Photobooks of 2019: At least thirteen gentle men by Vanessa Winship

Photobooks of 2019: Vanessa Winship

This has been a terrible year of uncertainty. What still gives me hope are works such as the one listed below.

I began by attempting to write about each of the works but I have found myself lost in a sea of words that did little to describe nor do real justice to the work laid out on the pages before me, for pictures at their best are visceral and visual, they are by their nature indescribable, they work in an experiential way.

What I can do perhaps is highlight a single key element of their makers and one that feels pivotal in enabling the creation of a work that has meaning, one that is generous in that affords us the possibility to enter into in so that we as reader may fully experience it.

In this context I can speak about the one man I know best, George Georgiou, for in this there is a certainty of what I am witness to. I can attest that every inch and every fibre of this mans mind, body and soul was put into the creation of this work in order that it might best honour the people depicted in the photographs and of what the work addresses with compassion, clarity of our contemporary society. To do this also involves an understanding that the input of other people coming together adds a richness which both carry forward and hold together the pages contained within the book, from the light-handed work of design, some few words, immense and endless patience of a committed printing house.

To do this all truly and sincerely takes the strength, good humour and love of a gentle man.

It is my belief that all of the works listed below are great works because of this.

Here they are:

Americans Parade by George Georgiou

Freedom or Death by Gideon Mendel

American Origami by Andres Gonzalez

Mother by Paul Graham

Slant by Aaron Schuman

Christmas Day, Bucks Pond Road by Tim Carpenter

The Pillar by Stephen Gill

Hereafter by Federico Claverino

Voyages en Pays du Clemontois by Israel Arino

Should Nature Change by John Gossage

Old Tijkko by Nicolai Howalt

Stiya by Cole Barash

were it not for by Michael Ashkin

It feels to me that there are many good books this year, books of real content that somehow touch on some fundamentals. For me, beauty and contemplation as well as activist work – essentially books of work that involve being out and in the world, all have their place right now. Several other publishers deserve a mention here including Here Press and GOST along with a couple of lesser known small publisher platforms such as XYZ in Portugal and Void in Athens, all of which are making something very good too.

Vanessa Winship is a photographer. Her work explores the fragile nature of our landscape and society, about the legacy of our personal and collective histories.

Images: top – Slant by Aaron Schuman, below – Old Tjikko by Nicolai Howalt

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