Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Elisa's Top 5 Photobooks

Cristina De Middel - The Afronauts 

Cristina De Middel - The Afronauts (Self published)
A re-imagined reportage on the Zambian Space Program project, it tells the fascinating story of an impossible project in a visually smart and beautiful way. The book itself, edited with Laia Abril and designed with Ramon Pez, is a real gem. Photographs are accompanied by documents, letters, collages and drawings: every detail shed new light on the adventure, while at the same time things are not really what they seem. This book also says a lot about documentary reportages, fiction, hipstamatic, story-telling and visual literacy. Whoever managed to get their hands on a copy of the first very small edition is lucky indeed.

AMC2 Issue 4 Collected Shadows
When I saw the exhibition project Collected Shadows by the Archive of Modern Conflict in Paris, I immediately thought of the Atlas of Mnemosyne by Aby Warburg. The curatorial project is also a book, in the form of the 4th issue of the AMC2 Journal. The book form is no less fascinating: the design acts as a guide in a fantastic journey through the four elements as well as divinity, astrology, dance, flight and nature. The collection spans the early 1850s to the present day and are from both known and unknown photographers; but this stays as background information as the experience is already complete, and beautiful, by getting lost in the photographs.

Daisuke Yokota - Back Yard
Back Yard is Daisuke Yokota's self published zine, the first one being Self. He has a distinct signature of B&W, rough and high contrast photography with a dreamy, and at times uncanny, atmosphere. The zines reflect his approach to photography: images are rephotographed, photoshopped, altered, photocopied so that the final result is a multilayered impression in Xerox. Lo-fi, but high quality photography.

Ron Jude - Lick Creek Line
As Nicholas Muellner wrote in his essay, "The scene seems to last forever - a caravaggesque rendering of some minor myth, in which the horror and splendor supersede the particulars of the obscure narrative". I simply loved this book.

Anne Sophie Merryman - Mrs. Merryman's Collection
There is a fascinating story behind this collection, and the mystery it encompasses, but the book form is the one that really fascinated me. Beautifully printed with a very simple but rigorous layout on great, thick paper that holds secrets.

Elisa Medde


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