The PhotoBook

April 21, 2016

Curatorial walk thru at Photo Book Independent

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The schedule for talks, book signings and curatorial discussions has just been posted for Photo Book Independent, a part of Photo Independent later this month in LA (Hollywood)

I am honored to have an opportunity to provide two curatorial walk-through’s to discuss the photobooks that were recently juried-in for the book competition as well as those that are being exhibited by the participating photographers.

The first curatorial walk will be held first on Friday night at 6pm just prior to the VIP opening of the exhibition space at Raleigh Studios (yes, a functioning sound stage in the midst of the film capital). The second walking discussion will be on Sunday morning at 10:30 am just prior to the opening for the general public. I am planing on an hour discussion, but be prepared, it could last a little longer depending on the questions and answers.

For the juried-in photo books, since I was part of the judging and had developed the judging process, I am planning to provide a little back-ground on the judging criteria. How did we decide which books were interesting and provocative and which did not seem to past muster and capture our attention?

The good news, my curatorial discussions are free to participate, but the space is limited and if you want to join for what I hope is an interesting, fun and informative event, you need to sign up for it NOW: http://photoindependent.com/talks-and-book-signings/

Leave a comment if you have any questions.

Cheers!

April 14, 2016

Jamey Stillings – The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar

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Copyright 2015 Jamey Stillings

Photographer: Jamey Stillings (born Springfield, MO, resides Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

Publisher: Steidl Verlag (Germany)

Essays: Jamey Stillings, Robert Redford, Anne Wilkes Tucker and Bruce Barcott

Text: English

Hardcover book with printed belly-band, sewn binding, four-color lithography, captions, line drawing, printed in Germany

Photobook designer: David Chickey

Notes: While driving north on I-15 from LA to Las Vegas and nearing the conclusion, one drives down and out of the mountain terrain towards the small city of Primm, clearly delineating California from the Nevada border. The descent provides a magnificent view of the Mojave Desert stretching out for miles ahead. As the descent continues towards Primm, there appears a strange apparition on the left out in the desert; three glowing towers amidst a field of small glowing objects. What this odd structure was mystified  me until I recently read Jamey Stillings’ photobook The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar.

In October 2010, Stillings commenced an aerial photography project over the future site of the Ivanpaph Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert of California. At the end of 2013, Ivanpaph Solar became the world’s largest concentrated solar thermal power plant with the capacity to produce 377 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power 140,000 American homes. Stillings photographs, created in a documentary style, are equally fascinating and mysterious as the site itself. Stillings oscillates, perhaps similarly to the mirrors on the site, between grand and sweeping aerial landscapes of Michael Light to the abstract expressionist of David Maisel. What results is a mix of technological and artistic contemplation.

Stillings states in his essay “While black and white represent the tonal end points of imagery in this book, shades of gray bring structure, detail, and nuance to each photograph. And while our rash obsession in contemporary culture is to embrace extreme postions, real progress lies in understanding the importance and great complexity found between these poles.”

Additional Footnote: I was part of the 2016 PhotoBook Competition jury during which we selected Stillings’ photobook The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar as one of the three Best in Show.

Cheers

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April 5, 2016

Kenneth Josephson – The Light of Coincidence

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Photographs Copyright 2016 Kenneth Josephson

Photographer: Kenneth Josephson (born Detroit, MI, resides IL, USA)

Publisher: University of Texas, Austin (USA)

Essays: Gerry Badger and Lynne Warren

Text: English

Hardcover book with dust jacket, sewn binding, four-color lithography, includes List of Plates, Chronology, Exhibition History & listing of Collections, printed in China

Photobook designer: not stated

Notes: This thick, retrospective monograph examines the photographic works of Kenneth Josephson, an early innovative conceptual photographer. Early in his career, Josephson’s photographs ran counter to Szarkowski’s MoMA (1960 – 70’s) trend towards documentary photography, during which Josephson created photographs as objects that are “made”, not taken.

As Gerry Badger states in his forward to this book; “These images may contain meanings that are primarily private and personal to their maker. However, although Kenneth Josephson exemplifies the turn inward toward a self-reflective vision that marks post-World War II photography – he was taking selfies, though very complex selfies, decades before the iPhone generation – he was also enough of an artist to look outward.”

Many of Josephson’s photographs probably will appear hauntingly familiar, probably much more recognizable than his name.  His humor and wit is an undercurrent in many of his photographs, such as a car with a white shadow, which is not uncommon sight where the sun quickly melts the snow except for that which is in the shadows. Or when he frames his own shadow (early selfie) cast over his son laying on the ground, or his outstretched arm holds a photograph to create a juxtaposition of myth/reality into his composition. Josephson warrants a second look as someone who is providing a conceptual foundation for much of the current photographic practices.

