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The why, where, what and how of photobooks and what is ‘The Truth’?

To help me explain where we are today with book publishing I often use the metaphor of football — soccer if you prefer — leagues, where the publishers are the teams and managers and the players are the photographers. The metaphor of league tables is not to denote quality of work but to explain an approach to the game and the medium of photography based on the financial clout of the teams involved.

S.B. Walker’s photographic survey of Walden Pond – The Eye of Photography

What has become of the fabled Walden Pond? In his debut monograph Walden, published by Kehrer Verlag, S.B. Walker an artist from New England (USA) who grew up a few miles from Walden Pond surveys the symbolically charged landscape of literary giant Henry David Thoreau in an attempt to find out the answer. The publication of Walker’s book marks the bicentennial of Thoreau’s life.

A city seen: Todd Webb’s postwar New York – The Eye of Photography

Published by Thames & Hudson, the book entitled I See a City: Todd Webb’s New York focuses on the work of American photographer Todd Webb produced in the megapol in the 1940S and 1950s. It is a rich portrait of the everyday life and architecture of New York, shaped by the friction and frisson of humanity.

fovi8 volume #1 issue #2 – Jonesblog

fovi8 volume 1, issue 2 is now released and is physical with cover art by Jeff Carlson @jeffcarlson.  This is something that you can hold in your hand, and it is gorgeous.  There will be only 100 issues printed, ever and is the product of 25 extraordinary photographers who submitted their work to fovi8 in September.  If you want your copy, go to the site and get it before they are gone

Álvaro Laiz, The Hunt – The Eye of Photography

In The Hunt, a new book released by English publisher Dewi Lewis, Spanish photographer Álvaro Laiz tells us the story of Udege people, in eastern Siberia, who have lived in the boreal forest for hundreds of years. Due to their close contact with nature, their beliefs are full of references to supernatural forces that they believe should be respected. In 1997 a Russian poacher called Markov came across the trail of an enormous Amur tiger. Despite the risk, Markov saw the tiger’s footprints as a promise for a better life. He shot the tiger, but was not able to kill it. Udege people believe that if someone attacks a tiger without good reason, Amba, the dark side of the tiger, will hunt him down. Without realizing it, Markov had unleashed the Amba. Over the following 72 hours the animal tracked him down and killed him. Later investigations suggested that the tiger planned its movements with a rare mix of strategy and instinct and most importantly, with a chilling clarity of purpose: Amba was seeking revenge. This animistic belief constitutes the leitmotiv to experience the impact of nature in the Udege communities across one of the last remnants of shamanism: the culture of the hunter.

American wars in the photobook – Witness

I want to attempt to come to conclusions about both the way photographers described war and how underlying larger professional and societal trends influenced the description. Needless to say, these two aspects are not independent at all. Photographers are embedded in societies. However much they might try, they can never escape the restrictions put upon them. They might fully embrace them, fight them, or engage in a combination of both. This then feeds back into the societies, which might change their thinking around wars based on what photographs tell them. It’s an imperfect feedback loop, whose imperfections are frequently being discussed by both photographers and society. Both tend to voice their dismay about war imagery not having enough power and/or impact to dissuade the starting of yet another war (by the same society having such conversations).

Jenny Sampson: Skaters | LENSCRATCH

I had the pleasure of meeting Jenny Sampson at Photolucida last April. She brought a stellar portfolio of wet plate collodion tintype portraits of skateboarders–the process a perfect reflection of the gritty street activity that draws in interesting community of athletes. Jenny also shared that she was releasing a monograph of Skaters: Tintype Portraits of West Coast Skateboarders, through Daylight Books, coming out this Fall. The book has just been made available and it reflects her commitment to the skater community by using a large format camera and portable darkroom at skate parks in California, Oregon and Washington. The book includes a foreword by Bret Anthony Johnston and essay by Joel Rice.

Harry Gruyaert: East / West – The Eye of Photography

At a time when the world was politically divided into East and West, Magnum photographer Harry Gruyaert’s quest for light and sensuality led him to capture the colours of two very different worlds: the vibrant glitziness of Las Vegas and Los Angeles in 1981 and the austere restraint of Moscow in 1989, just before the fall of the Soviet Union. Harry Gruyaert: East / West, published by Thames & Hudson, is a remarkable journey of contrasts and contradictions now published in two stripped volumes. The book reproduces nearly a hundred photographs of these two series, of which seventy are new images.

