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Monday, 30 January 2012

A Congo Road Trip




The above picture is by Kiripi Katembo - it's from a project on flooding in Kinshasa. I saw it on  Narrators Photo,  a blog started by Vicky Cheape that is dedicated to providing a wider platform for African photographers. The video below is also by Katembo; it's his mobile phone tied to a kid's cardboard car then pulled through the streets of Kinshasa.




You can see more of Katembo's work from Bamako 2011.


Anyway, I thought the Narrators Photo was such a great idea that I fired off a few questions to Vicky which she very kindly answered. 


Who and what is the Narrators Photo?  

Narrators started for the purpose of opening up some lines of communication between photographers based in Africa and a UK (Europe and the West) audience.  It is currently a very basic website. However, the main site should be online soon as will it's first physical exhibition in Glasgow.

How and why did you get started?

I noticed an increasing number of images, especially in photojournalism but also in the contemporary art field, being produced about Africa but from non-African photographers. To me, this seemed to be quite absurd.  I don't object to people photographing countries other than their own but there seems to be an enormous imbalance when it comes to Africa.  There is no lack of good photographers from every country in Africa but there does seem to be something stopping these projects and artists having presence over here. That is something Narrators is looking to help with.  


How do you find photographers?  Do you have connections with African photographers/curators?

I started from the most obvious photographers who were getting quite a lot of attention, such as Pieter Hugo and Zanele Muholi and worked through networks.  African networks are not dissimilar to our own in the UK; everyone knows everyone.  Facebook was actually a real help in finding photographers with no website or contact details.  

I have made some good connections with photographers based in and around Africa and the response has been terrific. I am hoping to get some curators onboard for the web exhibitions and perhaps to start some discussion.  I am acutely aware that I am not African! So I can only curate and exhibit in so many ways.

What are the differences in perspective between African photographers and non-African photographers?

I think when it comes to African photographers representing their own countries the viewpoints are much more different and complex than say a Westerner who visits for a few weeks.  As a side note I don't think there is such a thing as an 'African' photographer when it comes to content, the idea that there can be one homogeneous view of a continent.   

Who are the major influences on African photographers? Has the recent focus on African portrait photographers/South African photographers had an effect?

When speaking to a recent photographer, whose work deals with political unrest in Cameroon, he told me one of his influences was Nan Goldin!  Yes I can see a lot of Zwelethu Mthethwa influence in some portrait work and also some of Ryan McGinley's style as well.  There is a lot of experimentation as well and mixed art, photographers incorporating sculpture sometimes.

What are some major themes that African photographers are looking at?

Without trying to sound too cliched, 'identity' is a big theme I have noticed. However, that may be because the forthcoming exhibition features young photographers dealing with that exact issue and also being young myself I tend to pick up on that theme more.

What events have you got planned at narrators.com?

Our first exhibition will be held in Glasgow from the 12th April for two weeks but details have yet to be finalised.  We should hopefully have some interesting talks in the gallery and online.  I would love to hear feedback or suggestions so please e-mail info@narratorsphoto.com

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Leo Maguire and Telling the Story




I was so blown away by Leo Maguire’s (a Newport graduate)  Gypsy Blood that I decided to interview him. He was kind enough to talk. Here are his views on getting into a project, story telling, motivation and the huge reaction to the programme. 

Leo is supremely talented, brave and driven. If I'd worked this hard, and with this intensity, I would be so up for putting my feet up and having a bit of a rest. Not Leo. He's up and away and setting to work on more projects that build on some of the themes you can see in Gypsy Blood. We'll all be hearing a lot more of Leo in the years to come. 



"It took me more than a year just to shoot one photograph. I talked to so many people and they just didn’t want to know. They weren’t interested. It was very closed off. Then I found some people and started hanging out with them. Fred Butcher was such a larger than life character that he stood out. That helped me get in.

So I started shooting stills, but there was so much texture I was missing. I couldn’t get the dialogue, the humour, the warmth. So I started taking more and more video.

Then there was the awful night when Fred nearly got killed. I showed James Reed, an editor in Bristol, the footage and he really encouraged me to make a documentary so together we cut a teaser of what I had and I began showing it around to try and get some interest in what I was doing.

A girlfriend of mine who lived in the same building as Tim Hetherington, the co-director of Restrepo who was killed in Libya last year, showed the footage to him and he was so encouraging. He told me that I had something really special, something unique. His belief and encouragement gave me the confidence to pursue the project and try and make a film..

