The PhotoBook Journal

June 9, 2018

Ellen Korth – Fabric of Time

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Artist: Ellen Korth (b. The Hague, Netherlands – resides Deventer (Netherlands) & Nordhorn (Germany)

Self-Published 2018 and developed in collaboration with Castle (Kasteel) Twickel (Netherlands) (see exhibition photo below), signed and numbered Edition of 50

Text: English

Poetry: Pablo Nerudo

Stiff cover, rolled, artist printed on 14-gram Japanese Awagami double-layered paper, and then bottom layer removed, Japanese binding by Fopma Wier/Wytze Fopma

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Photobook designer: -SYB- (Sybren Kuiper)

Notes: Family mysteries and family secrets, how does one investigate these and then subsequently report their findings? What if there is no collaboration; those who could speak to what occurred are no longer among us, then how does one know really with certainty what the “truth”, a slippery slope at best, might be?

Ellen Korth is continuing to investigate into what might be her family history. With this latest work, a layered translucent artist book, she provides a wonderful metaphor for memory while attempting to deal with her mother’s desire to keep her own past a secret.

Her subject are garments that are from a wardrobe collection at the Castle (Kasteel) Twickel, which are reminiscent of her mother’s under clothes that constitute very personal feminine items. It is by looking closely at these personal items similar to those her mother choose to spend much time in cleaning and preparing, Korth might find some understanding or make a connection with the secrets of her late mother’s past that she was reluctant to share.

Perhaps fitting that Korth is investigating undergarments in a quest to further understand here own mother, as these items are things that a woman would keep secret, as these are concealed under her clothing. Metaphorically clothing is a facade, meant to hide what resides underneath, while the undergarments create both exterior form as well as concealing the person’s full identity. A facade is a false front, projecting something that one might want others to think they know and with Korth’s own mother, not allowing others to know the true person who lurks within.

Likewise utilizing the thin translucent Japanese Awagami paper to print her book, Korth layers her subjects, allowing one to see thru the ghostly layers.  Nevertheless these layered pages, without providing a clear and sharp definition, are visually representing various attributes of a murky and unknown memory.

Other photobook by Ellen Korth featured on The PhotoBook Journal: CHARKOW 

Cheers

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November 29, 2017

Interesting Photobooks of 2017 (plus a few from 2016)

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Interesting Photobooks of 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

As in years past, we have been providing a short list of photobooks we have found interesting, whether it was the photographic content, concept of the project, the book’s design or production qualities; and most interesting when it was a delightful combination of all of these book elements.

For our editorial team selection we limited ourselves to the photobooks we received with time to really evaluate the book object in its entirety. I have readily admitted in the past we do not have access to read and study every photobook that was published during the year, thus our list is not meant to be inclusive as there are a great many other interesting photobooks that were published this year. Our list may not be the “Best” photobooks of 2017, but rather we have selected some of the more interesting photobooks for your consideration. In a couple of cases, we have included books that were published in late 2016 that have come to our attention this year.

We have published commentaries for most of these, which are linked-up. It is our intent to publish commentaries for the remaining photobooks shortly. So in alphabetic order:

Roger Ballen, Ballenesque, Thames & Hudson, 2017, a really interesting retrospective of Ballen’s creative body of work, also The Theatre of Apparitions, Thames & Hudson, 2016 (we did not see this until early this year); An astute personal investigation of the mind against intercultural backgrounds.

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Roger Ballen

 

Paula Bronstein, Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear, University of Texas Press, 2016; a long term photo-documentary project about the on-going social impact of war in Afghanistan.

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Paula Bronstein

 

Claire Felicie, Only the Sky Remains Untouched, Self-published, 2016; provides an intriguing layered visual design that creatively investigates the concepts of lingering trauma after warfare.

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Claire Felicie

 

Lea Habourdin, Survivalists, Fuego Books, 2017; an intriguing book design that investigates a concept about personal/cultural survival. (Review pending)

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Lea Habourdin

 

Ellen Korth, CHARKOW, Self-published, 2016; presenting difficult parts of a personal history using a very innovative set of books.

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Ellen Korth

 

Andrej Lamut, Nokturno, The Angry Bat, 2017; a dark and moody investigation which provides an interesting environment to explore a diverse range of metaphoric potentials.

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Andrej Lamut

 

Robert Lyons, Pictures From the Next Day, Zatara Press; An introspective project that explores aging, personal relationships and American culture. (Review pending)

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Robert Lyons

 

Tymon Markowski, Flow, Self-published, 2017; a great utilization of a book design that captures the essence of photo-documentary project’s investigation of a region.

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Tymon Markowski

 

Duane Michals, Portraits, Thames & Hudson, 2017; a retrospective of his portrait work in the context of his trademark, if not iconic, creative storytelling.

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Duane Michals

 

Nancy Rexroth, IOWA, University of Texas Press, 2017 (first edition, self-published, 1977); an updated and re-edited edition of this fine art photobook “classic”, which still maintains its artistic vitality. (Review pending)

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Nancy Rexroth

 

Douglas Stockdale, Bluewater Shore, self-published, 2017; (A little bit of personal bias) Exploring American culture and family as well in part for its production merit as it is the first photo book that was printed with a duotone (black & white) digital lithography printing process.

Bluewarter Shore artist book

Cheers!

