EMAHO Picks the Most Interesting Photobooks of 2013

Daniel Boetker-Smith is an educator, writer, curator, publisher, and photographer based in Melbourne. Since 2013, he has been the Higher Education Course Director at Photography Studies College (Melbourne) - Australia's oldest, independent photography institution.

“We at Emaho did not try to present only the ‘Best of Photo-Books of 2013’ but a well researched selection of books, also focussing at emerging voices from different continents. We did come across that not many books from Latin America or Africa were featured on the international platform. We were successful in presenting some books from Latin America, but yet again we couldnt find much to do with African photo-books. We shall keep a closer eye in 2014 and will try to present more books next year.” – Manik Katyal

Selected by Daniel Boetker-Smith

Australia – Daniel Boetker-Smith is a Melbourne-based photographer, he is also the Founder/Director of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive (www.photobookarchive.com). In 2013 he was a jury member at both the Fotobookfestival in Kassel, Germany and the Angkor Photo Festival, Cambodia. His photographic work has been shortlisted for a number of awards and prizes. He is currently BA Co-ordinator at the Photography Studies College in Melbourne. 

 

1. Moved Objects

By Georgia Hutchison & Arini Byng, published by Perimeter Editions, Melbourne

This is collaborative project in which we are presented with a gentle visual conversation between sculpture and the photographic image. The result is a beautifully poetic, choreographed and feminised Fischli and Weiss-esque study of scale, shape and material. The book is wonderfully restrained, produced by Australian photo-publishing’s newest arbiter of good taste Perimeter Editions.

 

 

2. Conflict Resolution

By Louis Porter, published by Twenty Shelves, Melbourne

Porter is a prolific and perceptive social commentator. This book was recently shortlisted for the 2013 Kassel Fotobook Festival; and its so bad its good! It is overwhelming, obsessive, smart and a little bit mad. The use of garishly coloured paper and idiosyncratic design in the book is a perfect foil to Porter’s disruptive and wry treatment of his subject matter.

 

3. Radiata

By Jacob RaupachSelf-Published (Newsprint)

Raupach is a young photographer dealing with his local history near Wagga Wagga, a remote Australian country town. This work is printed on newsprint stock and consists of archival newspaper images from the local timber boom of the 1980s. This work is in equal parts poignant, melancholy, funny, and playful; and it provides a suberp snapshot of 1980s Australia with a clear and original voice.

 

4. All Prize Winners Paraded

By Jo Grant, published by M.33

Grant’s work gives us a window into the world of the traditions of agricultural shows in rural Australia. Beautifully produced by Australian publishing institution M.33 this work is simple and endearing. Grant’s work blends the obvious kitsch-value with a very personal and empathic view of these disappearing traditions and the people that are defined by them.

 

 

5. Supertourist

By Max Pam, published by Editions Bessard

This is the only book on the list not produced by an Australian publisher. Pam needs no introduction, and this work follows on from his 2012 book Narcolepsy(T&G Publishing) offering us a heady mix of image, text and colour. The book is magnificently presented in a plexiglass slipcase, and overwhelms the viewer (not only with the sheer number of images) but the guttural, saturated and confronting fragments Pam collects into book format. This is a Pam tour de forcewhere he is more arch-tourist than super-tourist.

 





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Selected by Yumi Goto

Japan – Yumi Goto is an independent photography curator, editor, researcher and consultant who focuses on the development of cultural exchanges that transcend borders. She is a founder of the REMINDERS PROJECT.

 

1. Promising Waters

By Mila Teshaieva, Self-Published

I was given a little zine of Promising Waters when I first met Mila at the Bursa Foto Fest in Turkey in 2012. She has dedicated so much to the project and was finally able to make this beautiful book after winning  Photolucida’s Critical Mass 2012. Her book really deserves to be on this list. I really congratulate her on her passion, which enabled her to get the book realised in the format she really wanted.

 

2. Belgian Autumn 

By Jan Rosseel

I came across this book through a chance encounter. I was in The Hague to check out a photobook workshop and Jan was there as one of its participants. I had some issues of Nozomi Iijima’s Scoffing Pig newsprint, which I was involved  in producing, with me, and Jan was interested in purchasing a copy.

We spoke a little and he mentioned his book had just been published and when I heard the story behind the book I got excited. He told me that there were only 28 copies made and the reason why and brought me the last copy left.

 

3.  Away From Home

By Kursat Bayhan, Self-Published

I was familiar with some pictures in the book from when I first worked with Kursat back in 2009 for the Japanese publisher’s photobook project. I was unaware of his plans to make a book however, until late last year when his book dummy was awarded the Book Dummy Award at the Bursa Foto Fest 2012.

