Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In Our Nature.

In Our Nature. Photographs by Takashi Homma. Super Labo, 2011. 64pp., illustrated throughout, 14,9x21,6cm. Limited edition of 700.

Book description:

" 'Nature' is also the word for 'true character of humans and animals'.

In a sense, the nature in this world of photograph is not pure nature, it makes you feel a sign of life from somewhere."

I've previously featured the books New Documentary and Vedove/Widows with work by Takashi Homma.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Rodarte. Photographs by Catherine Opie and Alec Soth. Contributions by John Kelsey, Kate Mulleavy and Laura Mulleavy. JRP|Ringier, 2011. 176 pp., illustrated throughout, 21,5x28cm. Limited edition. Images from here.

I'm a huge fan of Rodarte and the Mulleavy sisters, as well as artist Alec Soth and his Little Brown Mushroom Books (more here, here, here) so this book is pretty much as excellent as it gets!

Book description:

"California Condors, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, Japanese horror films, and Gordon Matta-Clark have served as some of the various influences that make up the daring world of Rodarte.

In only five years, Rodarte has upended the fashion scene, bringing Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind Rodarte, to the forefront of the discussion about contemporary design and visual culture.

This is the first publication to examine the fashion design work and conceptual world of Rodarte. This volume is created in collaboration with two of the art world's most sought-after and highly acclaimed photographers, Catherine Opie and Alec Soth.

Each photographer, in collaboration with Kate and Laura Mulleavy, has developed an entirely new body of work specifically for the book, examining various facets of Rodarte's creative spectrum. An additional 16-pages inlay with John Kelsey's essay is inserted in the book.

Kate and Laura, who live and work between downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, California, were educated at the University of California at Berkeley and have consistently brought their love of nature, film, art, and science to bear in their unconventional and exquisitely crafted collections for Rodarte.

Burning, sanding, dyeing, knitting, twisting, staining, and weaving are some of the many complex techniques that have entered into the Rodarte textural vocabulary.

Kate and Laura's past collaborations with artists, actors, musicians, and writers such as Miranda July, Ryan McGinley, Autumn de Wilde, Ari Marcopoulos, and Natalie Portman have set them apart since the beginning of their career."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Anemic Cinema

Anemic Cinema (1926) by Marcel Duchamp. Source.

"This characteristically dada film by Marcel Duchamp consists of a series of visual and verbal puns with nonsense phrases inscribed around rotating spiral patterns, creating an almost hypnotic effect. Silent." (read more here)

Hurricane tracker here, info here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Patterns in Graphics.

Patterns in Graphics: Poster, package, DM, shop tool and more. PIE Books, 2011. 160pp., illustrated throughout, 28,6×23cm.

'Patterns in Graphics' holds a number of examples of contemporary patterns: flowers, plants, geometric shapes, waves, dots and more, used in graphic design for a wide range of uses, such as shop displays, advertising, packaging, books, etc.

In addition to the graphic design it also includes shop interior designs in which particular patterns contributes to creating the identity of the space.

It features pattern examples for each spread as a reference.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alphabet of Spiritual Emptiness. Books on Books #10.

Alphabet of Spiritual Emptiness. Books on Books #10. Photographs by Zdenek Tmej. Essays by Vladimir Birgus, Alexandra Urbanova, Jeffrey Ladd. errata editions, 2011. 172 pp., illustrated throughout, 9,5x7".

I really like errata editions' books on books-series and have previously featured this and this book from the series.

Book description:

" 'Zdenek Tmej's Abeceda Dusevniho Prazdna' ('The Alphabet of Spiritual Emptiness') published in 1946 enables a rare look, from a captive's perspective, inside a Nazi forced labor camp in Breslau, Poland during World War II.

It is remarkable that Tmej, a Czech citizen made to work for the Nazi war effort for three years, was allowed to photograph at all, let alone describe the psychological stasis of his experience with the poetic voice that these portraits and still-lifes convey.

Books on Books #10 presents every page spread from this extremely rare and fragile document including the original texts by Alexandra Urbanova translated for the first time into English."

