As consumers we all have budget constraints and this year photo books were not high on my list of preferences as we decided to remodel our house. I like photo books and even this year I bought some, but I will never be a real collector. A real collector would have taken additional borrowing on top of his mortgage. Real collectors eat sandwiches with peanut butter for dinner if necessary. Real collectors also take care of their books. They put them in archival boxes and wear reading gloves. My advance copy of Broken Manual was lying under the bed gathering dust for months.
As always in no particular order:
I bought a copy of Holy Bible because it featured images from the Archive of Modern Conflict. A fascinating book that reveals God’s great compassion for us.
Handbook to the Stars by Peter Puklus
I also bought a copy of Handbook to the Stars by Peter Puklus who had a great exhibition in the library of Foam in Amsterdam. This book is basically a big wall with pictures bound into a small volume. His book One and a half meter is also highly recommended.
SPBH Book Club Vol III by Cristina de Middel
Another book I bought was SPBH Book Club Vol III (Maria and Tony) by Cristina de Middel. It contains great pictures inspired by street photography with a narrative based on The West Side Story. The book cover is done in graffiti writing and every cover is unique. My copy was a bit boring with just the names Maria and Tony so I asked a local graffiti artist to spice it up a bit.
Dalston Anatomy by Lorenzo Vitturi
SPBH also co-published Dalston Anatomy by Lorenzo Vitturi. I think this book is going to be on a lot of lists as it is such a playful publication mixing photography with great sculptures made of things he bought at the market he documented in the book. I also love these Vlisco fabrics he used for the cover. Did you know the real Vlisco fabrics come from Helmond in The Netherlands?
The Christmas Tree Bucket by Trent Parke
A book I will ask for Christmas is The Christmas Tree Bucket by Trent Parke. This book was already on my list last year while it was not even published. I added it to my list because Steidl was delaying a lot of titles. But this one was actually published recently although I must admit that I haven’t seen a real copy yet.
The Arrangement by Ruth van Beek
In the bookshop a couple of days a go I leafed through a couple of other great photo books. The Arrangement by Ruth van Beek for example I really like and would love to own.
Birds of the West Indies by Taryn Simon
I was also positively surprised by a new book by Taryn Simon called Birds of the West Indies. I am not a fan of her books as they seem to lack any artistic subjectivity. She created a huge inventory of the women, weapons and cars from the James Bond movies. The portraits of the former Bond girls are fascinating. I guess the book criticizes how both the Bond girls and the cars and weapons are treated as equally disposable items. Sometimes the book is even funny, but may be that is because the items are sometimes funny like a rolling pin as a weapon and 73 year old actress Jill St John in an awesome white trouser suit and a shirt extensively decorated with front rouches.
Food by Henk Wildschut
Henk Wildschut also published a new body of work in a book called Food. His last book was about shelter and now he researched and documented the food industry. At first glance you think the book attacks the food industry as there is hardly any food in these often rather sterile pictures, but Wildschut states that the subject is too complex for a black and white approach like organic food is healthier and the food industry cannot be animal or environmental friendly.
An Atlas of War and Tourism in The Caucasus by Rob Hornstra and Arnold Van Bruggen
What Rob Hornstra and Arnold Van Bruggen managed to do is incredible. For over five years they have been telling the story of Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games using crowd funding to find the budget for the project. An Atlas of War and Tourism in The Caucasus provides an overview of this unique project.
A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World by The Institute of Critical Zoologists
The last book on my list is A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World as published by The Institute of Critical Zoologists. Artist Robert Zhao Renhui is behind this institute that studies human beings and their desire to control nature. His work is sometimes a bit clinical as you may expect from an institute, but he is a very significant artist who creates fascinating work and who forces us to think about our strange desire to remake and remodel nature.
May be I should have taken additional borrowing.