On almost every topic

The exhibition Best Before End focusing on the Hackney related work by Stephen Gill is on show in Foam in Amsterdam from 17 May to 14 July 2013.

Stephen Gill Exhibition in Foam Amsterdam

Best Before End – A major solo exhibition of Stephen Gill’s various London series will be on show at Foam Museum, Amsterdam from 17 May 2013 until 15 July 2013.

Coexistence exhibition by Stephen Gill

Last week I spend a couple of days in Germany not far from Luxembourg so I decided to pay a visit to the exhibition Coexistence by Stephen Gill at The Centre National de l’audiovisuel (CNA) in Dudelange. You can read more about this project here.

A couple of pages from Invisible (Nobody, 2005) by Stephen Gill. I finally managed to visit the Le Bal Bookshop in Paris and there I found a copy. 

According to the book the pictures show a paradox: “how fluorescent safety-clothing, which is intended to make workers in potentially dangerous occupations conspicuous, can make its wearers invisible”.

Like most of Gills books it is very well designed, contains great pictures, is conceptually strong and also sort of funny. These are the kind of photobooks I like most of all.

Bird Watching by Paula McCartney

Bird watching is not only popular with amateur photographers, it is also a popular topic for artists who work with photography as a medium. Take for example A Book of Birds by Stephen Gill focusing on city birds living in the streets of East London or the fascinating photographs of Jean-Luc Mylayne, who carefully composes pictures of regular species that look like lucky shots of birds that were generally considered extinct.

For photographers who specialize in birds, the bird pictures of Stephen Gill or Jean-Luc Mylayne can be a bit confusing. Take this quote from an Amazon review of a book about Mylayne for example:

It’s as if an amateur photographer has just started taking photographs of birds in his back garden [Amazon].

The reviewer returned his copy to Amazon.

I would be curious to know if bird watchers will like Bird Watching by Paula Mc Cartney. It is a photo book disguised as a bird watching journal. The book preserves bird watching experiences in great detail including geographic and weather conditions, personal observations and of course pictures of the birds she sighted. As an avid bird watcher she even included plant specimens and added extensive notes about her travel experiences.

However, if you look closer you will notice that the birds are fake. The whole book is a work of fiction. McCartney collected fake birds by buying them at auction web sites and photographed them in what could have been their natural habitat.

For those who are interested a selection of photo books acquired over the last months on a classic pizzeria tablecloth with coffee and chocolate cookies. On the table are titles by Stephen Gill, Rinko Kawauchi, Jason Fulford, Charlotte Dumas, WassinkLundgren and others.

For those who are interested a selection of photo books acquired over the last months on a classic pizzeria tablecloth with coffee and chocolate cookies. On the table are titles by Stephen Gill, Rinko Kawauchi, Jason Fulford, Charlotte Dumas, WassinkLundgren and others.

Best Photo Book Packager

If there were a prize for the best photo book packager I would nominate photographer Stephen Gill’s Nobody’s Book Shop. If there were a price for the worst photo book packager I would nominate Amazon.

My Favorite Photobooks of 2010

Top 10 Photo Books of 2010

For those who are interested, here is my personal top 10 of photobooks of 2010:

  1. The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler / Map of Babylon by the master photographer John Gossage. Of course there is also the 2010 reprint of The Pond, but that was originally published in 1985.
  2. Broken Manual by Alec Soth. A high-class photography book disguised as a manuscript. Soth’s previous books are great photobooks, but this is a work of art. It contains beautifully reproduced photographs ranging from small black and white pictures to full color fold-out pages alternating between matte and glossy finishes. The Walker Art Center monograph From Here to There is also highly recommended.
  3. The Sound of Two Songs by Mark Power. This year I first bought a copy of 26 Different Endings (2007) because I liked the idea behind it. The Sound of Two Songs is a more conventional photobook, but it contains very good pictures made with a large-format camera.
  4. La Carte d’après Nature by Thomas Demand, a.o. A beautiful catalog for an exhibition curated by Thomas Demand. Aperture’s monograph It’s Beautiful Here, Isn’t It… about Luigi Ghirri is a nice book, but the way the work of Ghirri is presented in this book among the work of others is something different. Even if you just want to buy a book with photography by Ghirri, I’d recommend this book above the Aperture monograph. It also contains a second book with a facsimile of a Luigi Ghirri manuscript for a small photobook.
  5. Conditions by Andrés Marroquín Winkelmann. I am surprised it is not listed in other top 10’s that are published so far. This is a beautifully made book object with great photography. 
  6. A Book of Birds by Stephen Gill. I love the work of Stephen Gill. Conceptually strong and great photography. I prefer A Book of Birds to the more experimental Outside In. I haven’t seen his other books of 2010 Coming up for Air and B Sides yet.
  7. Sechsundzwanzig Wiener Tankstellen by Sebastian Hackenschmidt and Stefan Oláh. I am not a great fan of all these art books after Ed Ruscha’s classic, but for me this book is an exception. With a nice photo montage on the cover. The texts are in English and German.
  8. How Terry Likes His Coffee by Florian van Roekel. Van Roekel received a lot of attention. I hope he is able to beat the second photobook syndrome. The book is sold-out, but I can imagine that there will be a reprint now that he is represented by Flatland Gallery.
  9. Repose by Charlotte Dumas. The monograph Paradis was very disappointing. I think that is why she decided to self publish a new monograph shortly after the publication of Paradis. In this book she presents her work like a portfolio with beautifully printed large format pictures.
  10. Studio by Harry Watts. A small publication with photographs documenting a photographer’s studio. Can’t help but like it. 

Click here for more posts about photobooks from this blog.

Field Studies by Stephen Gill
A couple of week a go Field Studies and A book of Birds arrived from Nobody’s Bookshop. I do not understand why it took so long for me to get familiar with the work of Stephen Gill. Both books are great. They are conceptually strong, the photography is good and the series also have a sense of humor. From the Field Studies the Billboards, Road Works and the Gallery Warders are my favorite series. I also own a copy of Outside In with photo’s from Brighton, but I think I like his more traditional work better than his experimental work. Invisible and Hackney Wick are on my wish list, although I am not sure if I will ever own a copy of the latest. It is listed in Parr and Badger and anyone who is interested in photo books known what that means.

Field Studies by Stephen Gill

A couple of week a go Field Studies and A book of Birds arrived from Nobody’s Bookshop. I do not understand why it took so long for me to get familiar with the work of Stephen Gill. Both books are great. They are conceptually strong, the photography is good and the series also have a sense of humor. From the Field Studies the Billboards, Road Works and the Gallery Warders are my favorite series. I also own a copy of Outside In with photo’s from Brighton, but I think I like his more traditional work better than his experimental work. Invisible and Hackney Wick are on my wish list, although I am not sure if I will ever own a copy of the latest. It is listed in Parr and Badger and anyone who is interested in photo books known what that means.

Stephen Gill - The Sparrow

The Sparrow by Stephen Gill

Some of the images are truly beautiful, a testament to however small and simple a project may be, it still has the potential to suck the viewer into a deep visual meditation.

Antone Donezal