We love books! We can’t get enough of their lovely tactile papery goodness, so we thought we’d share a bit of our photo book enthusiasm with you, and let you know what we’ve been enjoying lately, with some descriptions from the publishers and some thoughts from us too.
Here you go!
The official publication celebrating Magnum Photos’ 70th anniversary: a totally fresh and perceptive view of the legendary agency’s history and archive.
Magnum Photos, the world’s most prestigious photographic agency, was formed in May 1947 by four photographers: Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David ‘Chim’ Seymour. Their members – now including Alec Soth, Susan Meiselas and Paolo Pellegrin – are renowned for their intelligence in combining both reporter and artist in the photographer’s role – attributes that have defined Magnum for nearly 70 years, and continue to do so.
In this landmark photography publication and accompanying exhibition, Clément Chéroux demonstrates how Magnum Photos owes its pre-eminence to the ability of its photographers to encompass and navigate the points between photography as art object and photography as documentary evidence. A Magnum photograph can be expressive and bear witness at the same time.
Magnum Manifesto is organized into three main parts: Part 1 (1947–1968) views the Magnum archive through a humanist lens, focusing on post-war ideals of commonality and utopianism. Part 2 (1969–1989) shows a world fragmenting, with a focus on subcultures, minorities and outsiders. Part 3 (1990–present day) charts the ways in which Magnum photographers have captured – and continue to capture – a world in flux and under threat.
Featuring both individual photographs and in-depth projects that have shaped our view of the world, the book also includes contact sheets, notebooks, magazine spreads and other previously unseen material, Magnum Manifesto is essential for anyone seeking to understand the photography that has defined our age.
From the first glance at this weighty tome it’s clear that this is a seriously thorough book. An in-depth and comprehensive investigation of one of the most famous photographic agencies in the world, Magnum Manifesto provides the reader with a thorough grounding in the agency’s history.
Featuring in-depth and engaging profiles of Magnum photographers through the ages and up to the present day, the book beautifully showcases Magnum’s unique crossover of art and documentary photography.
There’s so much to this book it’s impossible to include it all in a review – but suffice to say, this is an important read for anyone interested in Magnum’s beginnings and development, indeed anyone interested in photography in any way.
Magnum Manifesto by Clément Chéroux and Clara Bouveresse.
Published by Thames & Hudson
416 pages, 400 illustrations, 295mm x 245mm
ISBN: 978 0 500 544556
In September 2009 Celine Marchbank’s mother, Sue Miles, was diagnosed with lung cancer and a brain tumour.
“While I was trying to come to terms with the fact she was dying, I decided I wanted, or maybe needed, to document the time she had left. I didn’t want to create a graphic portrayal of her death, it would have been impossible and wrong to focus only on the dying part, but rather I wanted to photograph our last months together. I looked at the things that made her uniquely her, the details in her house I thought I knew so well, the things that would also be gone when she was.
Her love of flowers was a beautiful part of her personality; the house was always full of them, and as I photographed them I realised they were symbolic of what was happening – they represented happiness, love, kindness and generosity, but also isolation, decay, and finally death.”
Celine Marchbank is a documentary photographer specialising in British based stories, fascinated by the small everyday details of life. Based in London, she spends her time between personal documentary projects, exhibiting work regularly, and undertaking commercial and editorial work. She is also a regular sessional lecturer in documentary photography at Ravensbourne University in London. A Fellow of the RSA, Celine Marchbank has exhibited widely throughout the UK. Tulip has already received widespread acclaim and Celine’s work has been shortlisted for several prestigious awards including The European Publishers Award For Photography, The Deutsche Bank Photography Award, The Lucie Foundation and the Emergentes DST International Photography Award. Tulip is her first book.
Lots of people photograph the story of loss, lots of people use flowers as a metaphor, not many people can make you feel as personally and emotionally attached to their story as Celine Marchbank does.
There’s something in the simplicity of the images, something that says that although time is running out, we are still moving slowly, we’re still taking the time to be in the moment.
It’s a beautiful story, joyfully sad in the moments of life. The simple delights of soft folds in fabrics, flowers, light, cats, tomatoes ripening on the window sill, unwanted half-cups of tea. All of this so normal, so mundane, so everyday – until someone presents it as the last days, and then we all remember how lucky we are.
Tulip by Celine Marchbank
Published by Dewi Lewis
152 pages, 84 colour photographs, 220mm x 190mm
Tulip was reviewed for Shutter Hub by Karen Harvey
This is the classic guide for analog photography enthusiasts interested in high-quality darkroom work. The fourth edition from darkroom master Steve Anchell is packed with techniques for silver-based processing. In addition to “recipes” for darkroom experiments, this book contains invaluable information on developers, push-processing, reversal processing, enlarged negatives, pyro formulas, printing, and toning prints. The Darkroom Cookbook also offers advice about where to get darkroom equipment, how to set up a darkroom, safe darkroom working spaces, and more. Key features of this revised edition include:
Over 200 step-by-step or do-it-yourself formulas
Tips for mastering the “ingredients” of analog photography processing, namely the chemicals used to develop, fix, stop and tone
Special technique contributions and stunning black and white imagery by professionals such as Bruce Barnbaum, Tim Rudman, John Sexton, and more.
From formulas and conversion tables, to developing and printing out processes, this book is pretty jam-packed.
Although it starts with a simple ‘planning a darkroom’ chapter, this book is far from basic and definitely requires some previous level of knowledge and understanding of analogue photography processes and basic science.
