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Nearing San Francisco and view from the hotel -- images by Melanie McWhorter
photo-eye Staff made our annual trek to Society for Photographic Education National Conference earlier this month, this year held in San Francisco. The four-day event is packed with fantastic, informative panels and lectures and an exhibition hall stuffed to the edges with camera equipment, darkroom supplies, digital technology, educational materials and, of course, photography books. We hosted a wealth of book signings – Sally Mann co-sponsored by Aperture and, at our booth, many SPE regulars like Arno Minkkinen and Mark Klett, 2012 SPE speakers Jennifer Greenburg, Chad States and Mike Mandel and San Francisco residents Beth Yarnelle Edwards, Jason Fulford, David Maisel and Paccarik Orue, among others. Although all signings were successful and we sold out of most books, we may have a few copies of some signed copies including books by Maisel, Minkkinen, States, Edwards and Klett en route to us and we will announce them as we get the shipment on hand.

photo-eye's booth at SPE and the Sally Mann book signing
On the final night of SPE, the galleries around 49 Geary were open for a self-guided gallery walk. I was delighted to see my friend and former photo-eye Magazine Editor Darius Himes at Fraenkel Gallery. Darius took us on a special tour of the back rooms at Fraenkel and, along with photographers Lara Shipley and Michael Rauner, we stopped by Diane Arbus prints and proceed and lusted after the Richard Learoyd photos while discussing his process and, thanks to Michael, the metaphysical effects of the dilated pupil on our attraction to the images. Since our time was limited by packing up books after the fair, we neglected many of the other galleries in the area but we managed to rushed down the hall to visit our friends at Modernbook. Mark Pinsukanjana and Danny Sanchez welcomed me with a big hug and smilingly presented an advance copy of the long-awaited new Tom Chambers book, Entropic Kingdom. We took some photos, glanced over the shoulder of Susan Kae Grant showing her work and were off to dinner at House of Nanking (highly recommended Chinese food!).

Darius Himes, Michael Rauner and Lara Shipley at Fraenkel -- Danny Sanchez and Mark Pinsukanjana from Modernbook
With the fair over, we were also happy to have a little free time to visit San Francisco MOMA which is currently showing three photographic exhibitions: Rineke Dijkstra’s A Retrospective, Picturing Modernity and Photography in Mexico. All three exhibitions were outstanding and I was most impressed with Dijkstra’s films and the lush, sharp qualities of her prints. Photography in Mexico included works by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Graciela Iturbide, Pedro Meyer and contemporary working artists like Alejandro Cartagena and Lourdes Grobet; a wonderful show of the extensive and rich history of photography in this country. Before leaving, we had to visited the classic Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s Woman Combing Her Hair and Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s pieces.
Seafood at Swan Oyster Depot
Yet, despite my dedication to art, I'd say that food would win out every time. I would recommend (as it was recommended to me) the seafood from Swan Oyster Depot. We had prawns, oysters and crab as our last stop out of town and they were all delicious! Make sure to get some of the Louie sauce.

SPE was sold out in San Francisco this year and for good reason. The schedule of panels and lectures with the theme of Intimacy and Voyeurism: The Public / Private Divide in Photography was amazing -- so much so that we did not have many visitors on the first day of the conference. The chairs this year, Betsy Schneider and Erika Gentry, really outdid themselves and we look forward to the next year’s event in Chicago, IL. Thanks to all our helpers including Nina Barcellona, Alex Kidd, Shannon Randol, Lara Shipley and Chris Levine. -- Melanie McWhorter
 (left to right) Wyatt Gallery, Andrey Chezhin, Gay Block and Jamey Stillings signing books at the photo-eye pop-up bookstore at FotoFest 2012
Rick and Vicki have shared a few pictures from the book signings at the photo-eye pop-up bookstore at FotoFest Houston. If you haven't had a chance to stop by yet, the photo-eye store will be open 1-5pm through April 3rd at the DoubleTree Hotel at the FotoFest Meeting Place portfolio reviews.


