Monday, 14 August 2017

Unfortunately not bound to please

The 'book' relates to an exhibition of photobooks at Barcelona's Centre for contemporary culture. The 'book' is actually eight loose sixteen page booklets and a fold-out poster (one has all the titles's credits) in a sealed cardboard box. You have to tear off one side of the box to access the booklets which have their cotton binding showing (it's as if they were printed but instead of binding them into a book they were left as individual sections and put in a box).

I found the contents a rather mixed bag of essays. Worth reading is Moritz Neumuller and Lesley Martin's overview of photobooks from the last few decades. Martin Parr looks at fifty seven books basically as detailed captions under a photo of each title. Markus Schaden and Frederic Lezmi essay has a go at a typographic interpretation of Klein's Life is good & good for you in New York by enlarging various words in an attempt to capture the visual pacing in Klein's title. Gerry Badger makes some good points in his essay on propaganda versus protest books. The other four books I thought somewhat elitist.

Perhaps all these illustrated essays would have more credence if they were actually presented as a proper book rather than unbound and in a sealed box. This unorthodox production is no more than a bit of designer whimsy and rather expensive, too.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Check every detail then CLICK

Ryan Schude and Gregory Crewdson seem to be the masters of tableau photography. The book has 102 photos and most are carefully choreographed situations with people frozen in motion. There are some portraits and eighteen shots with individuals and cars at the back of the book.

Schude, like Cewdson create amazing photographic dramas that pull the eyes into the image and you scan every part of it hoping to capture and maybe interpret correctly just what is going on but I think only Schude really knows. I haven't a clue about some of these images but I love the sheer nerve of the photographer in attempting (and succeeding) to capture lots of folk collectively doing everyday things at the same time for the camera. The front cover is a good example of this, it's called Phoot camp.

One of the nice things about looking at these photos is that repeat viewing throws up something you hadn't noticed before, usually an object, maybe partially obscured and away from the main focal point of the image. The back pages have thumbnails of all the photos with a title, date and location, the titles are mostly one word and don't offer any insight about the content.

The book is a handsome production, printed in Italy by Damiani with a three hundred screen on a silky matt art paper and it can be picked up quite cheaply, too.