Yolanda, by Ignacio Navas.

Yolanda is a book about youth, Yolanda is a book about drugs, Yolanda is a book about AIDS. Yolanda is a book about the rise (short) and fall (long) of a teenager and her boyfriend who never completely succeed to become adults.

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Ignacio calls his book a zine, but it’s a bit thicker and it can stand the comparison with books. With a white surprising softcover with a series of hand written style « Yolanda » watermark (similar to Fuji Crystal on the reverse of prints). I really like the cover which does not allow you to know what the book is about. 15,5 x 22 cm, 70 pages and 20 inserted pages of texts. Self published English and Spanish editions of 200 each.

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For me, the book works like « In search of lost time » by Marcel Proust. It all started with an old photograph from Ignacio’s baptism on which he was in a young woman’s arms. This becomes a quest to know more about this mysterious woman who will be slowly enlightened through the pages of the book.

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We don’t really know if the story is real, but it doesn’t really matter. This is the story of a generation whose youth was blasted. Teenagers who have grown up too fast. At the age of 20, they already have experienced so much that the only remaining thing in their life was boredom. That’s probably the summum of the book when they have a dog instead of a child (if they are not anymore teenagers, they did not get the adulthood maturity which would have allowed them to have a child) to fulfill their boring life and make them « Alive ». But despite the dog, Yolanda went back to drug and entered a detox center where she was diagnosed AIDS.

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So yes, they lived fast, like one of their only possession, a Golf GTI (they can’t afford the yellow Ferrari and just stood beside for a photo) which reminds me « The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust » (David Bowie appears, like a twinkle on a wall of a room) !

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To complete and affirm his narration, Ignacio uses archive photographs mixed with contemporary photographs. The old photos work, as Frederic Lambert explained in his book « Mythographies », as some « effects of the real » which means that the poor quality of them, tells the truth (we know from Fontcuberta and Formiguera’s Fauna that it is completely false). We feel an empathy for Yolanda, because we all have, at home in our old family albums, such pictures of disapeared family members. Yolanda becomes our auntie disapeared too fast !

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There are also texts inserted on « third sized pages ». The texts are written by Ignacio’s uncle whose Yolanda was the first girlfriend. They are between captions and explanations, like words which would have been said while watching the photographs. Some parallel souvenirs that outcrop when seeing the photos. Some sentences even seem unsure. Here again we feel a strong empathy, but this time through the memories of Ignacio’s uncle. Those souvenirs are extremely precise which here again « testify their truth » and help us to understand them.

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I have already told you that we don’t know if the story is real or not and this is the great strength of the book. We can therefore appropriate the tale of Yolanda. It is a sad tale which ended just before Christmas, 19 years ago, when Yolanda died. Uncle Gabriel was only 25 and his life was a big mess, Ignacio was 6 ! In the end of the 80’s and early 90’s, many people died of AIDS, and almost each of us knew someone who died. So this book is a fantastic tribute to all those beloved disappeared far too young !

More info on Ignacio’s site : http://www.ignacionavas.com/index.php/02/

And here : http://www.30y3.com/ignacio-navas-yolanda-2/

All images copyright Ignacio Navas.

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Dear Santa Claus – a photobook wishlist.

So here is coming another list for the end of the year. But I don’t want to play the expert, or award a prize, so I add an extra rule for my recommendations. I will not list books that are out of print. My idea is that everybody can buy a book from this wishlist. So no « Hidden Islam », « Red string », « Euromaidan », « I’m still looking for my own Jane Gallagher », « Linger » or « Teikai » which were all fantastic books published this year.

