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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Best Photobooks in the Last 10 years

The 10th anniversary of this blog is coming up. Yesterday I featured my best post, today, as I write, my favourite photobooks, in the last 10 years that have featured on the blog are:

Anne de Gelas: L'Amoureuse

L'Amoureuse by Anne De Gelas and published by Le Caillou Bleu is a book about loss. It's moving and heartfelt but also has a determination and hardness about it; the determination to confront unexpected and tragic loss, to be angry about it, to hate it, to accept it, to build it into one's life story and be able to move on to a place where the pain and anger is tinged with affection and love.

This is the basic story (rough translation from text above):

There is a never a right way to tell a child about the death of his father.

T., my lover and father of my son, died on April 5, 2010 of a brain stroke. He fell beside us on a beach at the North Sea. The violence of his death put me in front of a big void…a silence that echoed in my head only equal to the brightness of the blue sky which no planes crossed because of the ashes of a volcano in anger, my anger.

To face that loss, I plunged myself into the work that I had started more than 10 years ago consisting in writing a personal diary, now focussing on telling about my suffering but also about that surplus energy that burst within me.

Read more in A book that made me cry

Amak Mahmoodian: Shenasnameh

"I didn’t know it could be a book at first. I believe all good books start with some personal stories. It doesn’t matter if they are going to be successful or not, but each person must have a personal reason to create a book.

I started to collect the pictures with my friends and family and then friends of friends, in Tehran and then in other cities. At first I didn’t ask other women because I didn’t know if I had the right to ask other women.

As I collected them, I started to notice how different they were, especially in their look. It was really emotional for me, because in many cases I had their photograph but I had never met the woman. I would imagine her voice and her smile, her eyes, her life.  And then I would go and meet the woman and when I knocked at the door, it was like I was going to meet a photograph.

Sometimes I was really shocked because the woman was so different from the portrait I had imagined from the photograph. So each woman was different from another and then each woman was different from her photograph."

Read more about it here.

Ivars Gravlejs: Early works

"I'm from Latvia. It is normal there when you are in a strange place to ask if you can stay the night. So I am in Vienna. It's a strange place, yes, and I asked this Lithuanian guy if I can stay the night. And he says yes. So I get to his place and then he picks up my tablet. It's an Asus, just a cheap one. And he throws it against the wall. Look, it's smashed. And then he gets me by the neck and he's killing me. But I am lucky and I can get out. So I get out and go somewhere else. Then I see him today and he remembers nothing. I hope he will pay for a new tablet."

That's what Ivars Gravlejs said when I met him in Vienna. I was at a table with Michael Mack who called him over to show his new book, Early Works. And then I saw Early Works and the world has never been quite the same since. 

Ignacio Navas: Yolanda

Yolanda by Ignacio Navas is a modest book (Navas calls it a fanzine). It's about a woman called Yolanda, and it tells her story and that of her boyfriend, Gabriel. This is how the story ends:

She died December 6th, 1995. 

I already didn't like Christmas much, so from that year on, I haven't been able to stand it. 

It was hard, very hard. I was 25, very young. It was a mess.


Read more about Yolanda here

Vincent Ferrané: Milky Way

This hasn't featured on the blog but it's marvellous!

You can read about it here.

This is just a small selection of favourites based on what resonates with me at the moment, the books that popped into my mind when I thought about what I remembered, what went deep into my core in some way. There could be so many, many more books in here because everything that has featured on the blog has value, has a story, shows people expressing themselves through words, images and the book form in all its glory.

Thank you to everybody who I have spoken to about books, who has made books, who is working on books, who publishes books, who sells books. Thank you for all the books and thank you for your work and thank you for talking to  me about your work. It is a marvellous form of visual storytelling. There have been so many brilliant books in the last 10 years and there are still brilliant books now. Long may the book form continue.

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