The PhotoBook Journal

May 5, 2017

Manca Juvan – Guardians of the Spoon

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Books — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:27 pm

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_cover

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_slip_cover

Photographer: Manca Juvan (b. & resides Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Publisher: ZRC Publishing

Essays: Manca Juvan, Sasa Petejan, Urska Strle

Text: English (Slovene e-book edition is available)

Hardcover book with slip-cover, ring binding, four-color lithography, split pages, Fascist internment timeline, printed at optimal media, Germany

Photobook designer: Prapesa (Sara Badovinac & Peter Zabret)

Notes: The opening photographs are dark with each succeeding photograph allowing more light to illuminate and reveal a bit more tantalizing information about the unfolding landscape. This visual metaphor for secrets and concealed information becomes more apparent as the viewer confronts portraits and personal testimonies of events that occurred during WWII (1939 – 1943) by the Italian Fascist. Probably for political reasons and since the Italian Fascist camps were not as horrific as the Germany Nazi counterparts, these camp sites and the events that took place are not well known.

From the authors regarding the concept of this book; “Acknowledgement of Italian war crimes in the larger international context today, is as uncommon as it is inconsistent. Indeed a survey of various references and encyclopedias rarely turns up any mention whatsoever of the many Italian concentration camps that served as instruments of political and racial persecution. While the most notorious Nazi camps have become widely embedded in popular culture and our collective imagination, history has little if anything to say about the Italian Fascist camps.

Juvan’s photobook was a recent winner of the Photo Independent International Photo Book Competition that I was a jurist for. I was immediately taken by the four elements we use as criteria to evaluate the book submissions; photography, project concept execution, book design and book production. One design element I found brilliant was within the body of the book, most of the interior pages are horizontally split, which allows the reader to change and modify the sequencing and pairing of the page spreads, thus the narrative. This book design is an excellent physical metaphor relating to the fragmentation of memory, that memory can be incomplete and jumbled with time. Likewise, this book design speaks to ability to alter facts and change meanings.

Juvan has confronted an uncomfortable subject and with the current political turmoil in the world, I feel that it is a danger that we must continue to remind ourselves about and guard ourselves against. Recommended

Other book review we featured for Manca Juvan, Unordinary Lives – Afghanistan

Cheers

Douglas

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_1

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_2

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_3

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_4

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_5

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_6

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_7

Manca_Juvan-Guardians_of_the_Spoon_8

 

April 11, 2017

International Photobook Competition 2017 – The Results!

Marisa Caichioio - photobook competition judges Douglas Stockdale - Sarah Hadley - Chris Davies_1000px

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!

Susan_Burnstine-Absence_of_Being_cover

claire_felicie-only_the_sky_remains_untouched_cover

May 30, 2013

Manca Juvan – Unordinary Lives – Afghanistan

Unordinary_Lives_slipcover

Unordinary_Lives_cover

Copyright 2012 the photographer, Manca Juvan published by Sanje Publishing

In the United States, the nation of Afghanistan has come to symbolize a weary drawn out war with nightly TV combat clips of the destruction and an endless roll call of the latest military casualties. I think we have become emotionally deaden to the human suffering of what it means to live in conditions of continuous combat and danger.

As a counter-balance to the ongoing images of the Afghan war, Manca Juvan provides the reader with an emotional alternative, perhaps at times only a little less dark.  Her documentary photographic project of this ravaged region spans six years, from 2003 to 2009. Juvan’s investigation is segmented into the following sections: Forgotten, Threat, Privileged, Supporting, Living, Home and Unveiled.

Her natural light photographs are intimate  and captured from a tight and close perspective. She is not photographing her subjects from a far, but rather in their midst. Close and personal. It appears that Juvan has first created trusting relationships with her subjects, who then allow their private lives to be investigated and revealed. As I think about the making of the photographs for this photobook, I suspect that this is a difficult region for a women photographer to work, with the prejudice against women I hear so often about. Thus this body of work that Juvan has compiled is amazing.

The last photographic page spread below is one of those that continues to stay with me. This photobook is comprised mostly of color photographs and as I paged through the book during my first reading, I fully expected that this documentary would be entirely in color. Then the surprise of finding one small section of Black & White images that were toward the end of the book. These photographs have a slightly different read, a little more abstract and graphic. This particular portrait of a woman, below, is minimalistic, a hand, a gesture, and a small part of face reflected in the mirror, while yet telling about her past in the counting down of the days. I find it stunning.

While reading this book, I am reminded of the equally sensitive documentary photographic work of Rania Matar’s “Ordinary Lives”. Both photographers focus mostly on the women and children who appear to be trying to survive in a state of turmoil. They have a shared and unique feminine perspective. Perhaps a common and shared thread between these two women photographers is their ability to symbolize our humanity in the face of adversity and our relentless sense of hope, where perhaps there should not be any.

The book object is an elegant embossed hardcover book within a printed slipcase. The color photographic plates are numbered and captioned and the facing pages interspersed with quotes from the subjects as well as from Afghanistan writers and poets. The Afterwords’ are written by Clare Lockhart and Karim Merchant and the photobook design is by Bostjan Pavletic.

Note: for the embossed cover, above, there are some interesting & ever slight blue artifacts in my cover photograph which are not present on the book boards, so please disregard them. The book cover is in fact a solid dark brown.

Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook

Manca_Juvan_Unordinary_Lives_1

Manca_Juvan_Unordinary_Lives_2

Manca_Juvan_Unordinary_Lives_3

Manca_Juvan_Unordinary_Lives_4

Manca_Juvan_Unordinary_Lives_5

Manca_Juvan_Unordinary_Lives_6

Manca_Juvan_Unordinary_Lives_7

Blog at WordPress.com.