The PhotoBook

March 19, 2016

Chris Killip – In Flagrante Two

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Copyright 2015 (2016) Chris Killip

Photographer: Christopher David “Chris” Killip    (born; Douglas, Isle of Man, resides Boston, MA, USA)

Publisher: Steidl Verlag (Germany)

Essays: the book is without any essays, but does include an index of photographs at the conclusion.

Text: English

Hardcover book with dust jacket, sewn binding, four-color lithography, with index of photographs, printed in Germany

Photobook designer: Chris Killip and Victor Balko

Notes: In Flagrante Two is Steidl’s edition of Killip’s original photobook In Flagrante, which was a softcover book published in 1988 by Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd. Killip is investigating the working class neighborhood of northeast England over the duration of 1973 to 1985, a time of unrelenting economic troubles for the UK. Regretfully I have not have a copy of the original 1988 In Flagrante, but the frequent criticism of this first edition was that the horizontal two page spread design and printing lost some of the photographic content within the gutter. This large Steidl edition has each photographic image on one entire page, one printed page per spread and thus all of the photographic content is intact.

The photographs are very gray and gritty, the documentary style portrays an industrial area in a declining condition; an opening photograph of the Wallsend housing in Tyneside, cloaked in snow and at the conclusion of the book, the same advantage point during the demolition of this same housing track in Wallsend, with the bricks and rubbish littering the lane, similar to resulting the fall of Humpty Dumpty, who could not be put back together again by all of the King’s men. I should note that when corresponding with Killip, he revealed that the later photograph of the Wallsend housing demolition is one of three images that are new to the Steidl edition, which for me, makes this edition all that more compelling as a narrative of this time and place. I also note that Killip frequently photographed children who seem happy and oblivious to their dire surroundings, while the older youth and young adults appear to become very aware of their situation.

In my naivety of my English cousins, I had though In Flagrante was a reference to a region or place in northern England. Following up with Killip, he states that his book’s title is extracted from the term “In Flagrante Delicto”, a legal term meaning “caught in the act” in a sexual connotation, while In Flagrante is also caught in the act, but without a sexual connotation.

I had also read that many of the photographs of In Flagrante were made by Killip with a 4”x5”, but there was a spontaneity to the images that did not seemed to correspond to a static viewpoint of a view camera (my 4”x5” equipment assumption) on a tripod. In response to my question regarding the camera equipment he used, Killip stated that he mainly used a Linhof Technica 4”x5” hand-held which was mixed with 6×7 roll film taken on a Plaubel.

As to my question as to the overlap of his Seacoal images that are also included in In Flagrante, he responded; “I did the In Flagrante book a longtime before the Seacoal book and the Seacoal images that are in In Flagrante just seemed to fit.

Killip also states “In Flagrante Two is strident in its belief in the primacy of the photograph, embracing ambiguities and contradictions in an unadorned narrative sequence devoid of text.”

Other Chris Killip photobooks featured on The PhotoBook: Seacoal

Cheers

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March 11, 2016

Ron Jude – Lago

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Copyright 2015 Ron Jude

Photographer: Ron Jude (born Los Angeles, resides Eugene, OR, USA)

Publisher: MACK (London)

There are no essays, pagination or captions

Text: English

Hardcover book with embossed and printed linen cover, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Germany by Optimal Media

Photobook designer: Ron Jude with Grégoire Pujade-Lauraine

Notes: Although not stated in Ron Jude’s 2015 photobook Lago (Spanish for Lake), his title is a sideways reference for his subject, the Salton Sea and the surrounding Southern California desert community located not far from the Mexican border. In fact this photobook is minimalist in design; photographs only without any essays or captions, thus intending the reader to create their own narrative.

I will admit that this storied location out in the desert is not that far from my studio but its current downward spiraling conditions, both economically and environmentally, have had no appeal for me. Probably why I am a bit late to acquire and review Jude’s photobook, but I became more interested as I read other books reviews and interviews with Jude about his project.

