Photobooks of 2019: Awoiska Van Der Molen

Photobooks of 2019: Awoiska van der Molen

IV by Ilse Oosterkamp
Twenty-seven images ring-bound. We see a naked toddler trying to find a position on a black cloth backdrop. His curly hair and soft white skin reminds us of Rubens painted angels. Different from the angels, the boy here seems clumsy and unstable. A man, it must be his father, tries to get the boy up on his feet and a girl, probably his sister is watching the situation from behind the cloth. It is a confusing family scene, yet it feels as if they are there really to help the boy with love to give him some wings.

This world and others like it by Drew Nikonowicz
An instant crush on the many utterly sublime landscape scenes that would have been my ‘darlings to kill’ in my own work because solely beauty doesn’t last and isn’t interesting. But here digital modelling replaced the human photographer and Nikonowicz displays the outcome here combined with other sorts of mindf*cks. And oh, check out Nikonowicz’ 3D printed 4×5”camera company…

Americans Parade by George Georgiou
Almost no words for this so precisely hand crafted book. The great differences of American society are lined up on the superbly printed and bound pages. You feel the blood, sweat and who knows some tears in the realisation of this great and important work. Chapeau.

La Cucaracha by Pieter Hugo
The latest body of work by Hugo made across Mexico proves once again how he is able to connect with strangers he meets wherever on earth. His sensitivity reveals theirs and during this exchange the energy loaded images arise in a unique way.

When Red Disapppears by Elspeth Diederix
This last work of Diederix takes us down into the troubled waters of the cold Dutch North-Sea. Here the water is not at all as sexy as in azure blue Atlantic Ocean, yet the breathing still lifes in Diederix’ under water world are very tempting. Collaborating with designer Hans Gremmen she has created a true piece of book art. And those inks!!

Cloppenburg by Laurenz Berges
Having grown up in the flat clay fields in the north of Holland it was the book cover image that caught my eye: a misty, grey and flat agricultural scene. Same latitude but some hundreds of miles further in Germany. Inside the book the somberness continues. Or better: the modesty of a small district town continues. Ambivalent beauty that is smothering under a bell jar of hesitating daylight. Berges photographed this early work in his hometown Cloppenburg in the early nineties, in it I see a German Guido Guidi.

Rooted by Henk Wildschut
With his third book ‘Rooted’ Wildschut is zooming in even more into the circumstances of human souls who are searching for a new home but who are ‘waiting’ in the refugee camps of Calais. The images and text show us unexpectedly touching seedlings and young plants, collected, grown and kept alive by the refugees. Everything and everyone needs a piece of safe ground to thrive on. This emotion is captured soberly in this beautifully designed book.

Entrance to our Valley by Jenia Fridlyand
Bring together: 1) a passionate photographer who left Russia as a teenager, 2) create a steady haven outside a big US city after many years of moving homes and 3) living in this heavenly haven with her family and friends and it results in this intimate yet determined publication on finding a home in a valley. One can sense that the boys of TIS Books with whom she designed and published this book know this family haven by heart as well.

Awoiska van der Molen is a Dutch visual artist using photography as her main tool. She is known for her black and white images showing her view on the natural landscape and her personal experience within it. This year Van der Molen was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet, the global award in photography and sustainability.

Images: top – This world and others like it by Drew Nikonowicz, below – La Cucaracha by Pieter Hugo