zaterdag 1 december 2018

The Best Photography Books and Magazines Contemporary Photography Special Geoff Dyer Simon Bainbridge

 Aden, Yemen, 2007, by Maciej Dakowicz, from Bystander. Photograph: Maciej Dakowicz

The best photography books and magazines, chosen by Geoff Dyer and Simon Bainbridge
Contemporary photography special
Art and design books
From coffee-table tomes to monographs and from websites to DIY journals, we have the best way for budding enthusiasts to feast their eyes and brains

Experts’ guide: the ten best international photography galleries, by Brett Rogers

Geoff Dyer and Simon Bainbridge

Sun 14 Oct 2018 09.00 BST Last modified on Sun 14 Oct 2018 14.31 BST

The best photography books chosen by Geoff Dyer, author and critic
This list – this impossibly reductive list, which would have been easier to assemble if it had run to 100 titles – is a jumble of four kinds of books. First, landmark volumes (the photographic equivalent of The Waste Land by TS Eliot, say). Second, retrospective or idiosyncratic selections from a given photographer’s work (the equivalent of Eliot’s Selected Poems). Third, surveys of a particular genre from the history of photography (as with anthologies of modernist poetry). Finally, there is a lone representative of critical writing on photography. To narrow down the catchment area, make the task slightly more manageable, and to give a wonky semblance of unity to the list, I’ve reluctantly concentrated on books with at least some connection to American photography.

Atget by John Szarkowski
(2004, MoMA)
The ideal pairing of a photographer who originally offered his views of old Paris as “documents for artists” with the influential former curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The format is simplicity itself: 100 pictures, each accompanied by a short essay on the facing page in which Szarkowski’s encyclopedic knowledge of Eugène Atget’s work is displayed with the supple art of a prose stylist.

American Photographs by Walker Evans
(originally published 1938; 75th anniversary edition, Tate Publishing)
Photos of America that also defined what American photography might be. Evans remains the central figure in the American tradition, not only because of his determining influence on what came later, but because the effect of Alfred Stieglitz – that first, all-important campaigner on behalf of all things photographic – can be felt, even if only through Evans’s vehemently quiet opposition to this “screaming aesthete”.

Bystander: A History of Street Photography by Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz
(originally published 1994; new edition, Laurence King)
Even if some of its greatest exponents – Garry Winogrand most obviously – have objected to the term, street photography remains one of the most vital, varied components of photographic history. This wide-ranging, informative, entertaining and opinionated history has been revised, expanded and updated for the current edition.

A spread from Against the Wall by Pekka Turunen, featured in The Photobook: A History, Volume 2. Photograph: Walker Evans archive / MOMA / Tate Publishing

The Americans by Robert Frank
(originally published in France in 1958; special edition Steidl)
If anything, Diane Arbus’s comment on the book – that it “hit a whole generation of photographers terribly hard” – understates the extent to which these sometimes blurry, apparently uncomposed images fundamentally changed the idea of what a photograph could be. It still looks radical – even, at times, uncomfortable – today.

Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph
(Aperture, 1972)
A lot of books by and about Arbus are currently available. The massive Revelations (2003) has the virtue of including selections from her constantly astonishing writing, but for sheer wallop, for the concentrated essence of her vision, this monograph – published a year after her death in 1971 – remains indispensable.

Crimes and Splendors: The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach
(Bulfinch, 1996)
Colour photographs from Misrach’s vast and ongoing series of so-called “desert cantos”. Along with his sometimes overt, sometimes veiled political intent, Misrach has an acute sense of photographic history, so these sublime views are often freighted with allusions to the pioneers such as Carleton Watkins and Timothy H O’Sullivan, who first photographically mapped the American west.

The Complete Untitled Film Stills by Cindy Sherman
(MoMA, 2003)
If everything Sherman has done subsequently seems rather pointless, that is partly because these ingeniously enacted and conceptually alluring black-and-white “self-portraits” from the late 1970s – enduringly mysterious and hugely influential –were an impossibly hard act to follow.