Cheers

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April 3, 2016

Judging – Photobook Independent submissions

Filed under: Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:33 pm

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2016 Photobook Independent judging panel

As I announced last month, I was added to the judging panel as a photobook specialist for the Photobook Independent book competition. The judging occurred yesterday up in Los Angeles and it was an interesting event as well as a pretty daunting task in my opinion. I can not really reveal any results yet (soon!), but I was really impressed with the quality and diversity of the book submissions.

In the photo above, left to right, is Kirk Pederson, Chris Davies, Sarah Lee, yours truly, Marissa Caichiolo, Kio Griffith, and Sarah Hadley. Not included in the photo was Rudi Bianchi.

We are now working on a schedule for me to provide a curatorial walk-thru of the winning book submissions in conjunction with the other photobooks that will be available during Photobook Independent later this month in LA. I hope to announce that shortly, so continue to stay tuned.

Cheers!

April 1, 2016

Sara J. Winston – Homesick

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Copyright 2015 Sara J. Winston

Photographer: Sara J. Winston (born & resides New York, USA)

Publisher: Zatara Press (USA)

Short Story: Ani Katz

Text: English

Stiffcover book with Wire-O binding with fold back covers, four-color lithography, printed in Richmond, VA (USA)

Photobook designer: Sara J. Winston & Andrew Fedynak

Notes: Winston’s book title hints at a state of mind and her photographs are a mix of ambiguous and telling as to a potential homesickness (Sick of Home; Sick for Home, or Sick at Home). There is evidence of underlying issues; a bunged-up cat’s head, a sea of pills on a bed, hospital probes and monitoring wires and someone working with a non-functioning clock. Winston interweaves photographs of various tussled beds indicating an uneasiness that comes from not sleeping well in conjunction with food in various states of preparation, as though nourishment (health) is pending and not complete. Something is out of kilter and as a reader, I am left with a lingering sense of things not as they should be. This narrative about mortality and the circle of life is one in which Winston regretfully plays an unexpected role.

Best regards

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March 28, 2016

The Aftermath Project – WAR is Only Half the Story – Volume VIII

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Copyright 2015 the photographers

Photographers: Philippe Dudouit (Switzerland), Olga Ingurazova (Russia), Luca Locatelli (Italy), Diana Markossian (USA), Javad Parsa (Iran)

Publisher: The Aftermath Project (USA)

Essays: Sara Terry and the photographers

Text: English

Stiff-cover book with hand stamp, sewn binding with hand applied butcher tape on the spine, four-color lithography, printed in the United States

Photobook designer: Sara Terry & Mika Toyoura Mingasson

Notes: The Mission of the Aftermath Project and their annual publication WAR is Only Half the Story, is to broaden the public’s understanding of the true cost of war the real price of peace. They believe that while stories of war must be told, war itself is the story of man’s inhumanity to man. The Aftermath Project strives to illumine what it means to be human, to explore specific stories with universal themes that affirm our common humanity – and alert us to the dangers of equating a mere end of violence with sustainable peace.

This year’s submissions resulted in the winning grant awarded to Luca Locatelli (Italy) for United Colors of War, his four part project investigating the Industry of War, the commercial infrastructure that has swelled to make war possible, and perhaps a little too profitable. Locatelle includes one part investigating the industry of training combat photographers who subsequently make a living documenting war.

This edition also provides selections from the four Finalist; Philippe Dudouit (Sahel the Dynamics of Dust), Olga Ingurazova (Scars of Indeprndence), Diana Markossian (Goodbye My Chechnya) and Javad Parsa (Moments of Freedom). Collectively, a strong narrative that affirms our common humanity and that we need to avoid war.

Cheers

 

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March 25, 2016

Tim Richmond – Last Best Hiding Place

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Copyright 2015 Tim Richmond

Photographer: Tim Richmond (born England, resides Somerset, UK)

Publisher: Kehrer Verlag (Germany)

Essay: Jorg Colberg

Text: English

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

Photobook designer: Mark Tappin (London)

Notes: Richmond’s opening one-line statement summarizes his body of work; “Places, like people, can seem alone, filled with melancholy”. As an English photographer, he investigates a version of the American West that is found in Montana, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and Colorado, perhaps chasing movie myths while facing current realities. His photographs indeed appear to be layered with melancholy; open spaces devoid of people while sparsely populated by cattle, abandoned dusty western streets, boarded up small town store-fronts, old beat-up cars and empty bars. He has found those lonely in-between places where the American West dream has seemed to fizzle and become something much less. I am left wondering about his subjects; the faceless cowboys, the old biker, the young boy and others captured in a pensive moment.

Richmond’s photographs are well made and have an objective, documentary appearance that capture the nuances of the wide open expanses in Big Sky country. As his book title implies, and his photographs tend to support, the American West is still a large, sparse and desolate space where someone can escape to and become lost, leaving all one’s past baggage behind.

Cheers

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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.

 

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