A LOOK AHEAD TO THE BEST PHOTOBOOKS OF 2015
Life in Everwood - Ryan McGinley
This groundbreaking book contains the signature colourful portraits of pretty twenty-somethings with some forest animals thrown in for good measure. McGinley’s incessant romanticism of nudity and the empty landscape is yet again further expanded on to the point where we begin to wonder if this is a test of endurance. “How much of the same thing can we tolerate?” becomes a question that is suddenly retro-actively applied to previous projects as he unfolds this new interpretation of his career work.
144 pages, hardcover.
The Obelisk - Gregory Crewdson
This goliath of a book measures in a 32x45 inches and details Crewdson’s journey to photograph a series of self-constructed underwater cityscapes. By far his most ambitious project to date, the Amazon-funded work is as vast as it was expensive, though the structuring of the contract behind the series allowed Amazon to recoup most of its investment before the launch date thanks to the record-high sales (€750k per print) through their in-house art-auction department, DRUID.
Notably, these ethereal images were rumoured to inspire Baz Luhrmann’s dramatic retelling of The Little Mermaid which is due out next summer.
196 pages, woven seaweed hardcover, comes packaged with fossilised seahorse suspended in rosewater.
€250.00 (Amazon Only)
Retrospective - William Eggleston
Much was made of the court case regarding Apple’s right to do whatever they wanted with their recently purchased Eggleston Collection, however, this much sought-after limited edition app puts new life into the grumpy genius’ work and coming in at 10,997 images, you certainly get your money’s worth.
€12.99 (Download from App Store only)
The Venus Diaries - James Franco
Franco’s decision to document his year living as woman was too much for VICE to pass up and the pairing of publisher and content seemed like a perfect match from the outset. While hit-and-miss in terms of reviews, this book has at least gotten everyone’s attention, which is exactly what you’d expect from a VICE book.
220 pages, softcover.
Misfigurement - Joan Fontcuberta
Fontcuberta’s falsified archive of wounded Vietnam veterans undergoing radical limb regeneration experiments maintains the visual acuity that previously earned him the Hasselblad Award. While this book initially requires the viewer to consent that this was a JFK-authorised experiment and that the subsequent assassination of the president came as a result of this, it’s hard to flaw the substantial amount of work that went into this book.
377 pages, hardcover with metal plating and dog tags.
Collected American Selfies 1999-2007 - Taschen (Edited by Martin Parr)
This glimpse into the early days of web-based self-portraiture provides a snapshot of the American zeitgeist in a predominantly post-9/11 and irony obsessed world. The massively mediated and manipulated task of the taking a self-portrait is highlighted through Martin Parr’s selection of appropriated portraits collected through the GoogleGrab program. The book’s main focus seems to be on the secondary representation of self through the barrier and distortion of mirrors. It’s a clever element to include and really ties the narcissism of the medium together in a way a lot of self-portrait projects fail to reference.
310 pages, hardcover.
Brandon Stanton vs. The World - Michael Pemulis
This book traces the journey of Brandon Stanton from his days working under the name ‘Humans of New York’ to an attempt at realising his impossible dream, beginning with the cataloging of the North American population. We see a sleepless Stanton hard at work preparing the prototype full-body photobooths that he had planned to install on street-corners across the US, Canada and Mexico before the much publicised budget blow-out the project suffered as a result of the photobooth recall just days before the project went live. Pemulis’ images grant the viewer unprecedented access to the man behind the lens and we’re treated to a depiction of the exhausted Stanton as an almost Howard Hughes-esque figure.
196 pages, hardcover.
Porn.0 - Noah Kalina
Blurring lines between hardcore pornography and high-art, Kalina delivers a book that is remarkably self-aware of its subject matter. Given that it’s one of the most grossly misrepresented areas of interest, even in the “documentary” genre, this refreshing take on the dirty secret of America is generated mostly due to the hiring of well-known adult industry film stars to perform for the camera. This is certainly a book that initial reviewers misunderstood as an excuse for male gaze but it’s hard to justify such narrow viewpoints with the understated yet rich narratives that are contained here. Kalina’s willingness to let the viewer observe the presence of the camera, whether it’s through reflections, flashes or equipment left in the shot, Porn.0 maintains a feeling that this book is neither documentary, nor fiction, but something else entirely.
175 pages, softcover.
Original image by Justin Sullivan was taken from here.