The first production companies I showed it to weren’t so keen. I would show the trailer and they’d say, “Oh no, not another Gypsy Wedding,” but then when I did get interest, the commissioning process was so quick it almost happened overnight.

Now I see myself as a photographer and a film-maker. I’m a storyteller and you can tell stories in so many ways. But I love film because there are so many possibilities. Film has taught me so much about story-telling because when you make a film you’re always thinking and analysing and reflecting. I didn’t always do that with my photography because I would just be thinking about taking a great picture.
There are quiet moments in the film, times when you don’t really know what is happening. There’s no voiceover to tell you what is going to happen or what just happened. I think that can really diminish a film because it’s important for there to be some mystery in the film. It’s more magical if you don’t understand what you’re seeing, if you have to discover the meaning for yourself.

The reactions to the film have been amazing. First of all the travelling community and the people in the film love it because it’s a true representation of their lives. They laugh at the funny scenes and they appreciate the tender scenes. They like that I don’t stitch them up. They’re really happy with it and that matters so much to me.

Gypsy Blood is about the travelling community but it is also about other things. There are so many layers to it. It’s about coming-of-age, fatherhood, masculinities, about a different way of life, about fathers being with their sons, it’s about love.

That’s why it there has been such a huge response to the programme. It was the second most talked about topic on Twitter the night it was shown and there were all kinds of comments – there was prejudice and racism, outrage about the scenes with animals and the children fighting.

But so many people understood the central message of the film. I was there for 2 years and the thing that struck me was how much the fathers loved their children, how much time they spent with them, how much energy they put into being a parent. There is an outcry about the children fighting but all the time I was there I never saw anyone abusing their children. Sure, the kids have to be tough because honour is such an important thing in the community. But at the same time, they have to be tough because if you aren’t you are going to suffer. Taking kids out hunting every day might seem alien to some people, but for them it is a  part of growing up and a way to be close and together in a natural environment.

That sense of honour and how important that is also came through in the film. I had an incredible email from a teacher who teaches travellers’ children and she was in tears because suddenly she understood how difficult it was for them. They were in school and they wanted to stay in school and learn, but they were torn because sometimes they’d get into fights. And if they wanted to stay in school, they had to back down or lose face, which is something that goes against that code of honour. She saw the film and hoped it would open the minds of other teachers and help them understand just how difficult life in school could be for the children.

The film was very personal for me, but it had to be. To do something as intense as that for 2 years, you have to have a personal interest. This was the culmination of a five-year dream.

Now I am working in film, but I still want to use photography as well. The problem is there is not the money around for long-term editorial photography projects anymore. There’s more money in film-making but at the same time, it is so intense. There are so many people you work with and it is about man management, time management, project management. But photography is hard and it’s not regular. With a film commission, you might have a year if you’re very lucky make a film, so for a year your income is stable. And if you make a good one, then you can make another and move up the film ladder."

Monday, 23 January 2012

"...which man could kick my ass and which female I would like to fuck"

 
"The first thing I do when I walk into a room is figure out which man could kick my ass and which female I would like to fuck. Sometimes this is so subconscious it is alarming."
 
What does it mean to be a man? Here are some of the answers from  Chad States' Masculinities.
My favourite is the one above.
 "I consider myself to be masculine because I spent time in the Marine Corps, I work out, I have a mohawk, I have tattoos. I'm a tattoo artist, I cuss a lot and that's all I can think of right now."
 
 
"I am masculine because I abandon women after taking their love. Because when you study Freud you don't let him study you. Because I study philosophy, not literature."


 See more pictures at Chad States' Masculinities and check out his Cruising series as well.

So then: What does it mean to be a man? 
Do post an answer below.


And a woman: What does it mean to be a woman? 

Do post an answer in the comments below.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Leo Maguire's Gypsy Blood




So I watched Leo Maguire's Gypsy Blood.last night. (see it here at Gypsy Blood if you are in the UK), and it's causing quite a stir - mainly because it's brilliant.

