PHOTOBOOK FAVOURITES #11

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© Tito Mouraz

Fluvial by Tito Mouraz, Dewi Lewis

Fluvial is a meditation on the riverside beaches of northern and central inland Portugal.

These are places with which Mouraz has a lifelong relationship and through the images he transmutes personal geography into a fictional atmosphere. And just as the river currents have shaped the natural elements, the passage of time has shaped his gaze. Irony is replaced by a kindness and gentleness towards his equals, and a fascination with form and analogy.

These are the informal moments of family life, of Portuguese society, relaxed, and at leisure. Bodies, tree trunks and river-bed rocks begin to resemble sculptures; human bodies, almost amphibious, are often reduced to the simplest of forms, shaped by light or submerged under a surface of water, with the river bed becoming almost an optical instrument.

Realistic yet dreamlike, Mouraz conveys a pagan sense of nature, creating the atmospheric effect of an infinite Sunday, a summer dream – and a visual ode to human leisure.

Tito Mouraz lives and works in Porto, Portugal, where he studied Visual Arts and Photography at the Superior Art School of Oporto. Since 2009 he has exhibited widely throughout Europe including significant exhibitions in Portugal, Finland, France, Poland, Spain, and the UK. Fluvial is Tito’s second book with Dewi Lewis Publishing. The previous book The House of The Seven Women received considerable critical acclaim and is now out of print.

Hardback 120 pages
72 colour plates, 310mm x 250mm
ISBN: 978-1-911306-53-5

You can buy Fluvial here.

 

© Paddy Summerfield

The Holiday Pictures by Paddy Summerfield, Dewi Lewis

‘Life at the sea’s edge is like an ending for a road movie where everyone gathers together. Life dances on, year after year, under sun and cloud, holidaymakers come and go, people change, the sea does not. The imagination begins where the land ends.’

In The Holiday Pictures, Paddy Summerfield does not offer the glamour of Deauville and Biarritz; this is the British seaside, where sunlight can give way to rainy pavements, and overcast skies. And here we all are: children and parents, babies and teenagers, people of all ages and from all over, sharing the magic of the coast. We see them in families, in couples and crowds, or isolated and alone under sunlit skies; we see them bored or lost in thought, dozing or daydreaming, caught up in play or watching sky and sea. They cross the sands, they wander along promenades and piers, and endlessly photograph, making holiday memories.

With The Holiday Pictures, Summerfield tells us our own story, a primal and universal story of the generations at the sea’s edge, looking inwardly at their own feelings, and looking out to the horizons and skies. And the photo sequences imply other narratives, as if someone has walked into the next frame, as if the wave that curls in one picture is seen breaking in the next, where children splash and play.

Oxford-based, Paddy Summerfield, trained at Guildford School of Art in the Photography and the Film departments. His work has been shown in many galleries, including the ICA, The Barbican, The Serpentine Gallery, and The Photographers’ Gallery. His work is in the collections of the Arts Council and of the V&A, as well as in numerous private collections. The Holiday Pictures is his fourth book published by Dewi Lewis, two of which are now out of print, including Mother and Father (2014) which was widely acclaimed, and featured in several lists of the ‘Best Photobooks of The Year’.

Clothbound hardback
220mm x 245mm 132 pages, 73 duotone plates
ISBN: 978-1-911306-48-1

You can buy The Holiday Pictures here.

 

© Arno Raphael Minkkinen

MINKKINEN by Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Kehrer

Working with the body in natural and urban landscapes—without assistants and without manipulation—Minkkinen’s self-portraiture stands as one of genre’s longest, nonstop continuities in the history of photography.

This monograph is spanning five decades of work by the acclaimed Finnish-American photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen (b. 1945). The 330-page hardcover book depicts over 270 images since 1969 to the present with important works from all 50 years. More than half of the images are largely unpublished, including over 100 recent works since 2005, with numerous discoveries from the 1980s and 1990s, plus significant groundbreaking images from the early 1970s, years before the self-portrait entered the mainstream of contemporary photo-graphy.

Whether he is working along lakeshores or beaches, in cities or forests, from majestic mountaintops or buried in the snow, Minkkinen aims to create a balance between the naked human form and the natural and urban worlds wherein we exist, reminding us that we are foremost beings without clothes. the results can be surreal, spiritual, and transformative, often tinged with a profound sense of humor. Photographed in nearly 30 countries and 20 American States, the comprehensive book also operates as a kind of artistic diary, divided into ten thematic chapters, each with a preface written by Minkkinen, as well as a closing memoir titled Voyage of the Self.

