Wednesday, April 16, 2008

5 Great Expectations and another book give away

The spring books are well on their way. There are still a few out there that I am really excited about seeing. I figured why not make room for these incoming books by giving away a few. Below are my 5 great expectations, a list ranging from the more established photo book producers to the first time monograph. Keep in mind this list may inevitably end up being a disaster once the boxes open and reveal utter failures. Come up with your list of five great expectations and the best list wins. Judged by yours truly, the winner gets 100 lbs of Misrach on the Beach...signed! Just send $95.99+tax for shipping and handling. Just kidding. Good luck and here goes.

5 Great Expectations:

Ryan McGinley by Ryan McGinley

It’s a guilty pleasure. If you really want to judge me, FutureSex / LoveSounds has been on repeat on my ipod for the last month so judge away! I haven’t seen a mock up or anything in the form of a book except for the show at Team Gallery. The opening was a madhouse and I felt overweight with the throngs of lolitas rubbing up against each other. What you could see of the work fell in the shadows by the casts of characters standing in front of their photographs. Back to the book, when I heard Twin Palms was going to be releasing it and not some ultra hip new publishing house backed by Sophia Coppola I thought about the possibilities of these gorgeous images translating to that Twin Palms paper. By now you know what I fan I am of Steidl, but Twin Palms is sure to do this book the justice it deserve.

There I Was
by Collier Schorr

Full disclosure, Collier is a friend for a long time and I have seen most of the work in this book already. I am still very much looking forward to its release. As mentioned in many blogs there is a real concern about when photographers stick with what works and stop expanding on their own vision. This most recently came up with all the discussions around the current Crewdson show in New York. Schorr is an artist who has had critical acclaim as well as mass appeal. I honestly do believe that once those art review praises begin to translate to the rise in print sales it is hard to leave it behind and take chances on what might be a failure. There I Was is a departure in all aspects from subject matter to production levels. What it is not a departure from, is the fully realized body of work that Schorr is capable of producing in whatever she sets out to. This book is surely going to be on the level of what we should expect from my dear old friend.

CDG / JHE By JH Engström

Engström is one of the few photographers out there that is really thinking about the photography book as a complete body of work and not a series of photographs bound together with cardboard. The body of work comes from spending three weeks living in a hotel at the Charles de Gaulle Airport and photographing the terminals. If the history of photography books by JH Engström tells us anything it is that this book will be as well thought from design to completion as anything produced today. Remember when you bought the new sonic youth album just because, before you even heard a track? Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

Bureaucratic's by Jan Banning

Ok, so when Parr puts his stamp on it, we pretty much know it is going to be up to par. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Honestly though, can someone please take Kathy Ryan off of all those most important people in photography lists and put Martin on the top. Have we reduced the goals of art photography to a series of photographs in the New York Time Magazine? Sorry for the rant but there is some real truth there. This is the 3rd of Martin Parr’s series of books that he is recommending to be published by Nazraeli. The first one was reviewed by the much-admired 5B4. The 2nd was the beautiful Asako Narahashi book Half Awake and Half Asleep in the Water. Bureaucratic's by Jan Banning embodies the typology aspect of photography that I think has caused much of the demise of photo education over the past 15 years. I am usually quite dismissive of this type of post-Becher conceptualism. Generally I feel as if it is taking the easy way out. This series however is one of the few examples of when it works it works well. I have seen a few of these images and was pretty excited to learn that Parr had selected it for the series. It truly is a contemporary document presented in the purest form. “...The subjects in the photographs are all civil servants holding executive power... Each subject is posed behind his or her desk, within their bureaux: the rooms from which they exercise their (substantial or very limited) power.”

Meadowlands by Joshua Lutz

Joshua Lutz is perhaps the least known from this list and the one persons book that I am most excited to see. From what I can tell his first monograph titled Meadowlands is somewhere between the best of Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi and Ethridge’s Rockaway, NY. I saw some of the images at a show when visiting a colleague at Sarah Lawrence College. To say I was blown away is an understatement. I knew I had seen the name somewhere and then remembered that it was from the Powerhouse order list. If this book is done with the care, attention to detail and subtle nuances that I saw in the show, it will quickly become one of the best photography books of the year. My fingers are crossed on this one.