Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reviewing the Paris Photo / Aperture Best Book Nominees: Part II

5) Anders Petersen. City Diary

The first of multiple installments, this bookwork consists of three distinct books of 68 pages each depicting life in the shadows in cities including Stockholm, Tokyo and St Petersburg.

Anders Petersen - City Diary from PhotoBookStore.co.uk on Vimeo.

6) Stephen Shore, Book of Books

To begin with, no matter how great the quality, it's hard to get past the $2500 price.  This just isn't value for money. Beginning in 2003, Shore produced a number of print on demand books that sold in editions of 20 at the galleries where his photos were on display. This two volume set brings together all 83 of these books in one place. So, conceptually, the 20 copies of the originals are the hardbound version of Graham's 12 volume 'Shimmer of Possibilites' and this is the democratic, mass market soft cover version. But the hard cover version of Shimmer sold for $250, where the 'accessible' version of Book of Books sells for 10 times that amount. This isn't a photobook, it's the transformation of a catalog into a status object.

While the individual books look interesting, the experience of wading through such a bulky book is antithetical to the intimate quality of many of the series. 

Here's a video of Shore talking about the project, followed by a video showing the books themselves.

7) Pietro Mattioli, Two Thousand Light Years From Home

No video available, but images of the book, along with a French review, are here. Mattioli, tethered to his home by the signal from his baby monitor, used his flash to transform the nocturnal surroundings of his neighborhood into curious and frequently disturbing images.

8) Jacqueline Hassink, Table of Power 2

From the publisher:

The financial crisis of 2009 shook the global economy to its very foundations. Yet has anything changed at the centers of power since? Do executive suites look different than they used to? And what do they actually look like?

A decade ago, Jacqueline Hassink (*1966 in Enschede, the Netherlands) captured images of desks and conference room tables at what were at the time the largest multinational corporations in the world. Magnum photographer Martin Parr included her project in his catalogue of the most important photo books of the twentieth century. Today, the artist is taking another look at the headquarters of the approximately fifty companies that the American business magazine Fortune lists as the most powerful actors on the market: banks, insurance companies, and corporations such as Shell, BP, Volkswagen, and ING. With scientific precision, Hassink focuses on the desks and tables in deserted, soulless rooms—as if emptiness was one of the inherent features of power.
Interesting question? Do executive suites look different in the era of the 1%? Unfortunately, without the original book for comparison, you'll never know. Yes, it's a great concept. But does anyone seriously believe that a sequel is the best book of the year?

9) Lise Sarfati, She (signed copy)

A riff on relationships based on images of four American women -- two sisters approximately 40 years old and the two daughters of one of them.
A family album preserves only carefully selected photographs. Out of an entire life, it stores only handpicked moments, privileging special occasions, happy ones usually, and consigning the rest to oblivion: happy faces, relaxed moments, places of leisure rather than work. .... None of this figures in She: instead of a chronology, time is stopped, it appears to stammer and bite its own tail. There is no group photo or desire to stage a collective destiny, but only isolated models and individuals who do not seem to communicate amongst themselves, or only barely; no happy moments or picturesque places, only indifferent moments in ordinary places; no strong gesture, none of the conventional poses, and no complicity with the photographer. ... When we close the book and think a bit about it, we cannot but see She as the anti-family album par excellence. -Quentin Bajac

10) Anouk Kruithof, A Head with Wings

 At $24, serious value for money. Kruithof has a history of making photobooks that engage the viewer on a number of levels. The tactile dimension of this book, as illustrated in the video, is a big part of the experience. Not to be missed.

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