And there's still one more day of book signings! Join us on Saturday March 31st for the following signings:

Saturday March 31st, 4-5pm
Erika Diettes -- SilenciosDrifting Away
Mariette Pathy Allen -- The Gender Frontier
Michael Tumming
Monica Merva
Beth Lilly -- The Oracle @ Wifi
Box - Pass It On. By Peng Yangjun & Chen Jiaojiao.
Published by Shang-Xia Ltd, 2012.
Box - Pass It On
Reviewed by Sarah Bradley
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Peng Yangjun & Chen Jiaojiao Box - Pass It On
BY PENG YANGJUN & CHEN JIAOJIAO
Shang-Xia Ltd, 2012. Hardbound. 332 pp., illustrated throughout, 7-3/4x10-1/2".

In several years of working at used book shops, I amassed an intriguing collection of things that fell from the pages of discarded books – photographs, ticket stubs, letters, newspaper clippings, receipts, pressed flowers, among other oddities. Tucked away for safe keeping, these items are forgotten treasures, the discovery of which was always a special moment, an intimate view of the previous owner. My initial impulse was to discuss Box - Pass It On in the context of vernacular photography, for which I have a deep love, but this book hit on a different level. Filled with treasures like the kind I'd find in old books, Box - Pass It On is something very special, something different from the reproduced photo albums and collections of found photographs I've previously encountered.

Published by Shang Xia, which produces high-end design furniture, housewares, clothing and jewelry that seek to discover and incorporate traditional Chinese craft into modern life, Pass It On is the first in their line of “Cultural Objects,” annual limited editions infused with themes, this one being “Heritage and Emotion.” Both have been impeccably rendered through the careful presentation of this object. Contained within a box, itself adorned with a reproduction photograph of two young boys in communist dress, is a thick book of photographs accompanied by two slim paperback volumes of translated text, one in English, the other French. Upon lifting the books from the box, one encounters a bottom flap with the word ”secrets” printed on it in English and Chinese, which when opened reveals six small compartments containing objects – a collection of marbles, a letter, several photographs, a toy metal plane. The book of photographs opens with text from photographer and editor Chen Jiaojiao detailing the personal discovery of long-unseen family images, a box that contained a secret history. The essay concludes with the remark that “It is about memory, also the beginning of a story.” The following page reads “Everyone has a box;” indeed, many were invited to share their images and stories.

Box - Pass It On, by Peng Yangjun & Chen Jiaojiao. Published by Shang-Xia Ltd, 2012.
Box - Pass It On, by Peng Yangjun & Chen Jiaojiao. Published by Shang-Xia Ltd, 2012.
The images are arranged in loose chronological order, though decades blend together with few distinguishing characteristics; many of the images are hand-tinted, at times making them feel a good deal older than they actually are. We encounter brides and men in uniform, family portraits and images of smiling children. The occasional gatefold reveals an extended group portrait or series of images of rosy-cheeked young women; several sequences show the growth of a child over a number of years. The details and the sequencing are perfect. I've seen a number of books that replicate or borrow pages from a family album, but I don't recall one that utilizes the idiosyncratic way that individuals actually store keepsakes. Tucked into the pages of this book are a number of small finds, but also images that are only attached at the gutter. The result of this astounding attention to detail is a book that is able to assemble images from a large number of individuals, yet as a unit it feels personal and intimate, as if one is looking at the private album of an impossibly massive family.