Animals are killed, children fight and the main character, Fred Butcher (in the top picture, Hughie Doherty below), almost gets beaten to death. But at the same time, it has sensitive, balanced, quiet moments where fears and doubts and vulnerabilities are expressed. This is the story Maguire tells, a story that, for all the nastiness, is nuanced and gets under the skin of ideas of fatherhood, masculinity and honour - and the contradictions inherent in those ideas, and how the main characters, Fred in particular, understands and grapples with those contradictions.  It's not just a nasty, glamorising spectacle of violence in other words. Maguire is properly good and I get the feeling that the world is going to hear a lot more from him.

Read about Gypsy Blood in Broadcast Now .

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

"Do not complicate things and you will be paid very well"



Binyavanga Wainaina, the Kenyan writer, also talks about South Africa in his memoir,  One Day I Will Write About This Place.

Wainaina studied there in the 90s, just as apartheid was coming to an end and a mythical 'Rainbow Nation' was being born.

"South Africans are infatuated with their new trajectory. Like Americans, they see the whole world in their country, and seem perpetually surprised that other peole are in their country. I will always be a foreigner. Even after ten years. I am tired of moving around. I want to be home. Just to be home."


South Africa, home and the Rainbow Nation are also central to Afrikaner Blood, a multimedia piece byElles van Gelder and  Ilvy Njiokiktjien for the Daily Telegraph.






At first glance, the video appears to be a case of Wainaina's How Not to Write About Africans, except that it's about white people and Wainaina notes In How Not to Write... that "...‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans."

You watch the video and think, "Get away, a racist Afrikaner with a beard and a private army. Who'd have thought it?"

But then you watch some more and they speak to the kids, and some are really not that into it. One of them has black friends and another comes up with Rainbow Nation rhetoric. It's disturbing but the Colonel's audience is not as willing as one might expect. The Colonel tries to poison their minds, but I'm guessing a lot of the kids in the video aren't going to be coming back for second helpings. Eugene Terre'blanche must be twizzling in his grave.

The film's not exactly subtle, but it's not entirely expected either. It confirms one's expectations but at the same time it's a flip side of the Africa and Afrikaners one is led to expect - it makes you want to imagine where these kids live, who they live with, what pressures they live under.

In the same way, that's what Wainaina does with his memoir. He takes us into a different Africa from that of suffering, starvation and misery. But at the same time he lets us know how all that fits into a world where people go shopping, enjoy meals, go to work, get drunk, smoke spliffs, watch TV and live a normal life filled with the normal types of dysfunction and dissatisfaction. 

Wainaina also describes his writing career and how, after winning a prize, he started writing for magazines.

'I am traveling a lot now, sometimes on magazine assignments. I always look for reasons to travel in Africa. 


One day a very nice Dutch man calls me up. "Are you Binya-wanga? The writer?"


"Yes."


"Oh. I heard about your work. I work for the European Union Humanitarian Something. I want to produce a book about Sudan, about sleeping sickness in Sudan."


"I don't really do development writing," I say.


"Oh, no, no. We want a proper... African writer to write a book about what he sees. You know, literature. We will publish it and pay for everything. You will go with a photographer. It will be something different. Powerful. Literature and photographs."


"You mean you will pay, and I can write whatever I see?"


"Yes."

So off he goes and he is shocked by what he sees, especially in South Sudan, which at the time was not a recognised country. He writes what he likes and sends the text to the nice Dutch man. Then Wainaina is called to a meeting.

"They are also concerned about language... some.... improper.. unseemly.... language. Many things are not in line with EU policy. They have a proposition. Scrap the book. Keep the money. What they can do is fund an awareness-raising photo exhibition. And for the exhibition I can write a few paragraphs - within the parameters of EU policy on Sudan, of course. You keep your full fat fee, of course. I them to fuck off in seemly language. I raise the money elsewhere, and kiwani publishes the book."


I start to understand why so little good literature is produced in Kenya. The talent is wasted writing donor-funded edutainment and awareness-raising brochures for seven thousand dollars a job. Do not complicate things and you will be paid very well."






Which all leads rather unnaturaly to Viviane Sassen's Parasomnia, a visual feast that is nothing to do with anything, and everything to do with something.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Books of the Year, 2012







After all the lively, meandering debate of the previous post ( a post that not everybody agreed with - see  Conscientious here and eyecurious here), it's time to go Old-School for an early contender for the best-of-lists of 2012. And I do like lists.



