“Atlas of natural regions”, “Universal language”… Ten photo books to put under the tree – Outing


Home »Culture» “Atlas of natural regions”, “Universal language” … Ten photo books to put under the tree – Release December 25, 2021

here is “New face of photophilia”, wrote Clément Chéroux, chief curator of photography at MoMA: the book of photography! On the occasion of Paris Photo, the Photobook review from Aperture, an American newspaper specializing in photo books, described the boom “historical” photo book of the last twenty years: 300 additional publishing houses have been created. Plethora of choices, therefore, in the world of images. To free selected ten unique works spotted this year, despite paper shortages. To put under the tree or to devour immediately.

A small glass of kitsch

Paparazzi is a small bogus book by the artist duo Mazaccio and Drowilal which brings together celebrity collages against a backdrop of ice floes, beaches or hypermarket car parks. In kitsch and glitchy montages, which play on internet aesthetics and low-end celebrity press layouts, the strength of Paparazzi is to spot the habits and customs of the stars who look like two drops of water, with their Ugg boots and their Starbucks cup, like the Panurge sheep.

Paparazzi de Mazaccio & Drowilal, ed. RGB books, 128 pp., 25 €.

As stubborn as a mule

Three Dutchmen, Joost Nijhuis, Daniël Heikens and Rein Langeveld, crisscrossed the neighborhoods of The Hague, the third largest city in the Netherlands, in search of a local specialty: a cut neck with long shaved sides. They took a photographic sum of it as a tribute to this popular style which is the pride of those who wear it. The book became an editorial phenomenon with 4000 copies sold, a rare occurrence for a photography book in the Netherlands. In France, The Atlas of mules benefited from favorable word of mouth during Paris Photo week. The importance of the mule in The Hague is explained, according to the authors, by a survival of the style of the 70s and 80s, initiated by the album Ziggy stardust by David Bowie and singer Bono from U2. But also by the popularity of FC Den Haag, the local football club. Today, the two photographers would like to document this planetary phenomenon, celebrated in festivals, in France, the United States or Australia to make a world atlas that would extend to China or Canada.

The Hague Mule Atlas by Joost Nijhuis, Daniël Heikens and Rein Langeveld, book in English and Dutch, Lecturis, € 45.

Return to Terre-Terre

Browse Cloud physics by Terri Weifenbach, it’s touching nature with your fingertips: page after page, forests, trees, flowers, dragonflies, seagulls, clouds parade in a long amazed tracking shot. Close-ups of bark and snow-capped landscapes, views of crystal-clear skies and swaying peaks of lichen, nocturnal lightning bolts and fiery flames describe a world of untouched flora and fauna, where every drop of water, crossed by the sun, deserves a see. Under the lens of the American photographer, born in New York, raised in Washington and living in Paris, the earth seems to be having fun. There are even children swimming breaststroke in the black water and a sleeping fawn. At the heart of the pages, Terri Weifenbach also stages strange measuring instruments (radiometer, rain gauge, photometer, spectrometer or Total Sky Imager) which allow us to observe climate change and take the pulse of the planet.

Cloud physics scored by Terri Weifenbach. Xavier Barral editions, 216 pp., € 45.

Character portraits

“Atlas of natural regions”, “Universal language”… Ten photo books to put under the tree - Outing

This catalog of the African-American photographer’s exhibition turns out to be an immense photographic work in which black models explode the images in an aesthetic and political mirror. His staging is the result of meticulous work that combines improvisation, wild casting and cleverly orchestrated space construction. Dressed in costumes, or stripped naked, choreographed in graphic poses, Deana Lawson’s models almost all gaze at the lens, aware of their presence in the image. The accumulation of all these portraits of imposing men, powerful women and families or matching couples, photographed in the United States, Haiti, Ethiopia or the Congo, draws the great Afro family without borders that Deana Lawson feels issue. . After the beautiful monograph of Aperture, here is Deana Lawson, the catalog of an exhibition in Boston, a more affordable but just as rich book on the work of the American. And above all very well documented.

Deana lawson by Deana Lawson, Mack, 144 pp., € 40.

Spirit (of Christmas), are you there?

A specialist in the history of techniques, journalist Philippe Baudouin is interested in their corollaries: occultism and spiritualism. The album Supernatural identifies 25 trajectories of female mediums. In the photos: exalted faces and spiritualism sessions. The portrait of Jeanne Melec, the listener of the dead, seated on a grave in a cemetery, is striking. In these disturbing clichés with levitating spiritualist trumpets and regurgitated ectoplasms, the female body, obscene and convulsed, becomes the object of all evils. New witches, mediums? Seriously ill? Crazy to tie? These visuals strangely evoke the iconography of Dr Charcot’s nervous attacks at Pitié-Salpêtrière or bondage sessions. A form of exorcism of the female body is played out in these transgressive images: a mysterious and monstrous birthplace, it is also a symbolic body oppressed in a male world.

Supernatural. A visual history of female mediums by Philippe Baudouin, Pyramide, 176 pp., € 29.