Published and exhibited worldwide, Arno Rafael Minkkinen’s works are held in over 75 prominent collections including among others, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Musée de l’Élysée, Lausanne; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

Cloth hardcover with dust jacket
27 x 30,5
330 pages
288 tritone ills.
ISBN 978-3-86828-922-0

You can buy MINKKINEN here.

 

© Theo Derkson

Disneyfication by Theo Derkson, Dewi Lewis

Disneyfication is a visual photographic investigation into how ‘ordinary’ reality is disguised and hidden as our public spaces are changed through the intervention and use of imagery.

Theo Derksen explores the process through which our public spaces have become increasingly globalized and homogenous, not just in their structures but also in their use of imagery. More and more, the spaces have acquired the characteristics of an amusement park. New places are created to enable people to experience a more perfect version of reality – places which are easy to understand and appear safe for everyone. As far as is possible, problems such as decline, poverty and traffic congestion are eliminated and the environment is arranged in a way that stimulates people’s behaviour in their drive to consume.

Theo Derksen is a Dutch photographer who has received several awards including the Kodak Award, a Polaroid sponsorship, The Amsterdam Art Foundation Grant and the Limburg Art Grant. After studying Photography and Audio Visual Design he worked as a trainee with Magnum photographer Ernst Haas before becoming a photojournalist for several Dutch newspapers and magazines. In 1990 he became an associate professor in photography and research at University Zuyd Art Department and later Head of Visual Communications. He has also been a visiting professor at many major educational establishments.

The book includes an interview with Francine Houben, creative director and founding partner of Netherlands-based Mecanoo Architects. Perhaps best known in the UK as the architect of Birmingham Library she is currently involved in the refurbishment of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. and the New York Public Library.

Soft back with dust jacket
160 pages, 69 colour plates
287mm x 205mm
ISBN: 978-1-911306-54-2

You can buy Disneyfication here.

 

© Aapo Huhta

Omatandangole by Aapo Huhta, Kehrer

Aapo Huhta’s pictures from the Namibian desert consider what might be left when all we think we know about ourselves, about human society, has been stripped away. The place itself, a vast emptiness that threatens to engulf everything it touches, is both the catalyst for this loss and its final manifestation. There is a long tradition in art of using places to reflect on human experiences, and Huhta’s pictures certainly belong to this tradition, not least because they are images of feeling that eschew simple description or documentation. He depends on an imaginatively loaded series of encounters to bring out the symbolic or metaphorical aspects of this real place, so that it becomes, effectively, a stage-set to enact a drama that is at once personal and global. Similarly, the title Omatandangole is a local word that indicates a mirage phenomenon, something that seems real, but is ultimately just an illusion, created by the unique conditions of the desert environment. It tells us that we have arrived at a place where ‘normal’ experiences of body and mind no longer apply.

»Even though our surroundings are chaotic and broken it is possible to create photographs that show them as complete and pristine, so unlike what they are in reality. And yet – in that brief moment that is captured by the camera, wasn’t that sense of completeness true for a fleeting moment? An elusive bliss that can dissolve as fast as it emerged.« – Aapo Huhta

Photographs for the series were shot in Namibia between 2016 and 2018.

The photo series was shortlisted for the Unseen Dummy Award 2018 and received the Artproof Grant 2019.

Hardcover
24,5 x 27,2 cm
88 pages
37 b/w and 5 color illustrations
ISBN 978-3-86828-953-4

You can buy Omatandangole here.

 

© Robert Hackman

Metamorphosis by Robert Hackman, Dewi Lewis 

To strengthen his own political position, Albania’s dictator Enver Hoxha (who ruled from 1944 to 1985), convinced his people that the outside world wished to invade their communist ‘paradise’. Unable to afford advanced technological deterrents during the Cold War years, the country’s communist regime built a costly and extensive network of military bunkers, allocating huge physical and economic resources in a frenzy of construction.

Today the people of Albania reuse and recycle these in ways that are both extraordinary and varied: as cafés, homes, restaurants, swimming pools, barns, bridges and water tanks. Over several years Robert Hackman has photographed these strange mushroom-like structures which have now also become an element in Albania’s burgeoning tourism industry.