Reflections in Black by Deborah Willis
(Norton, 2000)
An authoritative narrative history of African American photographers from 1840 to 2000: 600 pictures from the time of slavery through the great migration and on to the civil rights movement and beyond, featuring giants of postwar photography such as Roy DeCarava. Eighteen years on from its original publication, perhaps it is time to follow the example of Bystander with an updated edition?

On Photography by Susan Sontag
(Penguin, originally published 1977)
Still one of the handful of indispensable critical books on photography. Seriousness of purpose, depth of vision and impeccable clarity of expression compensate for the lack of any photographs – not a one! – in the text itself.
A spread from Against the Wall by Pekka Turunen, featured in The Photobook: A History, Volume 2. Photograph: Phaidon

The Photobook: A History Volumes I and II by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger
(Phaidon, 2004 and 2006)
As a way of underlining how difficult it was to make this list, interested readers are directed to these two books that have become both collectors’ items in their own right and last-minute instalments in the history they describe. And not only that: the original two volumes have since been complemented by a third – and a fourth, of sorts. It’s a sign of Parr’s global passion and knowledge that this fourth volume (compiled in collaboration with WassinskLundgren, published by Aperture) is devoted entirely to the Chinese photobook! Watch out for more.

Geoff Dyer is the author of The Ongoing Moment (Canongate) and The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand (University of Texas Press). He is also the editor of Understanding a Photograph by John Berger (Penguin)

The best magazines, print and online chosen by Simon Bainbridge, editor of the British Journal of Photography

 Aperture’s winter 2017 Future Gender issue. Photograph: Aperture

Smart, scholarly and impeccably designed, this respected quarterly magazine, made in New York, got a major revamp five years ago and with its recent focus on timely sociopolitical themes (“Prison Nation”, “Future Gender”, “Platform Africa”) is at the top of its game, cementing its position as a true thought-leader.

In Almost Every Picture
This long-running annual series of bookazines dedicated to obscure flea market finds was begun by Erik Kessels, an ad man turned artist-curator. And while it seeks to elevate the mundane, highlighting photo albums as a form of social history, it’s often also hilariously funny.

Published three times a year by Europe’s most dynamic photography museum, this boldly designed in-house magazine takes conversations about the medium beyond the confines of Foam’s artfully curated walls in Amsterdam, focusing particularly on new talent and work that stretches boundaries.

On Photography
Teju Cole’s erudite but immensely readable monthly column for the New York Times Magazine ranges delightfully wide in subject matter, but mostly he “considers photographers and their work”, writing long-form observations peppered with thought-provoking personal reflections, anecdotes and quotes.

Pages from Self Publish, Be Happy: A DIY Photobook Manual and Manifesto. Photograph: SPBH / Aperture

Self Publish, Be Happy
Perhaps the most prominent trend in contemporary photography is the return of the book – not just as a catalogue or portfolio, but as an artwork in its own right. Let Bruno Ceschel and his website be your guide to the wonderful and the esoteric.

Photo Booth
Numerous US newspapers and magazines have dedicated photography blogs, which began as pet projects by photo editors before evolving into something more sophisticated. My favourite is Photo Booth, for its wide scope beyond the usual focus on visual journalism, its sharp, incisive writing and because it’s unmistakably from the fold of the New Yorker.

Magnum Photos
Founded by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and friends in 1947, Magnum’s vast archive provides some much-needed historical context for our present-day concerns, a legacy its current members uphold, with long-form photo essays, books and exhibitions. Join its 2.8 million followers on Instagram.

There are dozens of great independent magazines, but for my money, Yet is the most incisive. It explores contemporary photography and related issues through the lens of expertly curated themes, combined with considered writing and eye-popping Swiss design that still gives the work plenty of space to breathe.

1000 Words
After 10 years building a loyal readership with its quarterly online magazine, 1000 Words recently turned to print to produce a 200-page anniversary “bookish magazine”. It’s the quality of the writing that stands out, with contributions from the likes of David Campany, Susan Bright, Urs Stahel and Charlotte Cotton.

A great magazine from Japan, probably the world’s most dynamic photography culture, though much overlooked in the west until recent years. Produced in downtown Tokyo, the latest issue of Ima – which translates as “now” – is dedicated to “a new chapter in Japanese photography” and is the first edition published in English.

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