Best photo books: Summer 2022

In this month’s collection of photobooks, we take a look at an expanded, annotated collection of Alec Soth’s work; A collection of photos by famous photographers all shot on “The Other Film” (Polaroid); Flowers in Contemporary Photography. Antigone Coraco’s surreal black and white portraits of women and nature; Curran Huttleberg’s photos of Summer Days for Dogs; And classic monochrome images by Bill Brandt.

Spread by Alec South
Spread by Alec South Collected papers explained. © Alec South

In 2015, Mac . published stacked leaves, set of four “Miniature Facsimile” books by Alec South, with 29 oversized postcards. This new book Collected papers explained, compiles five of Soth’s books, with annotations. Printed in color on newsprint, it’s not a good looking picture book, but a working copy for people who want to dig deeper. This is like the director’s commentary on the DVD set of official releases, excerpts, demos, and b-sides. Includes handwritten notes and comments, emails, articles, and more.

Discover the stories behind Soth’s images and themes and learn about original titles from books—Sleeping near the Mississippi River At first to be called From here to there. There’s also a full-color map with pushpins showing the locations where he took his photos. This is not a photo book so much as a book about taking photos, and photographers who admire Soth’s work will want to check out this to learn more about his thoughts and motivations.

Polaroid book cover.  40 ed.
casing Polaroid book. 40 ed. © Barbara Hitchcock

Related: Polaroid Go offers instant fun and convenience with a few small caveats

Known by many as “The Other Movie,” Polaroid served generations who wanted instant gratification from their cameras. Now updated in its 40th edition, this book presents a selection from the Polaroid Corporation’s photography collection, which contains more than 23,000 photos from hundreds of photographers.

Polaroid has attracted photographers such as Ansel Adams, Judith Black, Harry Callahan, Paul Caponigro, Barbara Crane, Eliot Erwin, Robert Frank, Ralph Gibson, and many more. In particular, the SX-70, released in 1972, was used by artists such as Andy Warhol, Linda McCartney, and Wim Wenders, to provide instant images in a powerful format. A chapter on the history of Polaroid cameras traces the evolution of this unique form of instant photography.

William A. Ewing and Danny Bunchod, Flora Futurica – 272 pages, hardcover (Thames & Hudson)

Spread from Flora Photographyica from William A. Ewing.
spread from Flora Futurica. © William A.Ewing & Danaé Panchaud

If there is a permanent subject for photographers, it is flowers. With their short life and glorious colors, flowers are the perfect source of inspiration. It can be treated as still life, like portraits, or like explosions of color, as Cig Harvey did in her latest book. bluish violet.

Flora Futurica It takes a look at the history of the flower in contemporary photography, with works by more than 120 photographers, such as Cindy Sherman, Thomas Ruff, Vic Muniz, Valerie Bellin, Vivian Sassin, and Martin Schuyler. In thematic chapters, such as Roots and Arrangement, In Full Bloom, and Reverie, author William A.Ewing explores the broad genre of flower photography that ranges from simple studies of flower arrangements to surreal compositions where she adds flowers to intricate montages.

Antigone Korako transfiguration – 120 pages, hardcover (press the skeleton key)

From Antigone Korako
From “Transfiguration” by Antigone Korako © Antigone Coraco

The photos in Antigone Korako look timeless transfiguration, as if they could have been by Edward Weston or Bill Brandt. These stark images often alternate between people – mostly women – and snapshots of the natural world. Topics are often brought up theatrically as if they wanted to take root.

Many of the images in this book feature an element of surrealism or fantasy, the feeling that things are a little skewed, with themes acting as symbols, and where natural elements take on more power than they seem at first glance. The images are sequenced in this book as if there was a hidden narrative that repeated explorations would unravel. As the photographer says, “These images are carefully arranged and sequenced throughout with depictions of water, stone, trees, plants, fire, and ramshackle interiors softly aiding the book’s poetic arc.”

Curran Hettelberg river dream – 152 pages, hardcover (TBW Books)

A page from Curran River Hattlberg's dream.
Page from Curran Hatleberg’s river dream. © Curran Huttelberg

Curran Hatleberg saturated colors river dream You bring a sense of moisture to these photos, many of which feature water in one form or another. Rivers, swamps, and dampness are in this series of photos taken on summer days when dogs live.

This series of pigment prints, which appeared at the 2019 Whitney Biennale, includes photographs taken on a number of road trips across the United States, yet they all appear to belong to the same community. The images alternate between ordinary people doing ordinary things, and grotesque images of junk and ruin. There is a sense of immediacy in the images of people eating together, playing games, and sitting on the balconies talking. But there is something unsettling in the images of a beekeeper covered in bees, or a gigantic snake, first in the swamp, then in the bathtub, and then in the hands of a man sitting in the car.

Bill Brant, shadow light – 207 pages, hardcover (MoMA)

The Shadow and Light of Bill Brant.
Bill Brandt shadow light. © Bill Brant

Bill Brandt was born in Germany. He met Ezra Pound in Vienna in the late 1920s, whose introduction led him to help Man Ray in Paris for several months in 1930. A few years later, he moved to England, where he made his name depict rich and poor, with several artists.

Brandt’s work, as shown in this exhibition catalog from the Museum of Modern Art, covers many major themes. He portrayed London in the 1930s, both the wealthy at home and at play, as well as the working classes in pubs. His photographs in northern England, from the late 1930s, show stark buildings, squalid miners, and poverty.

During World War II, he filmed raiding, both in the streets and in subway stations where people were sheltering. In the 1940s, he made several portraits of celebrities; Writers, politicians, artists and others. And his work in landscapes is not forgotten for his use of contrast, and his ability to create attractive forms in the natural world. He also photographed many nude photos, using strong lighting, exploring the natural distortion of wide-angle lenses, and taking close-ups of body parts. This book provides a fascinating overview of the career and diverse subjects of one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.

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