For your consideration, in my humble opinion – some books from 2018 !

First of all, let me be clear, this is not a best of list of 2018 ! If you want to know the best books published this year, you can refer to the very well done compilation by Viory Schellekens caled the meta list. Here is the link : https://www.facebook.com/Viory.Schellekens/photos/a.1894706323931695/1907864862615841/?type=3&theater

I have to confess that all those lists are no surprise, Raymond Meeks, Mark Steinmetz, Matthew Genitempo, Carmen Winant, Laia Abril and you can go on… of course they are the best books of 2018. Just consider the meta list and you’ll get the best books published this year (236 list makers…), nothing else to say. So I was wondering, what is the point to post another list. For the last few years, I did what I called a “los olvidados” list (yep that’s a reference to Bunuel), but this year, it is not a forgotten list, but rather a question : why those books have not been mentionned so far. I only choose books which not appear in the meta list (two mention to appear), so if Viory includes my list, maybe some will appear and gain a rank…

Let’s start with no order neither priority and I wish you all a happy new year full of great discoveries in 2019 :

Race with the devil by Yan Morvan, published by Serious publishing

Yan Morvan spent years with motobike gangs, even putting his life in danger, this work is unbelievable for me in consideration of immersion to get good photos. Ans he remains not that known worldwide. I also though about another great book from Yan published this year : Bobby Sands with André Frère.

Le fleuve Somme by Thibaut Cuisset published by Diaphane Editions

Still don’t understand why this wonderful photographer remains unknown. The slow melancholy of his landscapes deserves a wider eccho, maybe if Steidl finally publishes his “French Landscapes” next year !

Looking at the overlooked by John Myers, published by RRB Photobooks

Probabaly one of my actual favorite photographer. For those who know my work you may understand why. And finally a great book (with his previous one “Portraits”) which gives justice to his work. Well technically, this one is supposed to be published in 1019, but I already received it, so…

America revised by Gerry Johansson, published by Only Photography

Gerry is one of my absolute favorite photographer and his book American winter has already been mentionned profusely, but… If American winter is another great book, it is just another one in his series of cities books. This one brings in light his very marginal color work which is gorgeous, but also a larger size printed view of his photographs in the size of his original prints, and everything perfectly done as Roland Angst knows to do.

Fifty High Seasons by Shane Lynam, selfpublished

A wonderful testimony of what has become one of the most incredible touristic and land planning experience of the XXth century. Planification to create from nothing one of the biggest French touristic area. A gret discovery for me, including what was called the Mission Racine planned by the DATAR.

Fables of Faubus by Paul Reas, published by Ghost books

We all know Martin Parr’s work, but Paul Reas has been long ago working on the same topics, and finally a book which gave him justice : a dive through the English society with reality, humor, sadness and colorful…

Stone Kingdom by Christopher de Bethune, published by Le Mulet

I am a total fan of Christopher’s work. There is so much poetry in the way he looks at things. You just need to hold one of his book in your hands to be converted… Unfortunately only 60 copies.

Touch, Rites of Mirrow Hidden Gravity by Sergej Vutuc, selfpublished

Time after time Sergej still surprises me with new experiments and renewal. He turns reality into abstractions and kind of mental images of the world that surrounds us. Handmade books after books they are more and more fantastic ! 100 copies only.

Robert F. Kennedy Funeral Train – The People’s View by Rein Jelle Terpstra, published bu Fw:Books

I have always loved Paul Fusco’s idea of taking pictures from the funeral train of Bobby Kennedy showing America in 1968. Rein jelle Terpstra investigates the way that was followed by the train to find pictures made by people standing by the passing of the train. Some brilliant reverse shots which complete the original story and tell a lot about the moment.

Orbit by Renato D’Agostin, published by IKKI

IKKI edtions initiated a few years ago a collaboration between photographers and musicians. Every book is a journey of the photographer to accompany a specifical music, this one comes with a composition by Scott Worthington. You can turn the page listening to the music, or vice versa. So far two sets of three books and records have been published.

Yuka and the forest by Lena C. Emery, published by APE

A slow meditation about a girl and a forest, beautifully printed and a touching story if you make yourself available to it.

La Zone, published by gallery Lumière des Roses

A catalog of an exhibition held in Montreuil at gallery “Lumières des roses” with numerous photos of the former suburbs of Paris. A piece of history about contemporary urbanisation of cities.

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Fifty High Seasons, by Shane Lynam

It all started in 1963, with the creation of the Interministerial mission of tourist development of the Languedoc-Roussillon littoral. The 200 km of coasts around the Gulf of Lion, in the south of France, were mainly occupied by unofficial tourism sites and mosquitos. This mission, known as the « Mission Racine », named after its director, Pierre Racine, was intended to offer an alternative to both bourgeois tourism on the French Riviera and popular tourism on the Spanish coast, combined with a new economic development for the region.

If this part of France is well known and stormed every summer by thousands of tourists, the origin of the operation remains little known. And yet, it is probably the largest development site operation that France has experienced after the war, a true symbol of « trente glorieuses ». It is also the first mission in charge of the DATAR (Délagation for the Spatial Planning and Regional Action) created in 1963, which is famously known by photographers for its public photography commissioning initiated in the mid-80s.

This mission is at the origin of the creation of the seaside resorts of St Cyprien, Port Barcares, Port Leucate, Gruissan, Cap d’Agde, La Grande Motte and Port Camargue. The two most emblematic elements of this mission are, from my point of view, the construction of pyramids at La Grande Motte (Jean Balladur project), and the arrival of the Lydia called the « Paquebot des sables » a retired cruise liner at Port Barcarès ; both in 1967. The first seaside resorts welcomed the first tourists in 1968, some 50 years ago.

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The context thus presented now brings us to the work of Shane Lynam which, contrary to what might suggest the title, does not present 50 years of tourism on this coast, but rather offers us a state of play of these resorts nowadays. Shane Lynam, an Irish photographer, discovered these places in 2003, long before he became interested in photography, and in 2010 he began his series of photographs over a period of 7 years.

We really feel in Shane’s work his very close proximity to these places, but also a great empathy, even a fascination that remain nevertheless mixed with ambiguity. These projects, which are often compared to the construction of large Parisian complexes, are now suffering from a lack of maintenance and would require renovation works (it is one of the actual questions at La Grande Motte), but Shane is more interested in showing us the plastic qualities of the place, the acid colors of the South, the sun and outdoor life.

Despite this, the plasticity of the images does not fool us, a strange atmosphere creeps in us, like the backstage of a show that breaks the magic of the scene. Public spaces are deserted, characters appear as lost in these urban organizations, sometimes out of scale, like this man in a swimsuit in the street, at the foot of a building, probably in search of a sea that we do not even see. Everything is artificial, even in nature that is mastered.

This statement is summarized in the closing text of the book, where Shane Lynam explains that Fifty High Seasons reflects on the cumulative effect of half a century of tourism on the innovative built environment established by Mission Racine, while showing why I fell for its unique charm.

I never really visited this south coast of France, despite a night in a tent on the beach of L’Espiguette, near La Grande Motte, and one of the great quality of this book is that it really made me want to know more about this touristic area and its history !

Hardback book, first Edition of 750 copies, 21 cm x 32,5 cm, 116 pages, 48 color photographs, section-sewn, swiss-bound

More info : http://www.shanelynamphoto.com/

And a video about the arrival of the Lydia in Port Barcarès, in June 1967

L’Arrivée du Lydia – 11 Juin 1967 from Mairie Port Barcarès on Vimeo.