The landscape is fading

“Atlas of natural regions”, “Universal language”… Ten photo books to put under the tree - Outing

RNA Vol1, the first print of the titanic photographic enterprise of Nelly Monnier and Eric Tabuchi has just been published: the book immortalizes, in photos, thirteen French natural regions through the architecture of their buildings and their relationship to the landscape. It marks a turning point in the realization of this crazy project, that of documenting the 500 French natural regions – a former division of the territory based on soil geology. And this book, which borrows the extended format of a major tourist guide, is undoubtedly one of the most important photo opus of the year 2021.

In thirteen natural regions (Beauce, southern Cévennes, Faucigny, Forez, Pays d’Ouche, Hautes Vosges Lorraine, etc.), the outlines of a complex France emerge: that of regional peculiarities with wooden barns, mountain chalets, half-timbered houses, brick churches, monuments, and that of an already obsolete modernity with vertical swimming pools, equestrian butchers, lost tobacco, unsightly HLMs and building plots as if it were raining. The empathetic gaze of the photographers paints a portrait of the country that is both sensitive and comical: both a typology of banality, a repertoire of folklore and a catalog of failed architectures, the ARN takes a fresh and objective look at France on the fringes of the big boys. cities.

RNA Vol.1 by Eric Tabuchi and Nelly Monnier. Co-edition Poursuite and GwinZegal, 384 pp., € 39.

Faces like a picture

“Atlas of natural regions”, “Universal language”… Ten photo books to put under the tree - Outing

While the European House of Photography in Paris is devoting a very fine retrospective to the work of Samuel Fosso, the monograph published by Steidl in 2020 and translated into French in 2021 is considered to be an adequate catalog since it brings together the most popular series. important. of the artist. Founder of his photo studio at 13 in the Central African Republic, famous for his self-portraits of archetypes and famous characters, Fosso is today a sacred monster of African photography. This chameleon with a thousand faces, born in 1962 in Cameroon and discovered in 1994 at the first Rencontres de Bamako (Mali) has gone beyond the studio photography tradition of the masters Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé to develop his personal language. Approaching the self-portrait as a conceptual practice, Fosso has designed an unprecedented photographic project, on the scale of a lifetime, in which his body, which he considers miraculous after an extremely difficult childhood, expresses survival in a role-playing game. where history, love, fashion and religion come into play.

Self-portrait by Samuel Fosso. Co-edited by Steidl and The Walther Collection, New York. 352 pages, 85 €.

A very dance work

You had to imagine it, this “dancyclopedia” in the shape of a paving stone in the pond! Universal language Anouk Kruithof celebrates dance in the Internet age. Fascinated by online dance videos, the Dutch artist has designed a huge installation consisting of 8,800 videos. But also this amazing book that looks like a big brick. Inside, each page describes a dance illustrated with a photo taken on the internet: we discover the“Oromo dance” practiced in Ethiopia, “Zwiefacher” in Germany, the “Parasol dance” in Japan, the “Boogie Woogie” or the classic Spanish bolero. A book of sum, fascinating to consult frantically when nightclubs are closed and parties are prohibited.

Universal language Anouk Kruithof, Editions Papier d’Art, 2 008 pp., € 50.

Drunk family

“Atlas of natural regions”, “Universal language”… Ten photo books to put under the tree - Outing

Here is a little gem, full of light and tenderness. Rich and unique, the work of Japanese photographer Issei Suda (1940-2019), who graduated from the Tokyo College of Photography in 1962, is little known in Europe. Under its lens, the Japanese street takes on the appearance of a surrealist theater. In 1991-1992, the photographer exploited the full potential of the Minox camera, a camera so tiny that it was used by spies. Compulsively, Issei Suda forces his wife and daughter to deliver an extremely sensitive diary. In black and white images of rare intensity, the joy of life – sometimes tears – and candor fill the frame of a family life that looks like a golden age forever past.

Family journal Issei Suda, ed. Common thing, 176 pp., 40 €.

Intensifies it

“Atlas of natural regions”, “Universal language”… Ten photo books to put under the tree - Outing

It is an intriguing book in tourist guide format: did you know that, until 1951, a city called New York existed on the border of Ukraine and Russia, in this region of Donbass claimed by the Russian giant since 2014 ? It is an industrial city, 4 kilometers from the front, documented by photographer Niels Ackermann and journalist Sébastien Gobert. Founded by Russian aristocrats in the 19th century, the city was once a model of development and industry in the Eastern Bloc. Today it is called Novhorodske and only ruins of this prestigious past remain. The duo of journalists scrutinizes the bleak surrounding steppes, lingers on objects from the past (old passports, terracotta tiles, gingerbread, plastic bag …), interfering in the interiors to tell this little world submerged comparable to its American namesake. An invitation to a documented and original journey in a fascinating and melancholy post-Soviet world.

New York, Ukraine. Guide to an unexpected city by Niels Ackermann and Sébastien Gobert, Noir sur blanc editions, € 27.


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