Box - Pass It On, by Peng Yangjun & Chen Jiaojiao. Published by Shang-Xia Ltd, 2012.
Box - Pass It On, by Peng Yangjun & Chen Jiaojiao. Published by Shang-Xia Ltd, 2012.
I expected to be taken with the images in this book, but what caught me off guard was the emotional power of the text that accompanies the photographs. Many books of similar photographic focus either revel in the anonymous nature of the images or provide little background – this is not the case for the majority of the images in this book. Not only are we given names and contexts but also stories, tales of heartbreak, family, marriages, divorces, children and regrets. We see and read text written on the backs of photographs, as well as several letters, including one from a 17 year old girl to her future-self, her reply four years later perfectly reproduced, note paper and all, bound into the book as if simply slipped in. The texts are at times funny – we are given a thorough run-down of the important members of one person's elementary school class, and another tells the story of how he acquired a photograph of a beautiful actress by cutting a frame from the film print – but the overwhelming tone is one of somber reflection. Stories from the first portion of the book are particularly memorable for the interference of the Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward, whose far-reaching effects disrupted and destroyed lives, careers, and families; it can even been seen in some of the images, confiscated and defaced by the government and returned years later. Much was lost during this era, and one is left with the sense of a collective effort to reassemble a cultural history through personal stories. So much is contained within this box, and its presentation allows for an experience of personal discovery, making the reading of it all the more profound. It is a beautiful document, and I will surely pass on. It is something to be shared.—SARAH BRADLEY

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2011 by Martin Parr

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SARAH BRADLEY is a writer, sculptor, costumer and general maker of things currently living in Santa Fe, NM. Some of her work can be seen on her occasionally updated blog. She has been employed by photo-eye since 2008.
Slowlight by Kate Breakey
Kate Breakey is best known for her graceful hand-painted silver gelatin photographs of flowers and birds. Hand colored with oil paint and colored pencils, each print is a unique work of art, none are exactly alike. Breakey's work exhibits a delicate attentiveness to the fine details of her subjects, beautifully lit and portrayed. These images have been collected in two books from the University of Texas Press, Small Deaths and Painted Light, but a new book of Breakey's work, Slowlight from Etherton Gallery shows a different side of the photographer's work. A collection of landscapes shot over 30 years of her career, the images in Slowlight offer a different side of Breakey's photographic vision, 
but captured with the same beautiful subtlety.

In honor of the publication of this new book from the photo-eye Gallery artist, I have asked Breakey to share a little more about her previously unseen landscapes, herself and the publishing of Slowlight. I hope that you enjoy our conversation.  --Anne Kelly

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Anne Kelly:     You are known for your hand colored still lifes of birds and flowers – however you have been making landscapes for the past 30 years. What made you to keep them to yourself and what made you decide that it was time to show them?

Moon Rise Mid North Australia -- Kate Breakey
Kate Breakey:     Back in Australia where I grew up, that landscape was my first interest and inspiration as a young photographer. Vast open spaces have remained very attractive to me, so I’ve never stopped making those images, but I have many interests and many ideas and I can’t pursue everything all the time. One project -- the Small Deaths (birds, flowers) sort of took off – got me some success, a book, and so I got very busy and gave it all of my attention for many years. The hand-coloring is labor intensive – so it took all my time to make this work, and I wasn’t about to stop while it was providing an income – an income is a rare thing if you are an artist. Life is too short – there’s not enough time to do all the things I want to do. I’ve always wanted to print up and show this accumulated landscape work, I just haven’t got around to it until now because I haven’t had time.

AK:     You have been recording the landscape around you and over time your surroundings have changed. The images, however, have the same feel to them despite the location.

KB:     Well I think all these places have the same affect on me. Vast open spaces are haunting, humbling, so I end up making images that try to convey that.

Single Wave -- Kate Breakey
AK:     In both your still lifes and landscapes you focus on fragile details and highlights – that is what I see anyways.

KB:     I think being a photographer is all about seeing the details, the way light falls, the subtle visual things that most people go through life never noticing. I want to point it out, remark on how beautiful it is and hope that it means that I can inspire people to really look at the world, contemplate it.

AK:     You are a musician as well as a visual artist – do you feel that the two disciplines influence each other? If so how so?

KB:     Well, I can't claim to be a musician -- I’m a very amateur cellist, but I’d go as far as to say that the pleasure and joy I derive from playing this instrument is as satisfying as making visual art -- its actually much harder -- more disciplined and more immediate. As I am in a cello ensemble, I become one part of a larger whole, which is a collaboration. This is very different for me, good for me, since I’ve always worked alone. And realizing someone else’s vision, trying to play Bach the way he intended -- I love that. It takes me right outside of myself.

from Slowlight by Kate Breakey
AK:     The image pairings in Slowlight are quite interesting. Can you talk about them?

