Author Topic: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?  (Read 4262 times)

Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« on: October 10, 2017, 07:34:48 PM »
Apparently photobooks is the correct term for photography monographs. Anyway, have you bought anything decent recently?

I received this through the post yesterday. I mentioned it on here a few months back and it's finally been published. It's a collection of photographs taken at Beachy Head over the space of a year.





I'm a bit disappointed in the book, in as much as the way it's bound means the pages can't be fully opened without cracking the spine so sometimes you can't really see the whole image but for less than 15 quid it's a brilliant little thing.

I used to buy a lot more photobooks although I've not really seen anything new that's appealed in quite a while. The last thing I saw was a reprint of Alec Soth's Sleeping by the Mississippi so that might be next up.


Serge

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 08:40:47 PM »
I bought the second volume of 'Soviet Bus Stops' recently, which is full of pictures of the mad, over the top architecture they used for bus stops in the days of the USSR. Whereas the first volume concentrated on the satellite states of the union, this one focuses more on Russia itself, and has some eye-opening examples. (Looking at that link, there are a couple of books I might put on my Christmas list, especially 'Looking For Lenin'.)

Not long ago, I bought 'Brutal London' by Simon Phipps, which, as the title implies, is full of pictures of Brutalist architecture in London. Bizarrely, it's one of two books I have called 'Brutal London', the other one has cardboard models of the buildings that you can cut out and make yourself! (I never have.)

I also bought 'Lost Futures' not so long ago (you can see a theme developing on the types of photobooks I buy), which isn't the work of one photographer, but rounds up a bunch of photographs of Modernist/Brutalist architecture in the UK which no longer exists.

newbridge

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 08:45:24 PM »
It's not new, but I recently bought Sebastiao Salgado's Workers after watching the Wim Wenders documentary, and it's amazing.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2017, 08:52:13 AM »
I bought the second volume of 'Soviet Bus Stops' recently, which is full of pictures of the mad, over the top architecture they used for bus stops in the days of the USSR. Whereas the first volume concentrated on the satellite states of the union, this one focuses more on Russia itself, and has some eye-opening examples. (Looking at that link, there are a couple of books I might put on my Christmas list, especially 'Looking For Lenin'.)

I take it you've got this rather magnificent volume, too:



Definitely one of my most prized possessions!

TwinPeaks

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2017, 10:04:30 AM »
No but I'm getting frustrated trying to think of one that I flicked through in a charity shop a few years ago. I think it might have been a one word title, and it was a blue cover, maybe the sky, that gives me a similar vibe to some of Boards of Canada's album art. The cover was sort of squishy. I can't remember if it was just one photographer. I think it was released around 2001, definitely around then.

I do quite like all the photos I've seen from trying to google it though. Mainly come across Japanese ones which definitely have a similar aesthetic to what I'm looking for. Can't put the way they make me feel into words but I suppose that's why they're photographs.

Serge

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2017, 08:34:57 PM »
I take it you've got this rather magnificent volume, too

You bet your life I have! As soon as I saw that cover, I knew it had to end up in the Serge Collection.

No but I'm getting frustrated trying to think of one that I flicked through in a charity shop a few years ago. I think it might have been a one word title, and it was a blue cover, maybe the sky, that gives me a similar vibe to some of Boards of Canada's album art. The cover was sort of squishy. I can't remember if it was just one photographer. I think it was released around 2001, definitely around then.

That has reminded me that years ago, I was shown some pages of a forthcoming book full of artwork that was very similar to the covers of both 'Music Has The Right To Children' and 'Geogaddi', but for some reason, it seems that the book never actually got published. I remember telling the rep who showed them to me about Boards Of Canada (he was none the wiser), and assumed that it was other artwork by whoever does their covers. But as it never appeared, I can't for the life of me remember what the artist's name was, or if it ever did get published.

stunted

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 09:33:16 PM »
Disappearing Glasgow pictures of Glasgow's schemes, tower blocks and houses as they're cleared away and replaced with private new builds.

Quote
Here acclaimed photographer and filmmaker, Chris Leslie, examines Glasgow’s process of demolishing these contentious estates. For some they are blights on the city’s international reputation, for some an important attempt to redefine the way we live and for others they were home. The result is a book that is stimulating, haunting and moving in equal measure.