Despite winning, I know it was not easy to get the book produced. There were some obstacles, but Kursat overcame them to achieve his goal.

 

4. Shvilishvili

By Jana Romanova

I always love a good surprise in the form of a new discovery. I came across Jana’s book from a Japanese photographer who studied in Russia. The book is handmade and only 67 copies were produced. Despite being sold out, I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy through a Japanese artbook shop, which had the last copy. It was fate – destiny dictated this book should be in my library.

 

5.  SALT

By Emma Phillips

Emma was one of the photobook-making workshop participants at the OBSCURA Photo Festival in Malaysia. By that time she had already produced a pretty large dummy photobook, which was beautifully done but only a single copy was made. To accompany her solo exhibition in Australia in November – this time she made 500 copies of the book. The best part is that we can now own this beautiful work in a book format.

 




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Selected by Marcelo Brodsky

Argentina – Marcelo Brodsky has written for many for a variety of newspapers and magazines. He is the president of Latin Stock, a Latin American image network, and of the Focus Latin Stock Foundation. His photographic series Apertures now forms the part of photographic collection at the Bibiotheque Nationale in Paris.


1. PIRUW

By Musuk Nolte and Leslie Searnes, self published. With the support of MATE ( Mario Testino Association)

This book of black and white photography is a mystical exploration on the peruvian traditions. It is centered in the native communities of original inhabitants of the land, and in its cosmogony. With a few colour images disrupting the design, it is a heir of a Latin American tradition of image making made in our original indigenous peoples, notably the work on Yanomanis by Claudia Andujar, or the work on the Xingu by Maureen Bisilliat both from Brazil. This tradition is developed by two young Peruvian photographers that bring their own perception of our original people and their image. The title refers also to the word that is in the origin of the name of the country, Peru.

 

2. Broken Root

By Pedro David, published by Tempo d`Imagem

 

In this great book of colour photography young photographer Pedro David, from Minas Gerais, the interior central west region of Brazil, portrays an unknown and off centered vision of his country. From portraits to nature, from landscape to architecture, the tensions of the Brazilian identity are displayed with diversity with  na innovative, creative eye

 

3. Todo Pasa

By Alfonso Morales

Todo Pasa is an innovatory book project edited by Alfonso Morales, the current editor of Luna Cornea, the most important photography magazine of Latin America created in Mexico in the nineties.  It gathers portraits of people that walk through Junin street,  a classical downtown walkway in the city of Medellin, Colombia. The traditional professional photographers that used to take portraits with their large wooden land cameras in the the squares of most  Latin American towns.

As if they were photograms in a movie, images in this book form a sequence that shows people and scenarios, street signs and quotidien events that fascinate and rise nostalgia of times gone, at the same time that they show photography in one of its most pure forms: street portraiture without pretentions.

 

 

4. SOBRE SAO PAULO

 By Claudia Jaguaribe, published by Estudio Madalena

In this Leporello book on the Sao Paulo megalopolis published by Estudio Madalena, Claudia Jaguaribe plays with the infinite contradictions and vertical landscapes, as well as with the details of her boloved yet tyrant city. A city full of life and traffic, of good food and danger, a permanent source of inspiration for the photographers that live in it.Claudia has a tradition in Urban photography and her book on the Rio de Janeiro slopes is also relevant. Yet this new production by this recently created publishing house shows excelence, risk and a serious effor to picture a city that is now becoming the economic capital of South America.

 

 

5. REPERTOIRE

 By  Rodrigo Gómez Rovira (Edition and direction) Raúl Gómez (photographs andmanuscripts), published by FIFV Ediciones, Valparaíso, Chile, 2013

Repertoire, by Juan Rodrigo Gomez Rovira is a portrait of exile with a documentary feeling. The photograher narrates the exile of his father Raul Gomez, a chilean artist and writer that fled Chile after the coup d`etat ofPinochet in 1973. He does so by recovering documents and pictures of the time from his father`s photographic archive, edited in a very personal way and following a social and historic order that is created by the the author.

 

 

6. AUTORRETRATOS EN CINCO SEGUNDOS

Paula Herrera Nóbile

Primera Edición 2013

Editorial La Luminosa

Argentinian photographer Paula Herrera Nobile published this first book in La Luminosa photobook publishing house in Buenos Aires. This book speaks about the need to build an identity that includes everything, wether legitimate or not, in your own biography. Deorganization, chaos, madness, death… For almost three years the author made an obsesive series of self portraits in total intimacy, in different scenarios, to find all she feels intiuitively, even though she does not know it rationally.