KB:     I spent a lot to time rearranging the pairings of images -- I changed my mind many times… It’s always a fascinating aspect of putting images side by side – on a wall in a gallery or in a book -- because you invent criteria for what should or shouldn’t go next to each other and in the end it comes down to what looks good together, what feels right -- which is hard to define. It could be shapes and forms that work together -- compliment each other -- or causes a little bit of push and pull visually, keeps you interested mentally -- I don’t know. In the end its all arbitrary, but as long as you take the viewer on a journey so they want to keep looking, moving through the images, stopping occasionally, this aim is what you have to use as the guide. It was really interesting for me to pair up images made on opposite sides of the world or that were taken 30 years apart because it made me see them differently.

from Slowlight by Kate Breakey
AK:     Anything you would like to share about the process of publishing a book?

KB:     It’s all great. It’s hard work, but really exciting to see your work in print. Books are collaborations too -- there’s a lot of people involved that you have to trust -- designers, editors, printer -- it always seems like a miracle when it finally comes together. I’m about to publish another big book of my photograms with University of Texas Press and the Wittliff Collection so I’m right in the middle of the decision making and all the anxiety… but I’m so lucky to have the opportunity, I can hardly believe it.
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Purchase a copy of Slowlight here. View other books by Kate Breakey here.
View photographs by Breakey at photo-eye Gallery here

For more information on Kate Breakey's photographs, please contact Anne Kelly at photo-eye Gallery by email or by calling the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202
Buggy 20 -- Bill Westheimer
We've just added 6 new images to Photographer's Showcase artist Bill Westheimer's Wabi Sabi portfolio. Westheimer says of his work: "I don’t capture what is there, but rather I liberate what I see. When my photograph of something familiar makes the viewer see it in a new and different way and use their imagination then I have succeeded. I love to photogram the small things that we often overlook: a weed, or a broken piece of glass. I pursue those things that are rejected, the trash and the detritus, because I enjoy the challenge of finding something exquisite in the ugliest garbage." You can see Westheimer's portfolio here.


The Half-Life of History
Mark Klett's book The Half-Life of History: The Atomic Bomb and Wendover Air Base, has just been reviewed by Dana Jennings for the New York Times. In the review, Jennings states: "Mr. Klett’s artful and striking photographs often parse the most minute details: a broken windowpane, a bent nail, .50-caliber bullets found at the machine-gun range. These fragments stand in for Wendover, just as the base stands in for the birth of nuclear destruction." You can read the review here. The Half-Life of History was selected as one of photo-eye's Best Books of 2011, and was reviewed by David Ondrik for photo-eye Magazine. Read Ondrik's review here.  Find more information on The Half-Life of History here.
covers of From Above, Pacha Mama: earth realm, Fourteen People
From Above by Paule Saviano is an intimate series of portraits taken of survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, as well as the firebombings of Tokyo and Dresden in 1945. Featuring commentary from Saviano's subjects, this book is beautiful in both design and its celebration of perseverance. 

Lynda Frese's Pacha Mama: earth realm is a collection of hybrid landscapes inspired by religious iconography from the Italian Renaissance and indigenous cultures of South America. Including texts, poems and Sanskrit prayer, this collection follows a narrative based on the South American Earth Goddess Pachamama.

Fourteen People by Robert Fleischanderl examines the lives of fourteen Jewish refugees. Containing stunning portraits and interior shots, this book asks the question, When does a person cease to be a refugee? Here the viewer is given a thoughtful portrayal of humanity and the personal relationship to history and identity.



All Publisher Direct titles are available for order through the publisher via a special link within their listing.

See all the Publisher Direct books here.

cover of 1991
Richard Misrach's Desert Cantos is certainly one of the most celebrated bodies of work by an American photographer in the past 30 years. It is series that I continually look to. I am impressed at how many times Misrach has successfully changed his approach and evolved as an artist since photographing such an epic tale. For the viewer, his new book published by Blind Spot is a revisitation to Misrach's style of documenting the deterioration of a human imprint on a landscape. It's beautiful in its sadness and is an eye-opening reminder at how life can change in an instant.