Monday, August 22, 2011

This Is War! Robert Capa Photographs, 1936–1945.

This Is War! Robert Capa Photographs, 1936-1945. Photographs by Robert Capa. Foreword by Willis E. Hartshorn, text by Richard Whelan. Steidl, 2007. 300 pp., illustrated throughout, 25x28 cm. Images from here.

We have a world of war...

Book description:

"At the heart of Robert Capa’s lifework are his great images of war.

This book examines in detail six of Capa’s most important war reportages from the first half of his career: the Falling Soldier (1936), Chinese resistance to the Japanese invasion (1938), the end of the Spanish Civil War in Catalonia (November 1938 - January 1939), D-day (1944), the U.S. paratroop invasion of Germany (March 1945), and the liberation of Leipzig (April 1945).

In connection with the last of those stories will be consideration of why Capa did not photograph the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, together with the revelation of his photographs from Auschwitz and Birkenau in 1948. A chapter will be devoted to each of the reportages, with extensive historical and biographical text from Richard Whelan’s thorough revision and enlargement of his definitive biography of Capa, first published in 1985. Each section will be profusely illustrated by largely unseen original materials such as vintage prints, contact sheets, caption sheets, letters, and magazine layouts, all drawn from the vast Robert Capa Archive at the International Center of Photography.

The book’s introduction will be a major essay by Whelan about Capa and the rise of the picture press in Europe and America."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Suburbia Mexicana.

Suburbia Mexicana. Photographs by Alejandro Cartagena. Photolucida/Daylight, 2011. 108 pp., illustrated throughout. Images from here.

Book description:

"Alejandro Cartagena photographs the particularities of the suburbs of Monterrey, Mexico which are relatively new and often hastily built, reflecting a general disregard for planning.

Over the years, various governmental policies resulted in new, decentralized cities with limited infrastructures where the pursuit of immediate financial gain trumped any interest in sustainability.

Cartagena captures both the destruction that rapid urbanization has imposed on the landscape and the phenomenon of densely packed housing. He takes pictures of dried-up river beds that attest to the water misallocation and depletion brought about by the construction, and he depicts perpetual rows of tiny houses slicing directly into the foothills of the picturesque mountains that surround Monterrey. Only the landscape appears capable of limiting their proliferation, the mountains and rivers the only forces able to contain their sprawl.

Ultimately Cartagena documents the chaos and destruction that result from scant or misguided urban planning. He lives in downtown Monterrey, and he cares deeply about its land, its people, and its future.

Understanding that overdevelopment is not just a local problem, he works hard as an artist to share his photographs as one clear plea for responsible, sustainable development in a rapidly changing world."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Leafing.... Four Decades of Artists’ Books and Magazines in Spain.

Leafing.... Four Decades of Artists’ Books and Magazines in Spain. Edited by Diego Ortiz with contributions from José Arturo Rodríguez Núñez, Rocío Gracia Ipiña and Pepe Murciego. SEACEX, 2008. 272 pp., illustrated throughout, 6¾x9". Images from here.

Book description:

"The sixties provided a special new way of seeing books, which were recognized as an artistic medium of incomparable effectiveness for reaching the most recondite places, and gaining independence from the traditional channels of distribution of works of art.

This project is an overview of the books and magazines by Spanish artists produced from the 60s to today’s boom, showing the wealth of a largely unknown cultural heritage."

Read more about the exhibition that accompanied the publication of this book in 2008 here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Södrakull Frösakull.

Södrakull Frösakull. By Mikael Olsson. Text by Beatriz Colomina, Hans Irrek and Helena Mattsson. Steidl & Partners, 2011. 208 pp., illustrated throughout, 26x25 cm.

Feeling a bit Swedish this morning...

Book description:

"This book explores the heritage of Bruno Mathsson, one of Swedish modernism’s leading designers, through two of his architectural works.

In Frösakull - a house that Mathsson both designed and lived in - Mikael Olsson invaded, colonised and interacted with the remains of the house.

In Södrakull, on the other hand - a second house that Mathsson designed and lived in - Olsson acted like a Peeping Tom, sneaking around the exterior of the house with his camera.

