Copyright 2014 Diane Vincent
Photographer: Diane Vincent (born East Germany, resides Berlin, Germany)
Without pagination, captions or essay
Text: English (title is German, English translation: Over)
Stiff-cover book, printed dust-cover with hand sewn binding, black and white lithography, printed in Germany (Bookfactory, Bad Munder)
Editing: Diane Vincent and Paul Gaffney
Photobook designer: Diane Vincent
Notes: Diane’s unusual subject is one that most architects probably abhor, the roof tops of large buildings. This is the place where all of the necessary equipment and infrastructure that supports the buildings operation is situated. Roof tops are the usually the eye-sores of owners and tenets, who do their best in an attempt to hide the industrial equipment, as this is not usually a pretty site (pun intended). Although sometimes, this is a place that can with a lot of care become an oasis. If we were to stay at a hotel with this being the viewpoint out our window, we are apt to want to relocate to a room almost anywhere else in the hotel. She examines this universal industrial landscape with an impartial eye using a black & white documentary style. Industry design is about efficiency of the running of pipes on top of flat sheets of tar paper roofs. In her hands, this same landscape takes on an abstract expressionist quality. It was this same quality that captured the imagination of the Modernist photographers in the 1930’s, like Edward Weston and Charles Sheeler. Her graphic photographs become a tantalizing myriad of gray masses with bisecting lines and overlapping shapes.
Okay, this is where I admit that I have an industrial design degree and I completed a brief stint being responsible for the maintenance of a similar roof top industrial landscape a long time ago. Perhaps a reason that this body of work resonates with me.
Copyright 2014 Catherine Leutenegger
Photographer: Catherine Leutenegger (born & resides in Switzerland)
Publisher: Kehrer Verlag (Germany)
Essays: Catherine Leutenegger, A.D. Coleman, Joerg Bader, and Urs Stahel
Text: English & French
Hardcover book with printed paper belly-band, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Germany
Photobook designer: Chris Gautschi
Notes: In this documentary style investigation of a US city that has been economically hit hard due to a global shift in technology, which is all that more poignant for photographers, as this city is Rochester, NY, aka Kodak City. The digitization of photography probably has not had more of negative impact (pun intended) than on Kodak, a company that has recently lived through bankruptcy, and all of those who depended on it for their livelihood. Of course the irony is that scientist at Kodak created the digital technology in the mid-1970’s, but they were so welded to film, paper and chemicals, that the Kodak executives keep this novel technology hidden under the covers until it was too late. Leutenegger started her project in 2007 when the photographic wind had already shifted, then returned back again in 2012 to observe the lingering effects. Thus this is also a photobook project that investigates the process of photography and asks open ended questions of what is next for image making.
Copyright 2015 Aapo Huhta
Photographer: Aapo Huhta (born & resides Finland)
Publisher: Kehrer Verlag (Germany)
Essay: Jenny Hollowell
Hardcover book, folded text insert, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Germany
Photobook designer: Aapo Huhta & Heikki Kaski
Notes: The context of Huhta photographs is ambiguous, obviously investigating a stark, urban landscape, although stated to be New York City; it could be any large megapolis. The photographs are almost monochromatic, usually devoid of any color, providing an overall somber grayness to this place. In the process of investigating a place, Huhta finds haunting touchstones that speak to the potential isolation and disassociation that can linger in a crowded, yet foreign, urban space.
Copyright 2015 Goran Bertok
Photographer: Goran Bertok (born and resides in Slovenia)
Publisher: The Angry Bat (Slovenia)
Interview: Andraz Gombac
Text: English (insert)
Two stiffcover books in a stiffcover folder, self-bound Japanese binding, four-color lithography, printed in Slovenia
Photobook designer: Matej Sitar
Notes: Bertok investigates a very dark subject; death. Thus he is also tapping into man’s darkest fears of pain, agony and the final consequences of life. In the Western culture, the unsettling and morbid facts of death are hidden behind the doors of mortuaries. The resulting two-part book is a disturbing set of photographs, leaving us to contemplate the final end.