In addition to Chris’s stunning images, also included are six short essays by Professor Johnny Rodger ,Malcolm Fraser, Kirsten Paton, Barnabas Calder, Rory Olcayto, Karen Anderson.
http://www.disappearing-glasgow.com/portfolio/book/







Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2017, 11:10:37 PM »
Ooh, I like the look of that.

TwinPeaks

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2017, 09:57:00 AM »
But as it never appeared, I can't for the life of me remember what the artist's name was, or if it ever did get published.

Peter Iain Campbell apparently did the artwork for Geogaddi. I can't find anything else like Geogaddi on his website but there's some pictures of the band that have a similar aesthetic to their other artwork. http://peteriaincampbell.co.uk/wp/?skills=works-i
The MHTRTC artwork was Boards of Canada themselves apparently.

Serge

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2017, 09:51:21 PM »
Yeah, it's a weird one. I had a quick google to see if I could find out who did the artwork, but didn't really turn anything up (my records are in storage at the minute, so I couldn't just have a quick look at the sleeves.) It was just odd that this book seemed to have pictures of people with no faces and pictures of hexagonal patterns, so I immediately assumed that it had been one guy who'd done both covers and this was a collection of his work.

Then again, given it's BoC we're talking about here, I wouldn't put it past them to have done it as an elaborate prank on booksellers.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 04:52:57 AM »

Not long ago, I bought 'Brutal London' by Simon Phipps, which, as the title implies, is full of pictures of Brutalist architecture in London. Bizarrely, it's one of two books I have called 'Brutal London', the other one has cardboard models of the buildings that you can cut out and make yourself! (I never have).

I got Brutal London as a birthday present a few months ago. Nice little book, although the page size seems a bit on the small side for an architecture photobook, really think it would benefit from being a bit bigger. I was also a bit dismayed at first by the rough edges of the pages which I assumed were a manufacturing fault until I read some reviews online where I discovered everyone else's copies had the same effect, so I'm sure it's intentional.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 06:46:01 AM »
I must admit I'm finding myself rather disillusioned by the shear number of "urban decay on an overcast day" kind of photobooks that are out there, it does seem like a rather haughty rejection of working with more challenging natural light.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2017, 06:12:24 PM »
I have actually bought a few recently from an excellent local second hand place that's shutting down soon.

Emmet Gowin - Photographs

A very diverse mix, I bought it mostly for his aerial work(a mix of man made scars on the landscape and Mt St Helens soon after the eruption) and moody architecture(Petra, Matera in Italy, Cappadocia) but his earlier family portrait stuff is certainly very interesting as well although the shots of his wife generally aren't "work safe".







« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 06:30:35 PM by greenman »

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2017, 06:21:42 PM »
I've got this one on Kowloon Walled City


And this, on bootleg Soviet recordings cut into x-rays nicked out of hospital bins.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2017, 06:34:22 PM »
Another couple on the cheap were the Idea of Louis Sullivan , very nicely done monochrome shots of his work taking in the 50's.



...and Wright Morris Words and Pictures with some nice tasteful great plans Americana from the 30's and 40's..






Dr Syntax Head

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2017, 02:53:23 PM »
Massive fan of photo books. I like street photography and the like. The book in the OP, I want it, looks right up my alley.

Was given this as a gift and love it. I will get the rest of his books.

http://lostamerica.com/books/lost-america/

Troy Paiva, his work is incredible.

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2017, 02:55:29 PM »
Mrs Syntax asked me to make a xmas present list. This thread has massively added to it. Also a very big fan of Brutalist architecture.

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2017, 02:59:25 PM »


Not long ago, I bought 'Brutal London' by Simon Phipps, which, as the title implies, is full of pictures of Brutalist architecture in London. Bizarrely, it's one of two books I have called 'Brutal London', the other one has cardboard models of the buildings that you can cut out and make yourself! (I never have.)



Any Brandon estate in that? I went exploring around there with a camera once (yes because of 15 Storeys High) and loved the place. Got a lot of funny looks taking pictures of the tower blocks though.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2017, 05:00:45 PM »
One of the must effective urban decay books I'v seen was Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom although I was too cheap to buy it.



Anybody have a recommendation for a Bill Brandt book? I'v seen the "a life" autobiography around that does have a good deal of his work in it but doesn't go beyond the more well known stuff mostly so something just focused on the work itself would be more interesting.