The decaying structures, plants and isolated details appear ambiguous as to their actual location other than a place in a desert setting. When his subjects are illuminated by a warm light, this creates an emotional disparity for the dismal vision in front of Jude’s lens. Nevertheless, when his subjects are in the harsh, direct light of the cloudless desert, this seems to provide a more appropriate illumination of the found conditions. The Salton Sea due to the economic decay matched with the increasing alkalinity of the lake, has become a frequent photographic “ruin porn” destination, in line with the similar sad conditions surrounding Detroit, while I find that Jude’s photographs transcend the vast majority of photographs created at the Salton Sea. I feel that is probably due to Jude’s concept which goes beyond a documentary style project investigating failure.

Although his photographs capture some of the sad economic conditions that surround the location, once thought in the 1950’s to become another desert Palm Springs on the lake, his photographs can be read as visual metaphors for memory, hope, loss and stubborn reality. Jude stated in another interview about this project “These things you mention—the harsh light and the fishbone beaches—served as strange, almost violent embodiment’s of how difficult it is to come to terms with the gap that exists between the smooth edges of memory and the staccato nature of actual experience.”

Other Ron Jude photobooks that I have discussed on this blog in the past: Lick Creek Line, Other Nature

Cheers

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March 10, 2016

Photobook Competition update: I have been added to the judging panel

Filed under: Photo Book NEWS — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:26 pm

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PhotoBook Independent.

I am very honored, as well as excited, to announce that I have been added to the judging panel for the PhotoBook Independent phototographic book competition! So how cool is that?

I will be joining Rudi Bianchi (photographic collector), Marissa Caichiolo (Curator and Executive Director, Building Bridges Art Exchange), Chris Davis (Publisher, Fabrik Magazine), Kio Griffith (Artist, Designer, Writer, Curator), Sarah Lee (Curator) and Kirk Pederson (Publisher, Zero+Publishing). This appears to be a diverse panel, so this should be an interesting process and I am looking forward to it.

Reminder, the cut-off day for this is very quickly approaching with the published books to be delivered by March 21st (Los Angles, CA). So if you think that this is for you, please check it out and get your books in.

I am now looking forward to all of the great submissions!

Update: The submission deadline for delivering books has been extended to the end of March.

 

February 29, 2016

Ralph Gibson – Political Abstraction

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Copyright 2014 Ralph Gibson

Photographer: Ralph Gibson (born Los Angeles, resides NYC, USA)

Publisher: Lustrum Press (USA) (Distributed: University of Texas Press, Austin)

Essays: Ralph Gibson

Text: English

Hardcover book with dust cover, sewn binding, four-color lithography

Photobook designer: not stated

Notes: This is Gibson’s first stated foray into digital photography and the book is also meant to be an exhibition catalog. His vertical photographs, now incorporating color in combination with his classic black & white images, are ambiguous photographs and not unlike those of his earlier seminal photobooks Somnambulist and Deja-vu. Gibson’s current book, Political Abstraction again provides Surrealistic juxtapositions, as his stated intent is to provide photographic diptychs for the reader/viewer to compare and contrast.

The Abstraction aspect of the book’s title is somewhat easy to grasp, as his truncated photographs are simplified and ambiguous forms, lines, shapes and colors without revealing the greater context of what (or where) the subject actually is. Gibson does pull back to provide more contextual information to the female nude forms, one of his stated sources from which all shapes are derived from. In his introduction, Gibson bullet-points almost 50 definitions of what he considers Synapses, including three repetitions of the “in democratic cosmopolitan culture a book can begin or end on any page in the book”, a key element of his Political theme, thus signaling that his paired pages can stand alone and his book does not necessarily provide an overall narrative save what the reader might glean form their appraisal of his collective pairings. Gibson concludes that “the reader is the subject of this book”, an interesting, if not confounding statement, born of his Ed Ruscha/ LA generation.

Cheers

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February 26, 2016

Published Photobook Competition announced

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Recently announced Left Coast photobook competition, this one is for photobooks that have been published and the winners need to be available for sale during PhotoBook Independent at the end of April in Los Angeles. Details are as follows, and if you have a published photobook, then check it out. By the way, there does not appear to be a restriction on when your book was published; all are fair game, as long as you still have copies to sell.

2016 PHOTOBOOK COMPETITION

PhotoBook Independent announces the 2016 PhotoBook Competition. Winning books will be exhibited and for sale at PhotoBook Independent and will be featured on the Photo Independent website and in their marketing campaign.