1991 is a documentation of the Oakland Firestorm that took place between October 19th-20th, 1991. The devastation was tremendous with 790 structures becoming consumed by the fire in the first hour, a home igniting every 11 seconds. In the end more than 3,000 homes and over 400 apartment units were destroyed and an estimate of up to 30,000 people were evacuated with another 10,000 left homeless. To state the obvious, it is a staggering number. Right after the fire, Misrach crossed into the fire zone with his 8x10" view camera and photographed what he found. This work has largely been unseen prior to this publication and concurrent exhibition due to Misrach's consideration for the families affected. My assumption is that this delay in showing the work also has to do with how personal this series of images are for the Berkley based artist.

from the book 1991
from the book 1991
Unlike the first volume in the Blind Spot Series -- Stephen Shore's The Hudson Valley -- 1991 is a large book, large enough to display the full frame 8x10" negatives with a little room left over. Throughout the book are also a number of triple gatefolds, simply displayed, but telling of the tragedy of Misrach's narrative, one that tells several sides of the catastrophe of loss. There are scenes of destroyed homes and cars, and also photographs of food and water left out for pets alongside signs hoping that someone find will their missing cat or dog. These images grab at your attention, allowing the viewer to consider what they would need to leave behind with only minutes to flee. 

from the book 1991
from the book 1991
To me this book feels like a classic. Sure, the photographs were taken more than two decades ago. The subject is singular, although it holds many complexities. But it speaks to the timelessness of misfortune, a disastrous event that has happened before and will certainly happen again. While I have enjoyed and admired Misrach's evolution of photographic practice, it is also nice to step back and visit this newly released older body of work. -- Antone Dolezal

Purchase a copy of 1991
True Norwegian Black Metal. By Peter Beste.
Published by Vice, 2009.
True Norwegian Black Metal
Reviewed by Tom Leininger
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Peter Beste True Norwegian Black Metal
Photographs by Peter Beste.
Vice, New York, 2009. Hardbound. 208 pp., 150 color and black & white illustrations, 11-1/4x14-1/4".

I am not an expert on Norwegian Black Metal. This review will deal strictly with the book True Norwegian Black Metal, as I read and processed it over a number of days. Clearing my mind in this manner gave me the space to think about the work, and just the work, on the printed pages. It is not the music or the musicians, but Peter Beste’s interpretation of them that I am coming to grips with.

True Norwegian Black Metal the book is big, loud and in your face. It is sharp, colorful, blurry, grey and dark all at the same time. The ride is intense. I do not understand. The words, press clippings and zines printed in the back help me to understand, but the reality is, this is a book of photographs and all I get is one loud hint of what black metal, and those who make, it can be like. 


True Norwegian Black Metal, by Peter Beste. Published by Vice, 2009.
Peter Beste points his camera at very dramatic scenes: sheep heads on stakes, bullets, spikes, skull makeup, and rich lush nature, the contrast of these men and the place they live, quaint mountain cabins, large men with chains and upside down crosses on their necks, long haired fans in the moment of ecstasy. Beste says 'look at this,' and leaves the judgment up to the viewer. It is a jarring, violent, visual thrill ride that is not for everyone.

True Norwegian Black Metal, by Peter Beste. Published by Vice, 2009.
True Norwegian Black Metal, by Peter Beste. Published by Vice, 2009.
This is an important book because it brings to light the darkness that pervades the music and forces one to think about what role God or Satan plays in life. One may dismiss this book for being over the top, but that is too easy. Black metal is a subculture of music. It is at war with Christianity and the proper society. It is for the young and angry and disenfranchised. It is fertile ground for documentary photography. Beste embraces this role by showing all of it. We see the musicians both with and without makeup. In the dark clubs with severed animal heads. We also see the raw natural beauty of Norway, the dichotomy of the book. Nature and the landscape of Norway is the backdrop for this music. After pages of dark scenes, a postcard like image of a body of water surround by picturesque mountains.