This unethical method of trespassing a private space reveals something even more unethical, namely the fact that nobody, not even the Bruno Mathsson firm, took care of his property after his death.

Frösakull was later sold, fixtures, furniture and other possessions included, while Södrakull was refurbished and turned into a glossy and artificial space.

In 'Södrakull Frösakull' Mikael Olsson has created a phenomenological interplay between presence and absence, inner meaning and outer representation, turning the very notion of the human gaze inside out."

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Tree of Night.

A Tree of Night. Photographs by Tomoko Imai. Match and Company Co. LTD, 2010. 24 pp., illustrated throughout, 25,7×18,2cm. Images from here.

In his work Japanese photographer Tomoki Imai uses a 4x5 format camera with a tripod. 'A Tree of Night' is made up of 24 photographs taken using 35mm film.

Amongst the images we see an obsolete cafe, a water fountain in a park, a couple at a street crossing, a white bird in a cage. 8 pages are in braille (white on white), which are reproduced from a braille edition of Truman Capote's short story 'A Tree of Night' (from which this photo book also takes its' name).

The aim with the book is to try to understand and comprehend the world of a blind person from a compassionate standpoint, using the medium of photography.

"The photographer chose the subjects in deep quest of answers. [...] The journey of Imai between visible and invisible makes feel us everlasting loneliness in a labyrinth beautifully."

source for quote and information here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soviet Posters: The Sergo Grigorian Collection.

Soviet Posters: The Sergo Grigorian Collection. By Maria Lafont. Prestel, 2007. 285pp., illustrated throughout, 23,9x20,2 cm. Images from here.

Book description:

"Dating from 1917 to the end of the Cold War, the posters in this book feature the work of such major Russian groundbreaking avant-garde designers as El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko as well as extraordinary works by lesser known artists.

Presented in full color, the 250 posters gathered here range in themes from warnings about the dangers of alcohol abuse and the creeping Nazi menace to illustrations of utopian harmony and the Soviet industrial machine.

A brief illustrated introduction offers a chronological overview of the period that produced such eloquent art, which has long been a major source of inspiration to artists and designers."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hackney Wick.

Hackney Wick. By Stephen Gill. Nobody books, 2005. 126pp. with 24 page special section, illustrated throughout, 21,6x21,6 cm. Images from here.

Still in my heart... (stay safe and support riot clean-up)

Book description:

"Hackney Wick sits in east London between the Grand Union Canal, the River Lea and the Eastway A106. I first came across the area at the end of 2002 when I was photographing the back of advertising billboards. Although I had lived in London for nine years and thought I knew East London well, Hackney Wick threw me; it completely changed my mental map of this part of London.

My first visit was on a Sunday, to the market which used to take place in the old greyhound/speedway stadium. The vast market was like no other I had seen before. At first glance, apart from few pot plants, most of the items on sale looked like scrap. It was not a market for luxury goods; it seemed to exist for people who were struggling to keep afloat themselves: exhausted white goods, mountains of washing machines and fridges, copper wire and other scrap metals stripped from derelict buildings; piles of old VHS videos which had been forced out of people’s homes to make way for DVDs.

That day I bought a plastic camera at the market for 50p; it had a plastic lens with no focus or exposure controls. I started making pictures with it at once.

Over the next two years I visited Hackney Wick again and again. Hackney has long provided a refuge for immigrants and asylum seekers from all over the world and for me Hackney Wick especially reflects the great diversity of London.

The market closed on 13th July, 2003; it had been going for seven years. According to the Trading Standards inspectors it had been swamped with stolen and counterfeit goods. The remains of the old stadium were demolished weeks after the closure as part of the preparations for London’s bid for the 2012 games. The games which will bring many good things to the area: new transport links and much needed infrastructure. But there will be losses, too.

There is another side to Hackney Wick. Away from the noise and chaos nature has somehow managed to find and keep a place for itself. The canals and rivers and secret allotments (known only to their dedicated gardeners) are home to many birds and animals. These hidden paradises have a vibrancy of their own which will soon be muted by the dust that will cover them."