PhotoBook Independent will again take place at the Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles April 29-May 1, 2016 together with Photo Independent.

Now in it’s 3rd year, Photo Independent weekend celebrates international photography and talented image-makers across various genres of the medium. PhotoBook Independent will include curatorial walk-throughs, book signings, artist talks and other events. This is an incredible opportunity to reach an audience of photo book lovers and collectors in Los Angeles and environs, and to have your book featured on our website, social media and other marketing platforms.

Three books from the PhotoBook Competition will be chosen as Best in Show and will be honored at the Fair.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

The PhotoBook Independent competition is open to all photographers and independent publishers in the United States and abroad.  Entrants may submit books of any size, format, or style. Submitted books may be self-published, by an on-demand service such as Blurb, Lulu, Apple Books, etc.; created by small run publishing companies; or have been hand-made/hand-bound. Dummy books and PDFs will be accepted, though actual books are preferred, so they can be offered for sale at PhotoBook Independent.

Submissions will be judged on book design, including page layouts, text, cover; strength of the photography and emotional impact of the overall book. All judging is at the complete discretion of the jurors and all decisions are final.

SUBMISSION FEE
The submission fees are as follows:

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

SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Entries must be received (in hand) no later than March 21, 2016.

Winners will be notified in early April.

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 2016
269 S. Beverly Drive, #1234
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

If you would like the book returned, you must include a pre-addressed mailing label and sufficient postage. Otherwise your book will become the property of Fabrik Media.

Winning PhotoBook photographers and publishers will have the option of sending additional books to have for sale at the fair. Winners need not be present at the Fair.

All submissions must be original works created by the submitting photographer or be submitted by a publisher who has permission to submit the work.

By entering, the photographer or publisher warrants that the submission does not infringe any third party’s rights, and that you have obtained all necessary permissions from any third party. Once entered, all Submissions are final; no changes or edits may be made to your book.

February 23, 2016

Alessandra Kila – Calabria Upon Return

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Copyright 2015 Alessandra Kila

Photographer: Alessandra Kila (born Reggio di Calabria, IT, resides: London UK)

Publisher: Paper Tiger Books (London)

Poems: Alessandra Kila

Text: English

Stiff-cover book with French folds and elastic strap closure, loose binding, concertina insert four-color off-set, printed in UK by Jigsaw Colour in a numbered addition of 300

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Photobook designer: Laura Braun

Notes: Kila’s investigating the concept of “never being able to go home again”, as that once you leave a place, perhaps even for a short while, many things are not perceived the same upon returning. A person returns with different “eyes”, the new experiences change and modifies one’s memory and the subtle day-to-day changes that once went unnoticed become very staggering in retrospect.

This small photobook has a very smart, if not brilliant design. The text is printed on a concertina insert that weaves through the interior literally and conceptually holding the loose photographs, thus the book content’s, together. A photobook that immediately captures my imagination; recommended and I hope you can obtain one, as I suspect that these will disappear fast.

Cheers, Doug

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January 29, 2016

Agnieszka Rayss – American Dream

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American Dream Copyright 2011 Agnieszka Rayss

Photographer: Agnieszka Rayss (born, resides Poland)

Publisher: Foundation Photography Institute Pro Fotografia (Poland)

Essays: Agnieszka Rayss

Text: English

Hardcover book, linen cover with foil stamping, page marker, sewn binding, four-color lithography

Photobook designer: Ania Nalecka (Tapir Book Design)

Notes: When I was asked by the editor of Emaho magazine to become the “American” expert and write about contemporary American photobooks, I took this suggestion very broadly; not only American photographers but anyone who investigates the American culture and things “American”, either directly or as to what they consider to be attributes of America. It would seem that I could accomplish and a bit qualified as I was born and raised in the American Midwest (Pennsylvania, Michigan) and lived most of adult life on or near the Pacific coast (California and Arizona) and traveling throughout Western Europe, Caribbean, Central America, Asia and Canada.