 



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Selected by Markus Schaden 

Germany – Markus Schaden , b. 1965 , bookseller, publisher and curator for photography, owner of schaden.com, lives in Cologne Germany and works worldwide. 

 1. IMAGINARY CLUB

By Oliver Sieber, self-published.

“Oliver Sieber’s final cut of the longtime self-published project Imaginary Club is an amazing 430-page virtuosic counterpoint of black and white images and color portraits. In its diversity of style and subject it participates in a specifically 21st century hybrid-aesthetic. It is a contemporary photographic landmark in tribute to August Sander and Daido Moriyama.”

 

 

2. The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus

Photographs by Rob Hornstra and text by Arnold van Bruggen, published by Aperture.
Hornstra’s approach combines documentary storytelling with contemporary portraiture, found photographs and other visual elements collected during their travels. Since the beginning of the authors’ collaboration, The Sochi Project has been released via installments in book form and online. The highlights are brought together for the first time in this volume.


 

3. THE PIGS

By Carlos Spottorno, published by RM Verlag and Phree.

The book, or rather the magazine, comes as a replica of the financial newspaper »The Economist« and makes fun of the awkward acronym THE PIGS, which stands for Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. It is designed in the same way and printed on the same paper as the original it refers to. Apart from the clever design, it is the photography that especially strikes me. They are satirical punches, playing with clichés and visual expectations. 

 

 

 

 

4.  Two Rivers

By Carolyn Drake, self-published.

Drake’s Central Asia is a place where political allegiances, ethnic bonds, national borders, and even physical geography are in such flux as to seem, at times, like fictions. Following the two rivers, she traces a vast ecosystem of stories, nature, money, and history.” -Elif Batuman, the New Yorker

 

 

5.  TAKSIM CALLING

By Frederic Lezmi, self-published.

Taksim Calling by Frederic Lezmi is a  large format newspaper-style publication about the  famous Taksim Square in Istanbul. The artist sketched the protest picture of Gezi Park movement and  mixing it with archive pictures from the Taksim. The newspaper is meant to be distributed for free on the square in Istanbul and has been exhibited in Martin Parr`s Protest Show at PARISPHOTO 2013.

 

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Selected by Manik Katyal

 India – Manik Katyal is the Founder, Curator and Editor-in-Chief of Emaho Magazine.

1. DISKO

By Andrew Miksys, published by AROK

DISKO is a 10 year long documentation by American-Lithuanian photographer Andrew Miksys , about village discos which were once under the  Soviet regime at one point, used as detention centers and more. Village discos are getting less popular these days as the youth is either moving cities or leaving for Western-Europe and America. Andrew emulates this probing  interest in exploring the behavior of the younger generation ,who is readily ignoring the hardships of struggling economy and, ‘just get drunk, make out, dance and sometime fight’ to quote Andrew.

 

 

2. The Archivist 

By Nony Singh, published by Dreamvilla.

The Archivist – This book was recommended to me by Munem Wasif and  after spending time with this book, I feel Nony singh wades into the murky familial waters with this book. The pictures are about relationships, complex, loving , strained and unknown.  These images were taken in over 7 decades, creating a visual declaration of intimate moments of life and love, has been curated by Nony Singh’s daughter and one of the India’s finest photographer – Dayanita Singh.

 

 

3. SCARTI 

By Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, published by Trolley Books

 SCARTI is another keeper from London-based artist duo Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. 10 years after the publication of Ghetto, “which was made with blood, sweat and tears, i promise,” to quote Adam. Scarti is by-product of printing process revealing striking  and uncanny combinations.

 

 

4. Thai Politics

By Miti Ruangkritya, self-published

Over the course of five years, Thai photographer Miti Ruangkritya has created a three-part series, “Thai Politics.” Thailand has somewhat strict laws relating to political expression, so it’s interesting to consider how such a subject can be broached through photography. Also part of the series is a collection of photo-shopped images from the facebook group -“Thaksin where are you?”. Miti’s work is quirky yet defines a very strong political statement about the Thai political system.

 

 

 

 

 5. The Hidden Mother

By Linda Fregni Nagler, published by MACK.

The Hidden Mother – Linda Fregni Nagler’s The Hidden Mother is one of the most fascinating projects I have come across in 2013. It is a book which shows how in early days of photography,  the mothers were hidden in the background, holding their child still.  Getting your children photographed had become quite a trend in those days and how the ‘hidden parent’ would play the most important role by being in the picture and still hiding themselves.“It is this very failure of the attempt to hide the protagonist of The Hidden Mother  that I celebrate here,” to quote Fregni.

 

 

 

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