Douglas & Gerhard

April 20, 2017

Ellen Korth – CHARKOW

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Photographer: Ellen Korth, (b. The Hague, Netherlands – resides Deventer (Netherlands) & Nordhorn (Germany)

Publisher: Self-published, Deventer (Netherlands), copyright 2016

Interviews by: Ellen Korth, Sybren Kuiper

Text: Netherlands, English & German

Seven (7) Stiff-cover books in slip-case, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed by Fine Books Weesp (Jos Morree) in Netherlands

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Photobook designer: Sybren Kuiper ( -SYB- )

Lithographer: Colour & Books (Sebastiaan Hanekroot)

Notes: Ellen Korth’s CHARKOW photobook is a very layered and complex set of photobooks, both physically and in her narrative, in part similar to and driven by her mysterious and complex past. Essentially this is an investigation of the question of what constitutes “home”?

It is a collection of short visual stories that delves into the subject for each person or couple as to what is “home” (where their heart is) for them? Perhaps for Korth in attempting to understand how others sense “home”, it might be a therapeutic process for her to deal her own feelings of belonging. It appears to me that this photobook also investigate a related and equally beguiling question; how deep must one’s roots be to feel “grounded”?

Each of the thin books create a fascinating visual metaphor; as each successive full-bleed photograph becomes smaller, the outer framing of the previous photographs can be read as a background border to create a complex, layered environmental context for the developing narrative. The unbalanced trim of each page spread adds to the visual layering effect. Once at the center of each book, it is difficult to read the photographic spread, the only image with a small white margin, without noticing the Kaleidoscopic background framing that reminds the reader about how complex a person’s story might be. A wonderful analogy to the layering of skins surrounding an onion and the effort to peel each layer to get closer to the central heart. The reader imagines that that they are slowly delving deeper into the layers of her subject’s life to get at the core of who they might be as it relates to being “home”. Both visual tantalizing and emotionally elusive.

For Korth, her personal story is cloaked in dark secrets and a sense of loss as to her family history. This may be in part as a result of her mother’s need for secrecy since fleeing from Charkow (Kharkov) during the absolute terror and chaos of the German invasion during WWII. Korth is dealing with the issues of an incomplete and hidden past and perhaps the unanswerable questions of how to resolve those feelings.

Highly Recommended! My basis: I was one of the jurist for the International Photo Book Competition sponsored by Photo Independent and I was absolutely blown away by this brilliant photobook and immediately knew that I had to provide this to the readers of The PhotoBook Journal. Oh, it also won the photobook competition as well.

Update: CHARKOW was a finalist in the first (2017) Lucie Photo Book Prize.

Cheers!

Douglas Stockdale

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April 11, 2017

International Photobook Competition 2017 – The Results!

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Douglas Stockdale, Sarah Hadley & Chris Davies photo 2017 copyright by Marissa Caichiolo

I was very honored to be a jurist for a second time of the International Photobook Competition. which is sponsored by Photo Independent. The selected photographic books will be featured as part of Photobook Independent during the same event in Los Angeles later this month.

From the press release: Los Angeles, Calif. (April 3, 2017) – Photo Independent announces the winners of the 2017 International Photobook Awards. The competition received photobooks from 16 countries. The judges selected six books as Best in Show, three self-published/handmade photobooks and three published photobooks.

Self-Published/Handmade photo books include:

Ellen Korth, Netherlands: Charkow 

Claire Felicie, Netherlands: Only The Sky Remains Untouched

Frank Hamrick, USA: Harder Than Writing a Good Haiku

Published photo books include:

Manca Juvan, Slovenia: Guardians of the SpoonZalobzba ZRC / ZRC Publishing

Stanislav Briza, Czech Republic: Hitchhike — BFLMPSVZ

Susan Burnstine, USA: Absence of BeingDamiani

Honorable Mentions were also awarded to:

Jason Paul Reimer, USA: 197 — Dummy Book

Shane Lavalette, USA: One Sun, One Shadow Self-Published

Xiomara Bender, Switzerland: North Korea, The Power of Dreams — Kehrer Verlag

Steve Diet Goedde, USA: Arrangements -Volume III | 2007-2015 — Century Guild

The Best in Show photobooks, as well as the Four Honorable Mentions will be exhibited and available for purchase during Photo Independent, April 21-23, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo Independent location: The REEF, DTLA (Down Town Los Angeles), 1933 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90007

General Fair Hours: Saturday, April 22, 11am–7pm & Sunday, April 23, 11am–6pm

A number of the winners of this competition have been previously featured on The PhotoBook (links are provided, above) while I have noted the photographers and their photobook which have reviews that are still in process. So more to come, stay tuned!

The competition judging panel had a slight change and included (in addition to me):

  • Marisa Caichiolo, Curator and Executive Director, Building Bridges Art Exchange
  • Chris Davies, Publisher, Fabrik Magazine
  • Sarah Hadlee, Independent Curator and Founder of the Filter Photo Festival
  • Sarah Lee, Curator
  • Douglas Stockdale, Photographer, Book Artist, Educator, Editor/Founder The PhotoBook Journal

This was a really interesting and wonderful opportunity to review a broad and diverse group of photobooks. I feel fortunate to be able to get a strong pulse of what is happening in the greater photo book community.

Congratulations to those photographers whose books were juried in!

Cheers!

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