I had earlier received Agnieszka Rayss’s photobook American Dream, which at first look was interesting but it did not initially take a hold of me. Nevertheless with the “American” assignment, this was one of the many books that I had immediately thought of. This is Rayss’s investigation of one of many cultural changes to a post-communist country as it adapts to a new reality of western trends of fashion, self-appearance and modeling contests. There are definite parallels of her subjects chasing the American, if not universal, dream of stardom, wealth and beauty in the hopes of finding success and a wonderful life. Rayss begins her investigation as a documentary photographer, but over time, finds herself intrigued by this lifestyle and is soon standing in front of the judges as a willing participant. Becoming a model similar to her subjects adds another dimension to her project as someone who is looking from the inside out, not as a coolly detached observer. This book is evidenced from a feminine perspective as I sense warmth, intimacy and empathy in her photographs as someone who has walked a mile in her subject’s high-heel shoes.

Best regards

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January 26, 2016

Michele Cera – Dust

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Dust Copyright 2013 Michele Cera

Photographer: Michele Cera (born Bari, resides Rome, IT)

Publisher: Kehrer Verlag (Germany)

A conversation between Michele Cera and Francesco Zanot

Text: English

Hardcover book with tipped in image, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Germany

Photobook designer: Vincenzo Schiraldi

Notes: Cera’s urban landscapes provide a lonely setting for his subjects who frequently have their eyes hidden or averted from the photographer’s inquiring lens. His subjects are usually absorbed in some ambiguous task and seemingly caught mid-stride. His documentary style does not capture a decision moment, the point of when the action within the frame is at an apex, but more of the anti-decisive-moment, the more routine moment that his subjects appear to usually exists in.

Cheers

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January 23, 2016

Marcin Grabowiecki – Babie Lato

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Marcin Grabowieckibabie lato (Indian Summer) Copyright 2013

Photographer: Marcin Grabowiecki (born Gliwice, resides Warsaw, PL)

Published: Muzuem in Gliwicach with Czytelnai Sztuki (Poland)

Essay: Marcin Grabowiecki

Text: English & Polish

Stiff cover book, embossed cover, stab-sewn binding & string closure, edition of 300, four-color lithography, printed in Poland

Photobook designer: Marcin Grabowiecki

Notes: The subject of Grabowiecki’s babie lato (Indian Summer) is an investigation of his identity in the context of exploring the rites of a family summer’s vacation that has evolved over time. He is using his own family photographs culled from a span of over sixty years.

Grabowiecki states “Even though the photographs included in the book come from different periods, they are linked by a common, nostalgic mood. Regardless of the passage of time, we remember summer holidays in a similar way. Time influences the shape of our memories, and it doesn’t spare photographic materials, exposing their fleeting nature mercilessly.”

I am very intrigued by projects that look back at family photographs as visual fragments of events not possible for the author to have experienced. Photographs can become a  melancholy document that point to past events that once those subjects present in the photographs are no longer with us, can only lead us to speculate on what might have been. I find that looking at these, as might the reader, spins me back to my own family history and the unknown stories which are now forever lost.

The book production of 350 copies (300 numbered) borders on being an artist-book; part high production printing partnered with the stab binding and the use of the extended strings to function as a book closure. It has the appearance of a collection of prints, thus the form follows function creating a very nice book object. Well done and on my list of interesting photobooks in 2014.

Recommended!

Best regards

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January 15, 2016

LA Art Book Fair – coming soon to SoCal

The LA Art Book Fair will again be at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA and will be another delightful maze of rooms with amazing displays of photobook and zines. This event has always been punctuated with some wonderful finds for me.

From Printed Matter:

Printed Matter presents the fourth annual LA Art Book Fair, from February 12 through 14, 2016, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Downtown LA. A ticketed preview will take place on Thursday, February 11, 6-9PM.

Free (another aspect of this event that I love) and open to the public, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is a (very) unique event for artists’ books, catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by more than 300 presses, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers from over 20 countries.

The LA Art Book Fair is the companion fair to the NY Art Book Fair, held every fall in New York City. Over 35,000 artists, book buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, independent publishers, and other enthusiasts attended the NY Art Book Fair in 2015.

A full list of this year’s exhibitors can be found here.

Highly recommended for those who love photobooks and zines on living (or visiting) the Left Coast.

Cheers!

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