Serge

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2017, 09:46:08 PM »
Any Brandon estate in that? I went exploring around there with a camera once (yes because of 15 Storeys High) and loved the place. Got a lot of funny looks taking pictures of the tower blocks though.

Sadly not! I used to go past it on the bus quite often, and always liked to think of Vince and Errol still living in there somewhere.

buzby

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2017, 12:01:04 PM »
For the more figurative/documentarian end of the scale I'm a big fan of Tom Wood's work. He was photographing Merseyside around the same time as the much more celebrated Martin Parr, but whereas Parr's photographs in The Last Resort always give off an element of artifice and staging about them to me (it's obvious in some instances he's using reflectors to light the subject), Wood just took photographs as an observer (he hates being called a documentatian, apparently), and unlike Parr's work, it never gives off an exploitative air of 'look at these proles'.

Wood first came to prominece with Looking For Love, a collection of photographs he took of the clientele of the Chelsea Reach nightclub in New Brighton in the mid-to-late 80s. It is an excellent book on both capturing the era, but also the candid reactions of his subjects.

Unfortunately the book is long out of print, and goes for exhorbitant sums on the second-hand market. I was fortunate to find a reasonably-priced (£100) copy in a second-hand bookshop during a trip to Germany.

He later published 2 collections of pictures he took while riding round Merseyside using his travel pass - All Zones Off Peak and Bus Odyssey, which are again both out of print but slightly easier and cheaper to find than Looking for Love




More recently, he's had a couple of collections published that can be found much more easily and cheaply. One is a soft-back retrospective of his work called Photie Man (the name the local kids used to call him) which is a good place to start with his work, and another collection of portrait work called Men/Women (a pair of hard back books in a slip cover, each concentrating on one gender). The latter includes probably his most famous picture, Not Miss New Brighton


He also has a new book published next month called The DPA Work, which covers pictures he took of the last months of Rainhill Mental Hospital and Cammell Lairds shipyards before the closed in the late 80s for the Documentary Picture Archive (£80)

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2017, 01:53:32 PM »
I've got this one on Kowloon Walled City


Snap!

Also - got this as a friend did the production on it:

http://uk.phaidon.com/store/architecture/this-brutal-world-9780714871080/

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2017, 08:04:17 PM »
For the more figurative/documentarian end of the scale I'm a big fan of Tom Wood's work.


I wasn't aware of his stuff before but I really like what I have now seen. Thanks. Think you're a bit harsh on Parr though. I saw him give a lecture in Manchester about 15 years ago and someone asked him if he was sneering at his subjects and he seemed genuinely taken aback. He was extremely sneery about Richard Billingham though...

buzby

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2017, 10:26:07 PM »
I wasn't aware of his stuff before but I really like what I have now seen. Thanks. Think you're a bit harsh on Parr though. I saw him give a lecture in Manchester about 15 years ago and someone asked him if he was sneering at his subjects and he seemed genuinely taken aback. He was extremely sneery about Richard Billingham though...
There's a good interview with Wood here

Parr might not think he sneering at his subjects, but in The Last Resort at least to me it does seem to come across that way even if he didn't intend it. Maybe it's down to me having a personal connection to that area in that time period (my family could have easily been in his photos). It's the appearance of the images being staged that I dislike the most though.

There's a marked contrast when you compare his images to Tom Wood's ones of New Brighton of the same period. I think the difference is that Wood actually lived and worked there (he was a part-time art teacher at the local college and wandered round with his camera for the rest of the time), knew a lot of the people he photographed and usually went back and gave them prints. Although Parr also lived there for a couple of years while he was putting together The Last Resort, his images seem to have more of a feeling of being made by an outsider voyueristically looking in.

Wood did actually have some pictures in the original Last Resort exhibition in 1985 at Liverpool's Open Eye gallery alongside Parr's. He made his name off the back of that exhibition, whereas Wood (who was schooled as a painter and taught himself photography) carried on riding round Merseyside with his bus pass.

I do sort of agree with Parr on Billingham though, but at least he was mostly exploiting his own family.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2017, 10:39:14 PM »
Parr might not think he sneering at his subjects, but in The Last Resort at least to me it does seem to come across that way even if he didn't intend it. Maybe it's down to me having a personal connection to that area in that time period (my family could have easily been in his photos). It's the appearance of the images being staged that I dislike the most though.