From 1975 to 1982 former Prime Minister of Albania, Alfred Moisiu, oversaw the fortification of the country with these defensive bunkers. In a fascinating interview he tells their story, estimating that up to 500,000 were built. As he says, ‘Albania could not afford to produce aeroplanes and missiles and so we built bunkers instead.’

Genti Gjikola, former Head of Exhibitions at the Albanian National Gallery of Arts, also provides an illuminating introduction. In April 2018 he became curator for the Centre for Openness and Dialogue (COD), a unique art-and-culture space at the Office of the Prime Minister of Albania.

Born to an Australian mother and a British father, Robert Hackman moved to London in 1995. His work is primarily documentary and focuses largely on the Balkans, which he visits regularly.

Hardback 
104 pages
91 colour photographs
210 x 300mm
ISBN: 978-1-911306-42-9

You can buy Metamorphosis here.

 

Goods Way, Kings Cross, London, England 2019 © John Davies

Retraced 81/19 by John Davies, GOST

Photographer John Davies captures the landscape in a perpetual state of change. Retraced 81 / 19 brings together his early images alongside new contemporary works revisiting the same landscapes – mapping both equilibrium and change. These pairs of images, made from the same vantage point, tell of the alterations made by human activity and bear witness to cultural and social change over nearly four decades.

Since the early 1980s, Davies has documented locations, both rural and urban, associated with the industries of coal mining, cotton textiles, shipping, docking and steel, as well as the railways, roadways, canals and rivers alongside the towns and cities intertwined with these industries. This book reveals the changes in our urban infrastructure and gives examples of how the distribution hubs of a city are in a process of transformation.

The earliest photographs in the book are from the UK in 1981 when Margaret Thatcher had been Prime Minister for two years, and many of these large-scale industries were in decline. These early black and white photographs show the evolution of the landscape shaped by economics, industry, construction, politics, and nature. In Retraced 81/19 by revisiting the sites, Davies shows how regeneration or abandonment, and history have all impacted the landscape in a quietly powerful statement.

Retraced 81/19 includes photographs made in sites across the UK including Cardiff,
Liverpool, London, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Sheffield, Stockport and Sunderland. The opening images in the book are of rural France where motorways now dissect the countryside, and the book closes with images of the area surrounding the Berlin Wall. These photographs, made before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1984 and 2019, show the wide area known as ‘no-man’s land’ that separated East from West Germany for 28 years now transformed by commercial buildings and human presence. Thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, these historically loaded landscapes have transformed and changed just like any other.

These landscapes are not just about surface appearances and architectural features; they are symbols of human endeavour. They are about the actions and legacies of people within a culture shaped over generations. And they reflect the individual and collective impact on the environment that continues to shape our world. These pictures represent a human story of effort and achievement but also the many, often untold, histories of conflict and exploitation. The photographs capture a specific place at two moments in time. But perhaps the real subject of Davies’ pictures is the suggestive space of time between those moments. His vision is undiscriminating in the best sense, compelling the viewer to draw their own conclusions.
– Martin Barnes. Senior Curator Photographs. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

215 x 265 mm, 192 pp
92 duotone images
Hardback clothbound
ISBN 978-1-910401-34-7

You can buy Retraced here.

 

© Karolina Gembara

When we lie down, grasses grow from us by Karolina Gembara, GOST

In 2009 Karolina Gembara moved to Delhi to learn photography and stayed for seven years. When we lie down, grasses grow from us, comprises photographs taken during this period, as Gembara developed a love/hate relationship with the city, borne out of a combination of fascination, homesickness and a feeling of transience.

During her time in the city, Gembara moved around frequently and found it difficult to establish a home, or a place where she felt truly comfortable. She met many in a similar position – housing was temporary and even romantic relationships were somehow superficial and makeshift.

The pictures I took during those years speak about that craving for comfort in the big city, and the loneliness that accompanied us every day. They also reveal my own need for a home and an attempt to create one.” – Karolina Gembara

Gembara was never comfortable taking photographs on the street and so, over time, cultivated her own visual language – one which prevented her from being a mere onlooker. She turned both to friends and people she could identify with, and to those with whom she could talk. She began to search for the quiet, isolated moments she shared with her subjects in a city where peace is scarce.  As a result, the reflective tone of the images in the book is the antithesis of the imagery associated with outsiders to Delhi, and show a contemplative and tender view of the city. Their sentiment is a universal one, shared by many who live in cities far from home and try to build comfort around them.