The book's called Billy Monk and it's published by Dewi Lewis.Billy Monk was a hard nightclub bouncer in Cape Town in the 1960s. One day he decided to start photographing instead of bouncing. The pictures are little windows into a peculiar corner South African life in the 1960s, a strange place where the Immorality Act meets the stifling worlds of Raymond Carver and Richard Yates short stories, but with  race, drugs and gangs thrown into the mix.



 This is what David Goldblatt says about it.

“These are photographs by an insider of insiders for insiders. If inhibitions were lowered by the seemingly vast quantities of brandy and Coke that were imbibed, trust, nevertheless, is powerfully evident. Not simply in the raucous tweaking of bared breasts, or the more guarded but evident ‘togetherness’ of two bearded men, as well as the open flouting of peculiarly South African sanctions such as prohibitions on interracial sex. It is also present in the quiet composure of many of the portraits. People seemed to welcome and even bask in Monk’s attentions.”


See more pictures here.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Introspective, navel-gazing nitpickers



While researching my feature for this month's BJP on small publishers I spoke to German publisher/bookshop owner/gallerist Markus Schaden. Markus thinks that for the current wave of new photobook publishers to be sustainable, there has to be a new audience, and for that audience to be reached, photobooks have to be of interest to the population at large, not just he current photobook buying public.


So people have to buy books because they really want to see them, not because they have been recommended in an end-of-year list, or because they are collectible. In Blake Andrews best-photobook list satire, he mentions Jacob and Visarro's Lune de Miel (how long does it take him to come up with this stuff); This is what he says:

"Published in a small run of 20 books, each of which was presold to important photo tastemakers like myself, chances are you'll never see this book. But everyone agrees it's good. The first picture is some kind of dog near a red wall, then the next one looks like Instanbul at night or something. I don't know. Anyway I can't describe every photo without removing the shrinkwrap all the way but just take everyone's word for it. Lune de Miel is one for the ages"
 
It's a satire, but it also rings alarmingly true. I have books that are still in their shrink-wrap, bought because I know they are collectible, come heavily recommended by key taste-makers and will increase in value. I know people who buy books which they don't even think of looking at, but pack away for some mythical future date of sale. I know people who buy two copies of the more precious books - one to look at, one to keep shrink-wrapped at a future date. 

It's a despicable state of affairs and a horrible way of thinking. But at the same time, there is also a sense that there is a cabal of photobook taste makers (which on its lower slopes includes writers and bloggers such as myself) who continue to foster this way of thinking - not deliberately but through some weird mechanism (that we the reader creates ) that combines envy, desire and unattainable genius. We have diminished the photobook to something even worse than the fetish that the gallery print once was.

We also contribute to the continuing introspective nature of photobooks. I watched the classic Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol over the holidays. Near the beginning, the ghost of Jacob Marley berates Scrooge for not going out into the world, for introspecting over his money and gold. Well, it's the same with photobooks. They don't always address the world as it is, but rather introspect over the mechanics of how and why the photobook and its narratives operate.

And perhaps taste makers are partly to blame for that. But at the same time, if somebody likes a book, then they like it. If Markus Schaden, Martin Parr and Alec Soth all like a book at the same time, then there might be a reason for it. They know much more about photobooks than you or I and have much more access to new photobooks than you or I.


So why complain? They are not to blame. But there is a sense that sometimes people only like certain books  because Markus, Martin, Alec or whoever like them. They follow blindly, and when they follow their blindly, it ends up with a closed circle of sycophancy - a North Korean nightmare where 50,000 bloggers can't be wrong. 


But 50,000 bloggers can be wrong. For example, I recognise that the top book in many of  the Marc Feustel's end of yearslists is Christian Patterson's Redheaded Peckerwood. And I bought it pretty much on the basis of recommendations of various people. But having bought it and read all the acclaim for it, I pretty much feel that I should like it, that I have to like it. But I don't like it. I can see how clever it is, how well-made and thoughtully sequenced it is, how complex the range of visual devices used to tease out a classic story. Still, I don't like it. I don't warm to it. The text doesn't grab me, and nor do the pictures or the diverse ways in which they connect. It leaves me cold, which I feel frustrated by because when I read of the endless interviews and research Christian did in making the book - the interviews and research that he didn't include in the book, it  leaves me wondering why. I loved the film Badlands (  which inspired Christian's book) but find it difficult to relate to Peckerwood. 