I take your point about The Last Resort although I don't know how you'd photograph those scenes without it coming across as a bit snooty. You could also argue he did far more so with wealthier or more middle class people in his later work.

How do you define 'staged', by the way?

buzby

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2017, 12:10:23 AM »
How do you define 'staged', by the way?
I think it's due to them being shot with a medium-format camera and the (over)use of fill-in flash  - it gives the images a sheen of hyperreality and artifice that makes them feel less 'honest' to mei (it's a bit like using HDR nowadays I suppose). It's also like he's trying to angle to get as much litter into the shot as well (in some cases like the prom shelter pictures it's almost the focus of the picture with the people relegated to the background). As I say, it's a personal thing due to my connection with that specific place and time, and his images jar slightly against my memories (and my dad's photographs, and Tom Wood's too) of our days out there.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2017, 04:21:16 AM »
Parr has always been pretty open about the images being quite staged hasn't he? similar to a lot of Steve McCurry stuff rather than it being totally off the cuff.  Not that he's dressed up the people and brought them to a location but that he's obviously got there attention and it potentially getting them to pose whilst picking a preffered compisition. Honestly I do tend to agree with the overuse of flash and generally a bit of an uncomfortable "ethnological" atmosphere to his work. That is you could argue another aspect of the colour vs monochrome debate for street/documentary, "photograph their clothes rather than their souls" perhaps picks up a different meaning if colour almost becomes a representation of class with the working class depicked as tastelessly garish.

To take things in a slightly different direction one thing that has always interested me in that you often seem to have this link between documentary/portrait photography and landscape work, Tom Wood was mentioned, Brandt, Gowin above, Don McCullin I mentioned in the other thread with one of my favourite landscape books in Dark Skys and from the other side plus of course the likes of Weston. This does to me seems to rather go against the perceived grouping of landscape with wildlife shooting as more "technical" aspects of the medium that are obviously linked. Personally speaking mostly shooting landscapes I have always felt I should get into wildlife work(certainly it would be more saleable) yet have never been able to get much enthusiasm for it, besides architecture I probably have shot more family portraits and documentary type stuff even if my opportunity for the latter is rather more limited and its very much against my personality being very reserved.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 06:42:11 AM by greenman »

Serge

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Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2017, 07:35:53 PM »
Sam Knee seems to have found himself a comfortable niche in compiling books of photos from certain music scenes - starting with 'A Scene In Between' (Indie Music in the '80s), and then going on with 'The Bag I'm In' (Underground music and fashion from the '60s to the '90s) and then 'Memory Of A Free Festival' ('60s/'70s rock festivals) - and he has a new one out which actually seems to be one I wouldn't mind getting hold of for once - 'Untypical Girls' - Indie music again, but more wide-ranging in time, and focusing on female acts. There's also a new book of photos of Patti Smith ('Patti Smith: American Artist'), which I've put on my Christmas list, which will go nicely alongside Judy Linn's 'Patti Smith: 1969-1977' on my shelf.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2017, 06:32:37 PM »
I bought the second volume of 'Soviet Bus Stops' recently, which is full of pictures of the mad, over the top architecture they used for bus stops in the days of the USSR. Whereas the first volume concentrated on the satellite states of the union, this one focuses more on Russia itself, and has some eye-opening examples. (Looking at that link, there are a couple of books I might put on my Christmas list, especially 'Looking For Lenin'.)

Not long ago, I bought 'Brutal London' by Simon Phipps, which, as the title implies, is full of pictures of Brutalist architecture in London. Bizarrely, it's one of two books I have called 'Brutal London', the other one has cardboard models of the buildings that you can cut out and make yourself! (I never have.)

I also bought 'Lost Futures' not so long ago (you can see a theme developing on the types of photobooks I buy), which isn't the work of one photographer, but rounds up a bunch of photographs of Modernist/Brutalist architecture in the UK which no longer exists.

I bought Lost Futures for myself recently. My brother used to live on the Southgate Housing Estate so it was especially interesting for me. The Brutal London one sounds great, I think that will be next on my to read list.

Re: Have you bought any decent photobooks recently?
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2017, 07:24:18 AM »
Seeing as you, Nurse Nugent and Serge, are obviously into brutalist architecture, have you read Raw Concrete? I'm reading it right now and it's really good stuff...