John Gossage copyright 2010 courtesy Steidl
Photographer: John Gossage (born New York City, resides Washington DC)
Publisher: Steidl Verlag (Germany)
Essays: John Gossage, Gerhard Steidl
Two companion volumes, hardcover book with reversible dust cover (The Thirty Two Inch Ruler on one side, Map of Babylon on the opposing), sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Germany
Photobook designer: Steidl works
Notes: The two volumes were conceived during the presidency of George W. Bush and Gossage’s primary subject is a Washington DC suburb where he lives, but this same area is a guarded community of foreign embassies and political residencies. Gossage’s metaphoric images provide a subtle and complex dark humor.
Copyright 2009 Max Pam
Photographer: Max Pam (born Melbourne, resides in Australia)
Publisher: T&G Publishing, Sydney, Australia
Essays: Max Pam, Stephen Muecke
Text: English (primarily)
Hardcover book with dust jacket with one fold-out, sewn binding, four-color lithography, Index of Plates, printed & bound in Taiwan
Photobook designer: Gianni Frinzi
Notes: This photobook is a compilation of eight travel journals (artist books) created by Pam, beginning with Pam’s Karakoram (2006) and shifting back through the decades to his first journals created in 1970. The journals map through a wonderful mixture of texts, photographs, paintings and marks on paper his engagement and interactions with the cultures he has traveled through. The development of his journalist process provides a platform for his own development as a photographer, writer and as an artist. Recommended
Other Max Pam photobook reviews: Max Pam – Ramadan in Yehmen (Editions Bessard)
Book Award: Best Photography Book of the Year, International Category, PhotoEspana (2010)
Note: This reviewed photobook is part of a limited edition set with custom illustrated box (bottom image below) and signed/numbered silver gelatin print (top image below)
Copyright 2014 the estate of Aaron Siskind
Photographer: Aaron Siskind (1903 – 1991) USA
Publisher: University of Texas Press, Austin (TX) (first published by Editions Hazan, Paris, 2014)
Essays: Charles Traub, Gilles Mora
Hardcover book with dust jacket, sewn binding, four-color lithography, Chronology, Bibliography, List of Photographs, printed in Italy
Photobook designer: Nicolas Hubert
Notes: A photographer who first came into recognition for his documentary photographs of NYC as part of Photo League. Siskind then evolved into one of the ground breaking and subsequent prominent photographers making the conceptual leap into Abstraction and his close friendship with Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell. He viewed photography as a visual language of signs, metaphors and symbols as the equivalent of poetry and music.
Copyright 2014 Dragana Jursic
Photographer: Dragana Jursic (b. Yugoslavia, resides Ireland)
Publisher: Oonagh Young gallery
Essay: Dragana Jursic
Hardcover book, sewn binding, four-color lithography, with captions (Rebecca West/Dragana Jurisic), printed in Luxembourg
Photobook designer: Oonagh Young
Notes: Jursic documents her journey, retracing the steps of Rebecca West’s 1937 novel Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, through what was Yugoslavia, where she was born, but a “country” which no longer exists; a poignant mashup of memory and identity. Recommended.
Copyright 2014 the estate of Minor White
Photographer: Minor White (1908 – 1976 USA)
Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Essay: Paul Martineau
Hardcover book, sewn binding, four-color lithography, list of plates, pagination and captions, printed in China
Photobook designer: Jeffrey Cohen
Notes: A beautifully printed retrospective monograph, which also functions as an exhibition catalog, of a modern photographer who was a creative photographic innovator, poet, teacher and one of the co-founders as well as the first editor of Aperture magazine. Known for his spirituality and equivalence inspired photographs. Note: this extensive and well-illustrated monograph contains only White’s black and white photographs and does not contain any of his later color photographs.
Copyright 2015 Lori Vrba
Photographer: Lori Vrba (born Texas, resides North Carolina (USA))
Publisher: Daylight Books
Essay: Del Zogg
Hardcover book, sewn binding, Index of Plates, four-color lithography, printed & bound in China
Photobook designer: Ursula Damm
Notes: A delightful book filled with dreamlike black & white toned photographs that investigate memory and identify. (Extracted from the publisher); Vrba’s meticulously composed photographs are packed with symbolism drawn from art, folklore, mythology and biblical references. He subjects are actors performing parts in a series of dreamlike vignettes that tell universal stories of love, loss and the passage of time, and examine the simultaneous joy and pain of motherhood, love and being an artist. very nice.