And why should I relate to it? It's a difficult book in some ways, and different people have different tastes. Peckerwood hits the spot on so many other people that it doesn't have to hit mine. So why blame taste makers, as long as they are saying what they think.But if they're not saying what they think, if they are just saying what they think should be said, well yes, let's blame them. Anyone's fair game when that happens.

But if taste makers are sometimes to blame, then why aren't photographers? Stick a bunch of photographers together and half the time they will start arguing about what is real, what is true, what is art, what is documentary, what is ethical, what is allowed (not much), what isn't allowed (almost everything), what is elitist, what isn't. These are all vitally important issues, but there is only so much time of the day that one should spend on them. The rest of the time one should spend on more interesting and worldly things. So when some photographers get into this mode of being, the what's ethical and what's not finger pointing kind of deal, that is the half of the time that they are introspective, navel gazing nitpickers.

And whilst they're talking about this, the far more interesting stories of the people they have met, the experiences they have had, the places they have been, will be lost. I wonder if people aren't a bit shy of being enthusiastic and excited, if they have been condemned to consider everything through some mythical ethical eye-of-coolness. 

Half the time,. they will be introspective, navel gazing nitpickers. However, the rest of the time, they might be visionary, life affirming prophets. I am constantly speaking to people and getting that sense of wonder, that visual sense of being out in the world producing work that challenges and excites and invigorates. It might not always be the work that gets into the top photobook lists, but it is awe-inspiring and brave. And it is of this world. So I suppose all we need to do is choose what we like and not let it be determined too much by a closed circle of taste makers. Because if we do that, we'll all be stuck there yearning for a copy of Jacob and Visarro's Lune de Miel, printed in an unattainable edition of 20 that are stuck shrink wrapped in the hands of people we envy but despise because we want a copy and we don't have a copy and we can't get a copy. 

So rather than complain about the introspective nature of photobooks or the endless discussions on the nature of work, we should not follow others but should instead go out into the world and find work that interests and inspires us on its own account, not the account of others. And if we can't see that work, or find that work, if it's not available to us except through the word of others, then perhaps we should just let it pass us by. If you can't touch it, it's not really there.  

Monday, 9 January 2012

Books you cannot Touch




I was reading in the paper at the weekend about Lady Antonia Fraser’s holiday in Mexico. She got converted to Kindle when she saw all the beautiful people using them. She realised she was the only one who was reading a dog-eared paperback and that when it was finished she wouldn’t have anything else to read. 

I understand her sentiment and remember when I was travelling around Asia the problem of what to read was never far away. Sometimes I’d do a book swap and end up with some sub-Hobbit abomination. I remember reading Peter Carey’s terrible book about a mouse (it’s Peter Carey so it has to be good, right?), and am stilled scarred from reading A.S. Byatt. There were times when a Kindle would have been a lifesaver.

But then I wouldn’t have made serendipitous discoveries such as Howard Kunstler’s the Geography of Nowhere (which I got in a guesthouse in Flores) or the works of Jose Rizal or R.K.Narayan, which I first read after trips to bookshops in the Philippines and India. I would have missed out on the weird randomness and social interaction of bookswaps, bookshops and book-spotting.  I’d have had the convenience of a thousand books at my fingertips but there would have been losses as well. 

Dewi Lewis made a similar point when I talked to him about small publishers last month, that for all the new methods of distribution, marketing and selling, bookshops are still essential to the selling of photobooks.

Many people liken the rise of small photobook publishers to music and fanzine culture in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I remember that time. I remember the local element of fanzines, the obscure records and the labels that printed them. I also remember the record shops where you could buy this stuff, the shops in Stockport and Manchester where I used to buy them, but also the fact that every reasonably sized town in the UK had its own alternative record store where you could get local fanzines, records and the like. And that localness, that sense of place is what made fanzine and music culture so special. Manchester, Liverpool  Leeds, Brighton, Coventry all had their own particular qualities that made them special. The music and the fanzines were the voice of the cities they emerged from.

In that respect, the new wave of small publishers is nothing like the fanzine and music culture of the 1970s and 80s. For one thing, it doesn't  have that essential local element. Secondly, much is made of the necessity of the book as a printed thing, something that is tactile, something you can touch and feel, but that rhetoric is contradicted by the lack of availability. There is online distribution of books, but not the shops that stock them. In the UK, there are some big city galleries and speciality bookstores where some books will be stocked but the unless you live in London the availability is strictly limited.  The other major way of showing work, bookfairs, is very much a London thing at present. 

