking forward to further work from this talented team!

Gerhard Clausing

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March 13, 2017

Bronx Photo League – Jerome Ave

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Copyright 2016 Members of the Bronx Photo League

Photographers: Bronx Photo League (Bronx, NYC)

Publisher: Bronx Documentary Center Editions, Bronx, NY

Essays: Mike Kamber, Ed Murphy

Text: English & Spanish

Hardcover book, linen covers with tipped in image, sewn binding, 93 Black & white photographs, duo-tone printing with spot varnish, captions, member biographs, printed by Fort Orange Press, NY

Photobook designer: Bonnie Briant & Katie Khouri

Notes: Jerome Ave is an investigation of a community within the Bronx of New York by a group of young, budding photojournalist that have come together as the Bronx Photo League. Their purpose and intent is not all-together different from than that of the Photo League of the 1940’s; a collective of inspired photographers who want to learn their craft in conjunction with documenting the local environmental, economic and social changes that surround them.

This hard cover book is a result of one of their recent projects; attempting to document the pending changes to an area of the South Bronx. This is currently one of the city’s poorest regions, much of it situated under the elevated “4” train, a “gritty two-mile stretch of low-slung buildings where thousands of immigrants work in small stores, factories and car repair shops.”

Their focus is principally on the individuals who work and live in this small region to narrative this study, usually including some environmental context that provides clues to the working conditions, thus creating an indirect portrait of the South Bronx. It is evident to the reader that these photographers know their subjects very well by the close and tightly composed portraits, not a quick snap-shot from an impersonal distance.

The manual process of the photographic methods is also a nice metaphor for this project and their subjects who are predominantly providing manual labor to make a living. It appears that another consistent requirement for the photographers is to pay close attention to the framing of their images keeping in mind that there will be no cropping of the negative (a luxury that will come later in their photojournalistic lives).

One nice design aspect of this book that unifies this collective body of work together by the various photographers is the image/page layout; each photograph is framed by the negative’s exterior (yes, old school Tri-X film and manual processing). This design provides a consistency in the reading of the images that I think works very well to illustrate their project.

Cheers

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March 3, 2017

Carol Golemboski – Psychometry

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Copyright 2016 Carol Golemboski

Photographer: Carol Golemboski (b. Shreveport, Louisiana – resides outside Denver, CO)

Publisher: Flash Powder Projects

Essay: Shirley Jackson

Text: English

Hardcover book, embossed cover, duo-tone printing, Smyth sewn binding, captions, printed by EBS, Verona, Italy

Photobook designer: Jordan Swartz

Notes: Golemboski’s monograph of intricate manipulated photographs investigate nostalgia, loss and impermanence. The manipulated prints use an old school Black & White wet-print technique; a mask that is hand-scribe by the photographer to modify her photographic “reality” during the print making process. Her marks are a mash-up of careful delineated lines, scratches, letters, and drawings, which are similar to a digital layer mask in Photoshop. Frequently these masks are pin-registered to the printing paper to ensure precise line-up of the mask with the projected negative. A few of her intricate velum masks are included within the book in perfect alignment with the corresponding print. The effect is to lift the vale on the process that results in the final print. I find the velum’s layers as intriguing as the final print object.

Regarding the book’s title, Golemboski states “In Psychometry, arrangements of old objects in dilapidated spaces serve as metaphors for human emotions and psychological states. The term “psychometry” refers to the pseudo-science of “object reading,” a purported psychic ability to divine the history of objects through physical contact. The objects in these pictures seem haunted. They are designed to transcend their material nature and evoke the mysterious presence of past.”

Personally I have found myself  attempting “object reading” of artifacts of the past; a found photograph, family hand-me-down, or perhaps an old structure that I feel inclined to touch, as though my touch will reveal something of the object’s past. Subliminally I think Golemboski’s photographs connect with me in a similar fashion; that when gazing at her visual poems that I might actually connect with some essence just beyond my comprehension.

In turn, the viewers reading of these hand-altered photographs is as layered as the resulting images, some initially appear to be an easy read, such as Safe house, below, while others are a more complex and ambiguous. In some images the marks attempt to obscure the identity of the object or its external context while in others the marks appear to clarify, instill or attempt to add a layer of meaning. The juxtaposition of found objects with her subsequent inscribed marks creates very magical and beguiling works of photographic art.

