Who needs another photobook list. Looking back in the miror !

I have started this blog earlier this year, because I just needed to share some thoughts about photography, and it mainly turned into photobooks reviews. This new post will be about those beautiful photobooks which caught my attention in 2013. This is not an exhaustive list, just some books that, each for a special reason, were very important to me in 2013.

Fourteen books and one special mention, in no particular order :

Fukushima samurai, by Noriko Takasugi, design by Noriko Takasugi, self published.

Published in December 2012, after the list of 2012, so I decided to add this book to this year. This is a stunning handmade book with Japanese binding about the aftermath of Fukushima. It is one of the most beautiful book i have seen for the last couple of years, you can read more about it here.

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Here are the Young men, by Claire felicie, design by Sybren Kuiper, self published.

The anguish of a mother turned into a moving testimony on the damages of war. This is not an Embedded reportage, but it is finally a lot more efficient ! Facing the war by the changes of faces, reminds me about Avedon and what was called geography of epiderm. Read more here.

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Scoffing pig, by Nozomi Iijima, self published .

A Young woman raised in a farm with her parents. Is there any reason to avoid a wonderful subject so close to her. This could be considered as modern vernacular photography, except that we don’t have to wait for years to discover her work. An emerging photographer who started to publish her handmade books, ultra limited édition, books/objects, and has also started to gain a wider audience with the publication of newsprint and zine. This little red book was her first self published handmade book, and the one by which I discovered her.

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Control order house, by Edmund Clark, design by Ben Weaver, published by Here Press.

The excesses of our societies shown in a photobook. At first glance, this could be a repellent book. Many small pictures unsorted which also appeared to be imperfectly framed. Nothing happening except boredom. Well, this might well be what we can feel under house arrest. The deprivation of liberty, in the name of security. Probably more a political book than a photobook. Read more here.

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Lothringen, by Pascal Anders, design by himself, self published.

Talking about politics, here is a book without pretension. A succession of pictures from a devastated area, in France, because of unemployment after the closing of steel factories. What is shown by the photos is outside of them. They just show the emptiness, the life is elsewhere… but is there still life somewhere ? Read more here.

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L’amoureuse, by Anne de Gelas, published by Le caillou Bleu.

This is not what we can call an easy book. The subject… the mourning of an always too quickly disapeared, a husband and a father. The book is a diary, a collection of pieces which help to overcome the loneliness. There is an incredible generosity in this book which may become a catharsis for the author. A beautiful review, here, by Colin Pantal.

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Swell, by Mateusz Sarello, design Ania Nalecka, published by Instytut Kultury Wizualnej

As I have already said here about this book, this is the story of a failure. The sea as a cure. Mateusz exposes himself and dissects his pain, then combines photography and a return to the sea, to overcome it. An incredibly well organised book to serve the narration. read more here.

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Vanishing existence, by Kosuke Okahara, design by himself, published by Backyard project

Forgotten places and old leproseries in China, this is the subject of Kosuke’s book. The photographs are beautifuly printed, but what I like a lot with this book is its traditionnal Japanese binding and the aspect of the book reminds me Hokusai’s mangas. A very humble design which emphasizes the subject.

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A beach, by Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt, design by 1 :2 :3, published by B-B-B-Books

How can you build a future if you ignore the past ? This could be the pitch for the book. When I met Klara and Thobias at Offprint, it took a little bit more time for them to explain me the purpose of the book. But they really caught me with this beautiful leporello. When photographers work on Memory. One of my favorite topic. Read more here.

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Away from home, by Kursat Bayhan, design by Frederic Lezmi, self published.

This book is the modern history of the Turkish society ! From the poverty in Anatolia to the disapointed hopes and dreams in Istanbul. I have been a few times in Istanbul and this book could really help me to understand a lot of situations that I saw. This strongly reminds me one of my favorite film maker : Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and more particularly his film Uzak.

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Ezekiel 36:36, by Nick ballon, design by Studio Thomson, published by Lab Project.

As you can discover, the Holy Bible is not in my list, but I won’t completely avoid a reference to the Good Book with this book. This could be a commercial commission for a company… Except that the company is in complete disarray and very close to bankruptcy. From glory to decay, the rise and fall of capitalism ! A very simple book, which generates a kind of fascination.

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Tractor boys, by Martin Bogren, published by Aman Iman and Dewi lewis.

What do teenagers like, all over the world : cars and girls. This is what martin Bogren tells us by sharing those photos. He entered the group and spent time with them, in the southern province of Sweden called Skåne. Between excitement and boredom, with the  remanent image of tire traces on the floor.

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Fear of fall, by Florian van Roekel, design by Sybren Kuiper, self published.

The new book by Florian has sold out in one day. In this book we discover the consolidation of Florian’s style in photography. Many close up pictures, a strong sense of narration, vivid colors… and my favorite final sequence with the blackbird, from domestication to wild life which is the metaphor of human life. The depiction of a housing estate, another one of my favorite topic !

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Disko, by Andrew Misksys, design by Claudia Ott, self published.

A very touching portrait of the youth in Lithuania. Andrew made his photographs in former cultural houses from the USSR age which are reconverted in « modern » disko. Just to be clear, I really don’t think that the photographer is mocking the way of life of Young génération in Lithuania, I rather feel a strong empathy for the young fellows photographed. Also a few nice pictures at the end of the book, showing decayed traces of the past icons, like portraits of Lenin, and communists signs.

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A special mention for a project that ended in 2013 and was started in 2009

The Sochi project, by Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Brueggen, design by Kummer & Herrman, self published and Aperture for « An atlas … »

From 2009 to 2013, Rob and Arnold have been investigating the Sochi area which will host the Winter Olympic Games in 2014, particularly the population displacements, harassment of minorities and every pressions draw by the official government to promote Sochi as « a perfect place ». This is one of the most beautiful documentary photo work for the last years !

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All images copyright the photographers and the publishers.



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