In effect publishers are producing something tactile that can’t be touched. And when you have books printed on newsprint, eccentric bindings and printing techniques that can be patchy, one does need to see before one buys. 

Big bookshop chains are not the solution – they have their own problems and seem unable to compete with the monster that is Amazon. So what about small bookshops? Will they be able to meet the needs of small publishers? And will they be able to do so on a truly national, not just metropolitan, scale? I hope so.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Photobook Review


More good things came to me from Helka Aleksd├│ttir who so very kindly sent me a copy of  the Aperture Photobook Review.
It's a great magazine that looks at Photobooks, especially those from smaller publishers. Many things caught my eye. However, Gerry Badger's comments on Reading a Photobook and what makes a good photobook really struck me. 
He says that reading a photobook is a mix of watching a film and reading a book, that it combines appreciation of individual pictures with "following the story that is being told, negotiating not only a trail of facts, but also a labyrinth of signs and symbols."

Badger also quotes Gossage's perspective on the photobook; "First, it should contain great work. Secondly it should make that work function as a concise world within the book itself. Thirdly, it should have a design that complements what is being dealt with. And finally, it should deal with content that sustains an ongoing interest."
 Badger also mentions Gossage's view that a photobook should be "a world of its own", an imaginary work, a fiction. Mmm, well we all know that all photography is propaganda and unreliable, lacking inauthenticity and truthfulness.
So having the photobook inhabit this self-contained world seems fair enough. But viewing everything as fiction, as propaganda is something of a leap of faith, more of a leap of faith than the converse. It is a leap of faith that cons us into thinking that our trickery and deception is so clever that the viewer is unable to see it - and not just for now, but for ever more as well.
But we can see it, we do see it. When we think about it we see it all the time, every day in the newspapers, on advertising hoardings, on labels, in magazines. We don't see everything, but we see alot. When we don't think about it, as we don't most of the time, it catches us unaware and we fall for it - unawares. 
But just because something is propaganda doesn't mean it's not true. The propaganda, the lie, the deceit is right at the heart of what we see. It's built in, part of the world, a solid, almost tangible aspect of a way of thinking and seeing and being. We know this when we choose to know it but sadly most of the time we're like mug punters betting on the wrong horse; we know it's going to lose but still we back it. 
Perhaps it would be better to flick things round and see the truth evident in photography, not the fiction - and lies might be part of that truth. In our everyday life, that is how we see the world, deceit and all. It seems to take a somewhat mystical view of the world and its photographic representations not to see photography and photobooks for what they are - no matter what design, sequencing and textual trickery they might employ - as solid representations of fairly straightforward routine series of photographic conventions.
Making the photobook not a thing-in-itself, but an object of the world that attaches to the world will help widen the audience for photography. And while photography as a whole has a huge audience, photography of the kind this blog, or the Photobook Review, talks about has a very limited audience. 
That limited audience is apparent in the countless lists of best photobooks of 2011 (here's a great summary of those lists from Marc Feustel ), some of which have editions of 50 or even less and are for an audience that is very limited in number by definition of their form. But for all the great design, layout and tricks with paper, the trickery, investigations and subterfuge cannot disguise that almost all the books mentioned have an outrageously strong connection to the non-fictional world. 
So there is an attempt to fictionalise the world, mainly by using fictional rhetoric (of the novel, the film, the archive, visual semantics, the endlessly self-referential), but that fictionalisation never achieves full realisation. 
 It will be nice to see people crystallising this attempted fictionalisation and escaping the closed circle of the photobook world and actually making photobooks that have a real fictional edge - Jackie Magazine in the 1970s kind of thing will do, Love on the Left Bank would be perfect.
So, in conclusion, it's great to see the Photobook Review. It's marvellous and right on the money. At the same time, it will be interesting to see how it develops and how it will escape the closed photobook circle and find an audience beyond the converted. Because that's what it needs.
A final note on photobooks. Blake Andrews has a wonderful end-of-year best of list here. What is most shocking for me is how long it took me to realise that this is part of Blake's very own special collection and everything is sold out. I was so looking forward  to buying Eping by the Missis, Harvey Kenmore's square format crop of Alec Soth's classic Sleeping by the Mississipp. Old ou!



Wednesday, 4 January 2012