If you’re picking this book up to skim through and see if there’s a process for you, then it’s maybe not the one, but if you have an understanding of what you want to do and need a fully extensive guide to get you there, then you can’t go wrong with The Darkroom Cookbook.
The Darkroom Cookbook by Steve Anchell
Published by Focal Press
This ground-breaking book situates research at the heart of photographic practice, asking the key question: What does research mean for photographers? Illuminating the nature and scope of research and its practical application to photography, the book explores how research provides a critical framework to help develop awareness, extend subject knowledge, and inform the development of photographic work. The authors consider research as integral to the creative process and, through interviews with leading photographers, explore how photographers have embedded research strategies into their creative practice.
The cover makes this book sound interesting, the contents make it enthralling. Case study upon case study, photographers you’ll know and love, all sharing their stories, behind the scenes and how research is what makes their work ‘work’ for them.
Not only good for understanding the importance of research as a photographer, but also for an inspirational glimpse at the ways in which other photographers work.
With a foreword from Peter Kennard, introduction by Shirley Read and Mike Simmons, essays from many industry experts including Sian Bonell and Camilla Brown, as well as case studies from 17 excellent and varied photographers, this book should be at the top of every serious photographer’s reading list.
Photographers and Research by Shirley Read and Mike Simmons
Published by Focal Press
Paperback, 274 pages
In 1943 the American inventor and scientist Edwin H. Land was asked by his daughter why she couldn’t see immediately the photograph he had just taken. Within an hour, Land had conceived of the technology required to make this seemingly impossible demand a reality. So begins the story of Polaroid instant photography, an invention that revolutionized the taking and making of pictures. But Land’s creation was more than a groundbreaking scientific accomplishment; it also heralded an exciting new chapter of artistic expression. Through the efforts of thousands of photographers the world over, as well as the corporation’s own artist support programme, which provided many with materials, Polaroid would help shape the artistic landscape of the late twentieth century – and, indeed, up to the present day.
Published to accompany a major travelling exhibition, The Polaroid Project is a creative exploration of the relationship between Polaroid’s many technological innovations and the art that was produced with their help. A wealth of illustrations showcases not only the myriad and often idiosyncratic approaches taken by such photographers as Ansel Adams, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ellen Carey and Chuck Close, but also a fascinating selection of the technical objects and artefacts that speak of the sheer ingenuity that lay behind the art.? With essays by the exhibition’s curators and leading photographic writers and historians, The Polaroid Project provides a unique perspective on the Polaroid phenomenon – a technology, an art form, a convergence of both – and its enduring cultural legacy.
If you ever wondered anything about Polaroid photography, the science or the art, then all of your questions will no doubt be answered here. In fact, if you have a love for Polaroids you’ll probably not be able to go away from this book without feeling uplifted and inspired.
The exhibition from the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography that accompanies this book (curated by William Ewing, Barbara Hitchcock, Gary Van Zante, Deborah G. Douglas and Rebekka Reuter)itoured during 2017 – 2018.
The Polaroid Project
Published by Thames & Hudson
27.5 x 23.0 cm, 288 pp
This large 250pp book is for everyone interested in Dismaland, Banksy, counter-culture art, photography and satire.
The book, which features over one hundred photographs, will be a thought provoking reminder for all those who visited ‘Dismaland’, the dystopian theme park established by Banksy and a team of artists and producers in Weston Super Mare UK, in the summer of 2015. It also re-opens Dismaland’s gates for the many, many people around the world who wanted to go, but didn’t make it .
This is ‘sharp-eyed’ street photography in full swing…
British photographer Barry Cawston documented the Dismaland site regularly from its launch on 20 Aug through to the masked ball on 27 Sept 2015. Each time he went there, he also went in to Weston Super Mare to photograph the town, the local people, the tourists and various scenarios which he encountered.
The resulting body of work is a snapshot of 21st century Britain and our interaction with art that was, paradoxically, a satire on our own reality. Deliberate pairings of Cawston’s images contrast the art in Dismaland with scenes of contemporary British life outside its gates.
The ‘Are We There Yet?’ photographs are a record of a moment in time, which Cawston admits he didn’t fully appreciate the significance of when he started it. In his images, as Oscar Wilde once said, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
The book is part of a wider project, including an exhibition and social media channels, which high-fives Banksy and all the artists featured in Dismaland whose work makes us #QuestionEverything.
Having been unable to visit Banksy’s Dismaland myself, I was excited to see Barry Cawston’s ‘Are We There Yet? A day trip to Banksy’s Dismaland and other stories’. Cawston’s thorough documentation gives a wonderful insight into the ‘bemusement park’ and accompanying these images with those of daily life in Weston-Super-Mare works brilliantly. As the introductory cover text says “Not for nothing did the world’s most famous street artist choose Weston as the venue for his harshest satire fest to date.”
The large format of the book lets you examine the detail in what are often very busy scenes, and Cawston’s attention to detail, composition and use of colour makes this book a joy to pore through or equally to dip in and out of from time to time. There are some clever pairings, and Cawston’s street photography approach lets the viewer feel completely immersed in both worlds. Although I found the titles for each image distracting at times, the icons used to identify which images are of Dismaland and which are of Weston are very neat and helped emphasise how difficult the two could be to tell apart at times.
The essays are an excellent inclusion, adding an extra dimension to the work from the viewpoints of an artist participant, a visitor and a steward.
This is a fascinating study raising questions of its own as well as providing an excellent record of a challenging and important art experience.
Are We There Yet? By Barry Cawston
Published by The Drugstore Gallery
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