Carrie Boretz: Street | LENSCRATCH

powerHouse Books has just released an almost thirty year look at the streets of New York, seen through the eyes (and photographs) of Carrie Boretz.  Aptly titled, Streets: New York City – 70s, 80s, 90s, the work reflects a city in flux, more gritty and unstable, but her focus remains with the simple gestures of everyday life in neighborhoods and communities that were familiar. The book is a testament to seeing, Carrie managing to stay hyper aware of juxtapositions and relationships, but it is also a testament to commitment, returning year after year to the streets in search of that split second of something real and beautiful.

The remains of the Maginot Line, by Alexandre Guirkinger and Tristan Garcia – The Eye of Photography

Bunkers blackened with time, overgrown hedges, drab vegetation spewing out of crevasses: there is no color other than dark in Alexandre Guirkinger’s photographs. The remains of the Maginot Line, which failed to protect the French against the Germans, are like discolored scars on the face of the European twentieth century, convulsing with spasms and bathed in tears.

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Alec Soth’s reedition of Sleeping by the Mississippi – The Eye of Photography

Sleeping by The Mississippi by Alec Soth is one of the defining publications in the photobook era. First published by Steidl in 2004, it was American photographer Alec Soth’s first book, sold through three editions, and established him as one of the leading lights of contemporary photographic practice. This MACK edition launches to coincide with the first exhibition in London dedicated to the series at Beetles+Huxley gallery, and includes two photographs that were not included in the previous versions of the book.

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Susan Meiselas: On the Frontline – The Eye of Photography

In On the Frontline, her new book published by Aperture, influential photographer Susan Meiselas provides an insightful personal commentary on the trajectory of her career—on her ideas and processes, and her decisions as a photographer. Applying a sociological training to the practice of witness journalism, she compares her process to that of an archaeologist, piecing together shards of evidence to build a three-dimensional cultural understanding of her subjects.

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A photographer’s five-year odyssey chasing personal demons resulted in this darkly poetic book – The Washington Post

Sebastien Van Malleghem’s forthcoming book, ‘Nordic Noir’ is the result of a five-year odyssey traveling through Scandinavia. Van Malleghem’s work has always examined the darker edges of life. He has photographed the war-torn streets of Libya, plummeted into the seedy underbelly of Berlin and examined the world of embalmers and morgues in Mexico, just to name a few of his projects. But in 2012, on the heels of returning from a post-Gaddafi Libya, Van Malleghem found himself on an island in Norway, trying to get away from that darkness and find a simpler form of photography. Thus began his obsessive love affair with Scandinavia which is culminating in the publication of his book.

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Sory Sanlé: Volta Photo 1965-85 – The Eye of Photography

Sory Sanlé: Volta Photo 1965-85, a book published by Reel Art Press, is a collection of photographic work by Sory Sanlé, an eminent portrait photographer from Burkina Faso, the landlocked country in West Africa formerly colonized by the French, then known as République de Haute-Volta. “Voltaic” photography’s unsung golden age is fully embodied by Sanlé. His black and white images magnify this era and display a unique cultural energy and social impact.

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From pictorialism to Provoke: the most extensive history of Japanese photobooks – The Eye of Photography

The Japanese Photobook, 1912 – 1990, published by Steidl and edited by Manfred Heiting, illustrates the development of photography as seen in photo publications in Japan—from the time of influence of European and American pictorialism, the German Bauhaus and Imperial military propaganda, to the complete collapse and destruction of the country in 1945. Then followed a new beginning: with the unique self-determination of a young generation of photographers and visual artists highlighted by the “Provoke” style as well as protest and war documentation of the late 1950s to the early ’70s, the signature Japanese photobook, as we have come to know it, was born. With detailed information and illustrations of over 400 photo publications, an introduction by Kaneko Ryuichi and essays by Jo Takeba, Yuri Mitsuda, Mari Shirayama, Satomi Fujimura, Kotaro Lizawa, Duncan Forbes, this is the first extensive English-language survey of Japanese photobooks of this period.

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Marvin E. Newman’s Spellbinding “City of Lights” – Feature Shoot

Now in his 89th year, American photographer Marvin E. Newman is receiving his due as one of the finest street photographers of the twentieth century. His self-titled monograph, just released as a XXL Collector’s Edition from Taschen showcases his vibrant collection of cityscapes made in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles—as well as in the Heartland of the nation and the outskirts of Alaska between the years 1950 and 1983.

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