I really like the work of Stephen Gill and have featured it previously here, here, here, here, here and here. I especially like his thoughts on the book as an integrated part of his photography work:

"His overriding intention is to make the book the finished expression of the photographs, rather than just a shell in which to house them.

Experimentation with materials, and a hands-on, tactile approach to maquette making lead, in many cases, to his finished books having an individual, unique presence.

This tactile approach includes materials and techniques such as lino cut printing, letter press printing, mono prints, spray paint, rubber stamps and on occasion entire books are manufactured and assembled by hand in Stephen’s Hackney studio.

He considers the bookmaking process to be a key final stage in the production of his photographic works, and he aims to make books that are conceptually consistent with their content." (source for quote)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

London Street Photography 1860-2010.

London Street Photography 1860-2010. Numerous contributors. Museum of London/Dewi Lewis, 2011. 120pp., illustrated throughout, 22x24,7cm. Images from here.

London and the UK in my heart just now...

Book description:

" 'London Street Photography' is published in association with The Museum of London to coincide with the major exhibition on show at the Museum until September 2011.

Street photography thrives in London today. It documents the movement, diversity and seeming incoherence of the most multicultural city in the world. Its defining characteristic is the keen eye of the photographer catching the moment of a chance encounter, a fleeting expression or a momentary juxtaposition in a decisive click.

However, photographing life on London’s streets is nothing new. The first ‘instantaneous’ London street scenes were taken in the early 1860s, and by the 1890s candid street photographers were snapping Londoners unawares. The 20th century saw many photographers, famous and lesser-known, continue to capture the daily life of London.

'London Street Photography' showcases the Museum of London’s unique historic collection of photographs. It contains the work of more than seventy photographers and is a fascinating view of London street life of the last 150 years. It includes the work of well-known photographers such as Paul Martin, John Thomson, Humphrey Spender, Bert Hardy, László Moholy-Nagy, Roger Mayne and Tony Ray-Jones as well as the work of many anonymous photographers whose contribution has been just as important in recording the story of the city.

The book includes an introduction by Mike Seaborne, in which he outlines the history of street photography in the Capital, exploring the shifts in approach as well as the impact of new cameras that allowed photographers to capture the wealth of detail to be found in London’s teeeming streets."

(Images updated.)

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Ruins of Detroit.

The Ruins of Detroit. By Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. Introductions by Robert Polidori and Thomas Sugrue. Steidl, 2010. 230 pp., illustrated throughout, 38x29 cm.

So I took a sort of a week off, and the world just seems to have gone a bit crazy really...

Book description:

"Over the past generation Detroit has suffered economically worse than any other of the major American cities and its rampant urban decay is now glaringly apparent during this current recession.

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre documented this disintegration, showcasing structures that were formerly a source of civic pride, and which now stand as monuments to the city’s fall from grace.

'Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.

The state of ruin is temporary by nature, the volatile result of the end of an era and the fall of empires.

This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time: being dismayed, or admiring, wondering about the permanence of things. Photography appeared to us as a modest way to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state'.”

Monday, August 01, 2011

House of Love.

House of Love. Photographs by Dayanita Singh. Text by Aveek Sen. Radius books, 2011. 198 pp., illustrated throughout, 6,25x9,75".

Book description:

" 'House of Love' is a work of photographic fiction that takes the form of nine short stories. Working closely with writer Aveek Sen, whose prose follows a journey of its own, Singh explores the relationship between photography, memory, and writing.

'House of Love', designed to blur the lines between an art book of photographic images and a work of literary fiction, is a book whose images demand to be read, not just seen, and whose texts create their own sensory worlds. The combination creates a new vocabulary for the visual book.

The 'House of Love' itself is the Taj Mahal, but the Taj Mahal as a recurring motif that stands for a range of meanings - meanings made up of the truths and lies of night and day, love and illusion, attachment and detachment.

Through images of cities both visible and invisible, people real and surreal, Singh creates her own mysterious and ineffable, strange yet familiar language, using her trademark black-and-white photography and her newer nocturnal color work."