True Norwegian Black Metal, by Peter Beste. Published by Vice, 2009.
The contradictions of the book give it strength. Beste puts the music in the context of the country. This books gives me the opening to go further with, but I have to want to seek it. It asks more of me than it explains. The musicians are not presented heroically, but as they are both on and off stage. The book gives insight into a culture that goes against the grain of normality. No matter how the book is read, it is confrontational.—TOM LEININGER

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TOM LEININGER is a photographer and educator based in Denton, Texas. He received his MFA in photography from the University of North Texas. Prior to that he was a newspaper photographer in Indiana. His work can be found at http://tomleininger.net.
The Photographer's Showcase is pleased to announce the opening of Baobab, Tree of Generations from Elaine Ling.

Baobab, Tree of Generations #11, 2009 -- Elaine Ling
photo-eye is pleased to welcome Hong Kong born photographer Elaine Ling to the photographers showcase. In her series Baobab, Tree of Generations, Ling has set out across South Africa, Mali and Madagascar to photograph one of the worlds most ancient living organisms: the Baobab trees. Many outside of these regions know the Baobab only from its presence in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. On the little prince's tiny planet, the Baobab is a terrible problem, its large roots and enormous form a threat to the very ground he lived on, but Baobabs on earth fill a very different role. Able to grow to spectacular size in some of the most infertile soil, the Baobab provides for the community that surrounds it. Generations have depended upon the Baobab tree, which not only provides shelter and landmark but it is also a nutritious food source in its fruit and pulp and a renewable source for materials for textiles and shelter.

Baobab, Tree of Generations #28 & #31, 2010 --  Elaine Ling
Living over a millennia, the Baobab trees that Ling photographed have been witness to the rise and fall of tribal Africa, seen the havoc and brutality of Western colonialism, and survived to contend with pollution and the increasing impact of man across the continent. They dominate the frame, so much so that it is easy to overlook that they are not the only photographic subjects. Ling’s photographs are not just documenting these mammoth trees, but are portraits of the giants and their human neighbors. Ling says “the images… reflect both the resilience and transience of life as I partner the Baobab with a person from the community: a grandmother, a grandfather, a young man, a young woman, a mother, a boy child, a girl child.” The people Ling photographs all have a special relationship to the tree they are pictured with, trees that some villagers have lived under and depended upon for their entire lives.

Ling’s representation of the trees, and her use of large format Polaroid film serves to enhance the viewers experience by reinforcing their ancient and alien appearance. With their bulbous trunks and spidery branches, the trees seem otherworldly, perhaps indicating the foreignness of such an intimate relationship with the natural world to westerners. The pictures serve as a lesson to the western audience, they speak to cooperation and balance between man and nature. Perhaps some of nature is too great simply to be ignored; rather it should be celebrated as the pillar of life and community that it is.

Baobab, Tree of Generations #13, 2009 -- Elaine Ling
View Ling’s work on the Photographer’s Showcase click here.

For more information on Elaine Lings photographs, please contact photo-eye Gallery Associate Cliff Shapiro by email or by calling the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202


photo-eye is please to be selling books at booth 34 at the exhibition fair of the 2012 Society for Photographic Education national conference March 22nd-25th at the Hyatt Regency, Five Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. While this year's conference is already completely sold out, the public is welcome to visit the exhibition fair where photo-eye will have a variety of great photobook titles on hand and will also be conducting a number of book signings.


You can see our signing schedule with books available here:

Friday March 23rd -- exhibition fair open from 9:00am to 4:00pm
10:45   Mike Mandel -- The State of Ata
10:45   David Maisel -- History's ShadowLibrary of DustOblivion
12:00   Jane Alden Stevens -- Tears of Stone
1:00     Eliot Dudik -- Road Ends in Water
1:00     Mark Klett -- The Half-Life of HistoryYosemite in TimeRephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and FireThird View, Second SightIdeas about TimeTraces of Eden
2:45     Arno Rafael Minkkinen -- Surrounded by No OneAmerican FaithArno Rafael Minkkinen: Forty Years of Self-Portraits Including STILL NOT THERESagaHomework

