Photobooks of 2018: David Solo
The state of the photobook world is strong. That was my verdict at Photobook:Reset in Berlin in September and I think born out in reviewing books from 2018. A consistent string of diverse, strong books are a testament to a vibrant environment. As a collector based in NY, a personal selection from the shelves:
Square Octagon Circle by Ellie Ga
She has been working for a number of years on a series of projects relating to the Pharos lighthouse. This image-text book integrates contemporary photographs, a range of text, archival and other found images into a set of compelling stories and designs.
Abend Der Worte by Rafa Tanaka Monzo and Matilde Vittoria Laricchia
Perhaps I need a category for my favorite Origini Edizioni book of the year. Quoting one of the texts in the book “Nearly a silence shines in the depth. The end has found its beginning” – Paul Klee
The Pyramids and Palm Trees Test by Bruno V. Roels
Roels’ work has focused on palms for a long time and the subtle exploration of variations and various interventions merging photography and drawing (often as grids). This book manages both to capture the sense you get looking at his work and exploit the book form to take it further.
Behind the Glass by Alexandra Catiere
Engaging with the book starts with figuring out the design and how to look at it with each page being both its own spread and a larger foldout image. This works only because of the depth of the images – experienced in whatever order – and the underlying sense of quiet emotions.
Aura by David Jimenez
The third (and increasingly?) mysterious book from Jimenez, this time in a larger (33x24cm) format. It again works and engages due to the layered and thoughful nature of the images.
In Search of Frankenstein – Mary Shelley’s Nightmare by Chloe Dewe Mathews
Her inspired pairing of the results of her residency in Switzerland with the Frankenstein manuscript, and the exploration of the many linkages and tangents make this a book worth repeatedly returning to.
White Gaze by Michelle Dizon and Viet Le
A photo-poetry book – leveraging a National Geographic appearance – taking a wide ranging path through colonialism and its legacy. The interplay of the images, text and design work strongly together.
Intercepted by Nadja Bournonville
A deft exploration – via intriguing images – of the worlds of shadows, secrets and the invisible with reference to
family history and the history of photography.
43-35 10th Street by Daniel Shea
An exploration of development and transformation in cities, especially LIC in NY this is also an extended set of investigations of architectural and other forms. The book weaves together multiple threads (and papers and other juxtapositions) to create a very successful artist book.
Special category: No More, No Less – a collaboration between the artists Kensuke Koike and Thomas Sauvin along with 3 publishers (the(m) editions, Jiazazhi, and Skinnerboox) willing to create their own version of the same material without any discussion provided both 3 excellent individual books as well as a superb case study in the role of the designer.
David Solo is a Brooklyn based collector of photography, contemporary Japanese and Chinese art, and especially artist and photo books. He is actively involved with a number of institutions in London and New York as well as individual photobook research and publishing projects.
Images: top – David Jiminez – Aura, below: Michelle Dixon & Viet Le – White Gaze, Daniel Shea – 43-35 10th Street