Cheers

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February 28, 2017

LA Art Book Fair 2017

Filed under: Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:04 pm

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Copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale & Gerhard Clausing

Our report (Gerhard Clausing, Contributing Editor, and myself) from last Saturday’s LA Art Book Fair 2017. As in the past this Fair can be overwhelming and it is truly difficult to see the entire Fair in one day, least to have emphasis on just the photographic books. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with photographers, publishers and designers and discuss their recent publications. It does not help that the Fair guide book I purchased subsequently went missing. Sigh.

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Noted this year that the upper mezzanine where the photographic book focus is usually located was enlarged this year, but still not enough room for everyone, such that Nazraeli Press and a few others were still on the ground floor catacombs. I think that there are some larger traditional photobook publishers, such as MACK, that were present this year in part due to the demise of the Paris Photo LA fair, thus making the LA Art Book Fair more of the go-to for photographic book Fairs on the West coast. As a result, there was a larger and diverse group of photobook publishers and photographic groups present, such as the Russian Independent Selfpublished, AROK (Lithuania) and a larger contingent of publishers from Switzerland to name only a few.

One of the benefits of attending this Fair is looking at the broad and diverse publications and other types of art, no matter how extreme, as it provides ideas of where the pulse of published art is evolving.

Needless to say, the exhibit space was jam packed and by noon so were all of the aisles. Fortunately Gerhard & I arrived early. Slow Culture and the Deadbeat Club hosted the Fotomat for the film lovers and the food trucks met the immediate needs of the foodies.

Below is our photojournalist report of the photobook exhibit spaces where we spent some quality time at (which usually meant we acquired some photobooks!).

Cheers!

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Esther Levine with Winfried Heininger of Kodoji Press

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Tricia Gabriel & Mike Slack of the Ice Plant

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Danielle Mericle of A –Jump Books

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Russian Independent Selfpublished: Natalia Baluta, Elena Kholkina, Alla Mirovskaya

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Andrew Miksys of Arok Books

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Clint Woodside (Photobook: Undercover Cars) of Deadbeat Club

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Editions Patrick Frey featuring Klaus Pichler’s photobook

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CPress

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February 25, 2017

John Loengard – Moment By Moment

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Photographer:  John Loengard (American, born and lives in New York City)

Publisher:  Thames & Hudson, New York, NY, 2016

Hardcover book with dust jacket, sewn binding; 152 numbered pages; 135 duotone photographs, titled and captioned; name and place index; printed in China; 10.1 x 12.9 inches

Essays:  Preface by John Loengard

Text:  English

Copyright © 2016 John Loengard

Notes:  John Loengard is a photojournalist with many decades of experience. As part of his distinguished career with Life magazine and beyond, he has photographed many notables and others along the way. Thus one will find among the 135 photographs in this volume some interesting shots of singers such as the Beatles (as shown on the dust jacket) and Judy Garland, of visual artists such as Georgia O’Keefe and Annie Leibovitz, of politicians such as Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, and many others. The well-known are often shown in conjunction with less well-known individuals across various locations and times. All of the photographs are well-reproduced duotones, since Loengard considers black and white “often more convincing” than color. He sums up his approach to photography as follows: “The shutter opens briefly to let the camera marry reality to form. Their union gives the picture structure and defines the moment that lives on” (Preface).

Often Loengard captures the viewer’s attention with unusual viewpoints: he depicts the Beatles in a swimming pool, the writer Philip Roth looks away from the camera to answer the question of a visitor who is not shown, John Updike is presented in a very minimalistic fashion: his eyes look back at the viewer in the rear view mirror of a car – thus the unseen helps define that which is seen, and the less familiar casts a new light on the seemingly familiar. The captions for the images merely have the function of supplying a few words of background information, rather than to diminish the viewer’s capacity to get involved in the story told by each picture.

While one could consider this volume merely an excellent retrospective of a renowned photographer’s work, it is much more than that: it also is a compendium of many delightful surprises. Where this volume especially shines, in my opinion, is in the exquisite juxtaposition of images on double-page spreads. Below I have excerpted a few to whet your appetite; some of the intriguing combination principles, besides subject matter from different times and places, are: shapes, patterns, movements, scale, among others.

Gerhard Clausing

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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 Books, Photo Book NEWS — 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 Books, Photo Book NEWS, Photo Book Discussions — 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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