Saturday March 24th -- exhibition fair open from 9:30am to 4:30pm
10:00   Beth Yarnelle Edwards -- Suburban Dreams
11:15   Chad States -- CruisingLonely Boy Mag. Vol. 2
12:15   Jason Fulford -- CrushedRaising Frogs for $$$Notes of Raising Frogs for $$$The Mushroom Collection
12:15   Paccarik Orue -- There's Nothing Beautiful Around Here
1:15     Jennifer Greenburg -- The Rockabillies
2:00     Darius Himes & Mary Virginia Swanson -- Publish Your Photography Book

For those not in San Francisco, we are also opening up back orders for signed copies of the books listed above. If you're interested in purchasing a signed copy of one of these books, back order now to assure your copy -- quantities are limited and will likely sell out quickly. For those in San Francisco, we hope you'll stop by to browse the selection and say hello to Antone and Melanie.
Wiese by Anne Schwalbe
Although another mild winter storm has arrived this week, I have spring fever from the few days of short-sleeve weather that we have had in Santa Fe recently. This weather leaves me wishing that the warmer spring days will stick around, days that beckon me to go out and enjoy the weather. I long to be in my garden visually scouring the surface of the soil for any sign of a newly germinated vegetable. Now, here I am looking around the store for something to share with our blog reading audience and I see Anne Schwalbe’s newest book Wiese, which for now will have to quench my desire for new life and greenery.
from Wiese
Printed in an edition of 500 signed and numbered copies, this book object is presented as Schwalbe’s earlier publication Blindschleiche und Riesenblatt. It unwraps, following my obsession with spring and gardening, as a seed packet: one brown bag opens to reveal a Wiese image postcard held tightly to the outer heavy stock envelope by two rubber bands and inside Schwalbe has included another brown bag housing the unbound folios -- the pages scored and tucked one inside the next. Once open, each page lays flat so that each image may be enjoyed without the burden of the gutter.

from Wiese
from Wiese
In the description that Schwalbe supplied with the book, she only states “it’s about meadows” and it is just that, about meadows. Each image in this simple, but elegant book represents one small detail of the lushly colored and blooming landscape. Most images are filled with forest green and touches of yellow, pink, white and purple from the flowering plants that dot the frame. The colors are deep and rich, captured in the waning light of the day and the subtly speckled offset white paper absorbs the images, while the inks rest perfectly on the page and leaves each image sharp and crisp.

Purchase Wiese here
Rookery by Tim Edgar, P.I. by Nico Bick, Dark Zone by Hannes Helkura
Rookery by Tim Edgar is a delicate book containing 10 images of bird rookeries located in southern Dorset, England. These breeding grounds are photographed uninhabited and display an unsettling atmosphere. Here Edgar explores scenes of ritualistic animal behavior by creating a haunting landscape of absence that brings forth a compelling dialogue. 

P.I. by Nico Bick goes deep beyond the walls of the Penitentiary Institution Over-Amstel, the most well-known prison in the Netherlands. Bick focuses his lens on prison cells, isolation cells, communal rooms and prison perimeter walls creating an investigative document that shows the typology of confinement and functionality. The photographs are presented as loose pages, divided into sections depicting different parts of the prison complex and offer an engaging insight into the function of the prison institution.

Dark Zone by Hannes Helkura is a series of eerie portraits and cityscapes. These black-and-white images contain rich blacks and over powering forms determined by the photographer's approach of using shadows and dim light. The beautiful reproductions in this book create and undefined space that is reminiscent of a film noir.



All Publisher Direct titles are available for order through the publisher via a special link within their listing.

See all the Publisher Direct books here.

B-B-B-Books has produced a number of fascinating publications. A collaboration between photographers Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt, designers 1:2:3 and graphic designer Marika Vaccino Andersson, B-B-B-Books works to find a convergence between photography, text and design. All of their publications are notably great examples of this, photography books whose forms both enhance and enrich the content. Though none of these publications are particularly unusual or outlandish in form, each contains subtle and thoughtful reimagining of what a book is. It is a self-reflective understanding of book-art that makes each of these volumes more than the sum of their parts, rewarding in-depth viewing and rereading. Copies of Wikiland, 581c, Gingerbread Monument, and Blackdrop Island are currently sitting on my desk, and the collaborative photographic team of KK+TF (Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt) have a new book coming out later this spring, Europe, Greece, Athens, Acropoliswhich, judging from the currently published volumes, will be equally intriguing.


