The Waiting Room

Independent photobooks, yes please! After all, who’d condemn photobooks to dependence or serfdom? And hooray for The Independent Photobook, an excellent browse. But all too often I read its descriptions of new publications merely for the unintended humour. The current top four:

a re-exploration of Penn Wood, Buckinghamshire and a journey back to a vivid childhood fantasy. Working at dawn, dusk and night blending natural and constructed lighting techniques in conjunction with elements from the landscape, the betwixt, large-scale images lie in a place that is somewhere between realities, as if you have stumbled upon a happening £20.00
the whirlwind relationship between the young Japanese photographer and a young mother of two in a series of intimate color photographs $75
A brief summery of my first year in Los Angeles after leaving Philadelphia. Installing other peoples art, making friends, seeing shows and surfing. $10
Regarding photography as visual expression, I attempt to capture impression of experiences, a result of my visual influence on it, by realizing elements as it can be interruption of sight ¥1500

Some of these may be good, but I wouldn’t know because I didn’t look: the very blurb somehow managed to make each sound no more whelming than does the modish mainstream. But the other day among all the art-school stuff there appeared:

The Waiting Room is a ten-year documentary project, taking a look at this unique country squeezed between Europe and Russia. The main focus is on daily life, atmosphere, and questions of post-Soviet identity, not politics or Chernobyl. $25

The Waiting Room (Bill Crandall)“This unique country” being Belarus.

At last, somebody (Bill Crandall) who actually spent time and effort trying to get the best photographs of something. Most refreshing. A quick look at the photographs to which this linked confirmed the good impression. Minutes later, I ordered the book. And a very few days afterwards, it arrived. Read the rest of this entry »

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day-to-day life in Asakusa, Ikegami and South Wales

Asakusa Zenzai, Kayabuki Tōkyō, and the Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings
When Dan Abbe invited me to contribute my list of the top ten of 2011 to the 2011 street level eyecurious Japanese photobook extravaganza blowout, I was flattered but nonplussed. It was easy to come up with ten I liked, but hard to come up with more than three that thrilled (and of which no more than one was by any one photographer). Thinking that I might have forgotten this or that masterpiece and wanting to jog my memory, I took a quick look at the website of every photobook publisher I could think of. No, no masterpiece there that I’d forgotten — but there was word of a book I’d never seen but that looked good: Asakusa Zenzai (浅草善哉), by Koga Eriko (古賀絵里子). Read the rest of this entry »