Photobooks of 2018: Esther Teichmann and Christopher Stewart
My Birth by Carmen Winant – SPBH Editions and ITI Press
Produced in parallel with Winant’s stunning installation for MOMA’s Being: New Photography 2018. This book is a collage of images of pregnancy and birth. Such a simple and essential idea that of course no one has thought of doing it before. Visceral, moving and exquisitely designed. ET & CS
Halfstory Halflife by Raymond Meeks – Chose Commune
We saw a set of these photographs at Unseen last year and we both loved them. For us they were the highlight of the fair. Simply pared back beautiful photographs of local youth in the Catskill Mountains taking pleasure from the leap into the void. ET & CS
Deana Lawson: An Aperture Monograph by Deana Lawson – Aperture
Deana’s striking images are immediately recognizable as hers. The trust and intimacy established with her subjects is palpable in these powerful, intricately composed portraits. The details of the locations, the colours and materials, are all as central to the images as are the returned gaze of the protagonists. ET
Christopher Street by Sunil Gupta – Stanley Barker
An amazing set of pictures that Gupta took whilst studying under Lisette Model at The New School in 1976. Before AIDS and after Stonewall. In Gupta’s own words: “In retrospect, these pictures have become both nostalgic and iconic for a very important moment in my personal history and the struggle for gay liberation that had far reaching consequences across the globe”. CS & ET
Dialogues with Solitudes by Dave Heath – Steidl/ Le Bal
This beautiful and melancholy work recently exhibited at Le Bal was the highlight of the Paris Photo season. The book echoes Heath’s original 1965 publication, A Dialogue with Solitude, in terms of layout but with a larger selection of images and an excellent interview with the artist by Michael Torosian. CS & ET
Fish Story by Allan Sekula – Mack
A timely reissue of a book that was a continuation of Sekula’s ongoing interrogation and reinvestment of documentary practice and simultaneous analysis of capital and human labour. Fish Story clearly also paved the way for how long-form documentary could eschew the form-fatigue of much documentary practices of the time and provided a visually literate form of story-telling that brought together the best aspects of observational documentation and narrative theory. An essential book for anyone interested in the current resurgence of theoretically rigorous and research based documentary storytelling. CS
Bobby Sands by Yann Morvan – André Frère Éditions
An incredible set of photographs taken by Morvan in 1981 whilst working for the Paris based Sipa press agency. This remarkable book plunges you into the very heart of the Troubles and Morvan’s close proximity with the Catholic community of Londonderry is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the conflict in Northern Ireland. Nothing less than extraordinary. CS
The Essential Solitude by Tereza Zelenkova – self published
This limited edition artist book, hand made by Tereza, accompanied her exhibition at the Ravestijn Gallery in Amsterdam this year, following her previous exquisite limited editions, which play with literary references and a dialogue between text and image. The essential solitude as depicted within Tereza’s strange, outside of time beautiful images, echoes Blanchot’s notion of solitude, in which the work of art is entirely alien and external to the world. Within this space all subjectivity and objectivity is dissolved, a space of fascination in which only existence remains. ET
Esther Teichmann and Christopher Stewart recently organised the symposium Encounters: Photography and Curation at The Photographers’ Gallery (2018) and co-curated the exhibition and book Staging Disorder (2015) that included work by An-My Lê, Sarah Pickering, Richard Mosse and Broomberg & Chanarin.
Christopher Stewart is Director of Photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. His work on conflict, masculinity and secrecy has been exhibited widely including at the Whitechapel Gallery, The National Museum of Photography, Film & Television and Fotomuseum Winterthur. His works are held in public and private collections including the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Martin Z. Margulies collection in Miami.
Esther Teichmann is an artist, working with the photographic across still and moving image installations. Her practice looks at the relationships between loss, desire and the imaginary, slipping between autobiography and fiction. Recent solo museum shows include Heavy the Sea, Transformer Station, Cleveland and Mondschwimmen, Reiss-Engelhorn Museum, Mannheim. Teichmann is Head of Programme of the Master of Research and Coordinator for Critical and Historical Studies at the RCA. Esther is currently working on a monograph of visual works and essays, Fulmine – On Sleeping and Drowning, forthcoming by Stanley/Barker.
Images: top – Deana Lawson: An Aperture Monograph by Deana Lawson, below – Christopher Street, 1976 by Sunil Gupta