When we lie down, grasses grow from us was designed by Ania Nałęcka-Milach and the story was edited by Rafal Milach, and Jörg Colberg.

Karolina Gembara lives and works in Warsaw, Poland. She was based in Delhi from 2009 – 2016 and has been a member of Sputnik Photos since 2018. She obtained an MA in International Relations and Diploma in Journalism (2005) from the University of Wroclaw, before studying photography and participating in the first Mentoring Programme with Sputnik Photos, Warsaw (2012-2013). Her work has been exhibited at Parallel Cities, New Delhi (2013), PhotoIreland, Dublin (2014), Angkor Photo Festival, Siem Reap (2014), and PhotoKathmandu, Kathmandu (2015). Her first book, Fitting Rooms was published in December 2013. In early 2015 she was nominated for Prix Pictet and later that year she became a finalist of the Valores Humanos contest. Currently, she is a PHD student at University of Social and Human Sciences SWPS in Warsaw.

218 x 257 mm
96 pages printed on GardaPat Kiara
45 colour images
Hardback, Three quarter bound
ISBN 978-1-910401-37-8

You can buy When we lie down, grasses grow from us here.

 

East Rand, Gauteng, July 1985 © Gideon Mendel

Freedom or Death by Gideon Mendel, GOST

Thirty years ago, photographer Gideon Mendel left a box of negatives and transparencies in storage in a friend’s garage in Johannesburg. At some point the box was rained upon and the top layers damaged. The affected photographs were from Mendel’s documentation of the final years of apartheid when he had witnessed the nationwide township uprising and scenes of mobilisation, conflict and tragedy. This act of happenstance led to Mendel revisiting and re-engaging with his archives, and the gradual creation of this book Freedom or Death.

Freedom or Death is divided into three sections, each with a different intervention to the original images from Mendel’s time as a ‘struggle’ photographer in South Africa. The first section ‘Damage,’ as described above—the accidental, colorful and painterly transformation of the negatives and transparencies by mould and moisture.

If these images were initially meant to bolster memory, they now speak of the fragility and malleability of memory itself, reminders that a material trace of the past can be altered or even obliterated, just as the images of memory in the human mind can be entirely changed—whether purposefully or not—when subjected to the currents of time. – Denis Hirson

The second section, ‘The Stone, the Gun and the Plate,’ is a collaboration with Marcelo Brodsky, an Argentinian artist known for his human rights activism. Brodsky writes and draws on photographs as a means of enhancing the historical narratives of images. For this collaboration, they conceived four triptychs, each focused on an object that repeatedly appeared in Mendel’s black and white photographs from 1985 and 1986. The stone, teargas, the wooden gun and the sjambok (a flexible rubber whip) were selected to reflect the conflict and repression of these particular years. Brodsky’s revisioning of these photographs with a childlike colour palette, coupled with the mutation into comic book stylisation, acts as an unsettling counterpoint to the violent subject matter.

The final section of the book ‘Merged’ is derived from vintage working press prints from the same period. Several of the photographs were made for newswire transmission with caption information pasted onto the front of the prints, some have a variety of crop marks on their reverse sides, and others have Mendel’s hand-written captions or agency copyright labels, along with detailed information about the photographs from his time with Magnum Photos and Network agency. The front and reverse of the prints has been precisely digitally merged to combine image, word and marking, reflecting the original functionality of the photographs. This third, and deliberate alternation has exposed the process, craft and sense of urgency hidden on the reverse of the original photographs.

Grappling with and reworking images from the past renders them relevant and meaningful in the ‘now’ and allows them to re-enter the present discourse through new positionings and framings. Mendel’s work in this book poignantly ‘harps’ on the past by acknowledging continuities of the apartheid phenomenon in the present. His sensitive work into the archival material brings about possibilities of new perspectives and interpretations. – Farieda Nazier

165 x 210 mm
176 pp 87 full colour images
Hardback clothbound, foil debossed
ISBN 978-1-910401-39-2

You can buy Freedom or Death here.

 



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