So here are my recommendations, in no particular order :

Volunteer, by Paul Seawright, published by Artist Photo Books, technically from 2013, but only available in 2014 : an exploration of America post 9-11 through suburban landscapes from military recruiting stations. More info in a previous post : https://whoneedsanotherphotoblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/when-landscape-photography-becomes-a-political-statement-volunteer-by-paul-seawright/

And the site of the Publisher : http://www.artistphotobooks.ie/product/volunteer/

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Life and work, by Sune Jonsson, published by Bokförlaget Max Ström. I really do not understand why this book remain completely out of the radars. A huge and wonderful monography, beautifully printed, of the Swedish photographer of the rurality.

The site of the Publisher : http://www.maxstrom.se/Bocker/Bokpresentationssida/?isbn=9789171262950#.VIxdzieMtLo

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You scared the shit out of me so I am leaving, by Calin Cruse, published by Dienacht Publishing. An exploration of erotic fairs. A very simple and efficient book beautifully designed.

Site of the Publisher : http://www.dienacht-magazine.com/2014/05/31/calin-kruse-you-scared/

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Becoming Simone, by Alessia Bernardini, self published. The very sensitive story of Simone, a man born in the body of a girl and his lifelong battle to finally get the proper body he wants.

More details in a previous post : https://whoneedsanotherphotoblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/becoming-simone-by-alessia-bernardini-with-the-help-of-simone-grippi/

And Alessia Bernardini’s site : http://www.alessiabernardini.com/becoming-simone_the-book

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One road, by Kazuo Kitai, published by Zen Foto gallery. One of the most beautiful book by Kazuo Kitai who remains a lot more known for his protest books. A walk through devastated landscapes after the tsunami in 2011 (which finally becomes a form of protest !)

Site of the Publisher : http://www.shashasha.co/en/book/oneroad/

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Shauna 2007 – 2009, by Sean Lee, selfpublished. For three years, Sean Lee became Shauna, a beautiful ladyboy and this book is the story of Shauna. She shares her life with us, entering her intimacy. A very touching story !

My previous post about Shauna : https://whoneedsanotherphotoblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/three-years-in-the-life-of-a-lady-boy-shauna-2007-2009-by-sean-lee/

Sean Lee’s site : http://www.seanleephoto.com/

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Alone Together, by Mi-Yeon, published by Kaya books. A beautifully crafted book of black and white photographs about what it means to be part of a society and our relationships to others. Remind me some of the Provoke books.

Mi-Yeon’s site : http://mi-yeon.jp/publications/

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Sequester, by Awoiska Van der Molen, published by Fw : Alone, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature… with some photos printed on black paper which become drawn by the light !

The publisher’s site : http://fw-photography.nl/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_fw_minimal.tpl&product_id=85&category_id=6&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=6&lang=en&vmcchk=1&Itemid=6

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2041, published by Here Press. A collection of photographs of an unknown person dressed in self made burquas. One of the weirdest book published this year ! Not easy to say more, you have to look at the book to get your own opinion. It also comes with three different prints to personalize the cover.

Here press site : http://www.herepress.org/publications/2041/

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Face Nord, by Charles Delcourt, published by Light Motiv. A French photographer, former landscape architect take us to a visit of the Northern part of France with its spoil tips. Charles emphatically shows the exact reasons why I love so much this area. With three short stories by Ukainian writer Andrei Kourkov.

The site of the Publisher : http://www.lightmotiv.com/?page=editions&idkey=18

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And an extra one which cannot be bought :

Ibasyo, by Kosuke Okahara, selfpublished. A print run of 6 copies, but the book is not for sale. The six copies can be borrowed for a certain time and each one will have its own journey around the world. The book is about 6 Japanese girls who suffer from self injury. The last third of the book is made of blank pages where you can write a personnal message to one of the six girls. At the end of the journey, each book will be given to one of the six girls. This is really refreshing in the photobook world of collectors and comsumption.

More info in a previous post : https://whoneedsanotherphotoblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/ibasyo-by-kosuke-okahara-the-quest-for-a-physical-and-emotional-place-where-a-person-can-exist/

And the site dedicated to the books : http://ibasyobook.com/

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All images copyright the authors and publishers.