The PhotoBook Journal

December 4, 2017

Lea Habourdin – Survivalists

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_cover

Artist: Lea Habourdin (born Lille & resides Paris, FR)

Published by Fuego Books, Murcia (ES) copyright 2017

Text: English, French, Spanish

Stiff cover with French-fold over-covers, sewn & glued binding, four-color lithography, Edition size: 500, printed by Artes Graficas Palermo (ES)

Photobook designer: Jorge Fernandez Puebla

Notes: Regretfully in today’s political climate with two mentally unstable leaders of nuclear-armed military armies who are playing a stupid game of chicken (you are bigly fat…No, you are fat, really old with fake yellow hair), the potential need to know how to survive after a nuclear war is now actually plausible. Lea Habourdin’s photobook Survivalist really resonates; it taps into some of my dark feelings that I have with today’s current events. For me, her photobook hearkens back to the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960’s and the proliferation of personal fall-out shelters.

Survivalist has the essential elements of what someone might need to survive on their own. As others might point out, the very basics of a manual. Habourdin’s narrative has three chapters; the first (untitled) is the prologue, is there any imminent danger; Chapter 2 – Objects you will need to survive for three days, emergency evacuation maps, plots of land; Chapter 3 – Re-frame from melancholy.  The three groups of photographs include a series of black & white for the prologue, then in conjunction with Chapter 2 are color natural landscapes with some hand-written text and drawings (flipped on the vertical axis, thus a need for the reader to change the book’s position), and then in the Chapter 3 a mix of black & white with color while the layout orientation changes back to the original.

One small gripe about this small book’s design is the sewn pages are subsequently glued at the spine which really tightens up the binding, as observed in my interior photographs below. In addition to making the book harder to photograph (okay, my issue), there are some photographs which are two-page span with some critical content lost in the gutter due to this book binding design. I am not sure if this was planned, but one outcome of this lost content is to increase the ambiguity and mystery of these two-page spreads.

This is a dark (both in concept as well as many of the photographs) photobook in conjunction with an occasional photographs that has a bit of black humor that overall does not seem to sway my many fears.

Best regards,

Douglas

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_1

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_2

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_3

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_4

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_5

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_6

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_7

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_8

 

November 29, 2017

Interesting Photobooks of 2017 (plus a few from 2016)

Interesting_Photobooks_for_2017_covers

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.

Roger_Ballen_Ballenesque_cover

00-appa-cover.jpg

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.

00-Bronstein-Cover.jpg

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.

claire_felicie-only_the_sky_remains_untouched_cover

Claire Felicie

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

Lea_Habourdin-Survivalists_cover

Lea Habourdin

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

Ellen_Korth-CHARKOW__outer_slip-cover

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.

Andrej_Lamut_Nokturno_cover

Andrej Lamut

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

Robert_Lyons-Pictures_From_the_Next_Day_cover

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.

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_cover

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.

00-P1420733.jpg

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)

Nancy_Rexroth-IOWA_cover

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

Blog at WordPress.com.