From Gingerbread Monument

Gingerbread Monument was the first publication from this crew, a collection of images from Källström mostly taken in her native Sweden. The images are varied, though most focus on people — some mundane in subject matter, others stunning in composition and color. Opening the gold-stamped cover and black-brown end papers, one encounters high-gloss pages, the images themselves varnished to a sheen resembling new prints from a one-hour photolab. Flipping through, one frequently encounters a page without image, though those pages can’t exactly be described as blank — the area that would have held the image is varnished, giving them a pale grayness. Roman numerals appear at the bottom of each page, also varnished, and giving off a slight shine. The book is divided into three parts, the first containing Källström images, the second, an index of the pages of the book printed on pink paper, and finally a series of poems by Viktor Johansson that were inspired by photos in the book. The index provides a welcome reference for the poetry, allowing the reader to link the image and poem quickly without having to flip through the entire book -- as do the two ribbon markers. There are still a number of mysteries in this book for me — the double pages of black and white finishing out the index section among them. I am perhaps heading down the rabbit hole of design, but I see a number of allusions to Polaroid photography, from the dimensions of the images, their placement and proportion of the borders, to the pale gray blank images, about the shade of a developing Polaroid. Purposeful or not, I noticed something lovely when flipping through the book with right-hand pages towards the sun. When moving from an empty image to a photograph on the other side, the sun hitting the page causes it to become translucent, allowing the ghost of the image below to show through. As the page lifts up, the image becomes clearer, until the page is finally turned over, showing the complete image. It’s not unlike watching a Polaroid develop.

from Blackdrop Island

The blank varnished pages in Gingerbread Monument were designed to be placeholders for images that were not yet made, images that were missing in the sequences that would come in a second volume from Källström. This second book, titled Blackdrop Island shares similarities in cover design and size with the previous book, as does the interior design, but the books feel vastly different. The photographs in this book are taken in Japan over the course of two trips, and the book and images play with the concept of digging where you stand, and coming out on the other side of the world. This world has a markedly different feel from that depicted in Gingerbread Monument, containing more street scenes with most images taken at night with a flash, the heavily lit foreground contrasting with the ink-black background. The images are more lonely, while people are frequently present in the frames, they often look away from the camera, lost in their own actions. Duality is a major theme in this book, from the folded pages that are printed with a dark sky-like pattern on the undersides, transitioning when the poetry takes over for the photographs in the later part of the book, the dark printing enveloping those pages, white on the underside, to the black-stamped title and cover, blind stamped on the back. Johansson's poetry is evocative, describing surreal dream-like scenes from a shadow twin world, making the photographs in recollection feel all the more bizarre. I have the urge to flip the book inside out and see what's on the other side. Gingerbread Monument?

from Wikiland

Contained in a brown box quite like an evidence box, Wikiland is printed on newspaper. A joint project of KK+TF, it centers around the trial of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, featuring images of the crowds of press and photographers outside of the Belmarsh court in London, but also a number from Ellingham Hall, the temporary residence of Assange during the trial. While there is a straightforward oddness to the mobs of reporters, the images from Ellingham Hall are more atmospheric, capturing scenes around the estate and small details from within the building, displaying a whole other dimension of weirdness. It’s unclear how the photographers gained access to the home. Assange is seen in one photograph taken from outside facing the large bay windows. Visible in the distance through a window, his is easy to miss, his presence is distant, though it is also felt in artifacts seen around the house — a scarf Assange was widely photographed wearing to court appears tossed on a couch, a mug he held during an interview rests on a coffee table. In form, the book mimics the rag newspapers that thrive on sensationalist events like the trial, but the images present something else altogether — they are subtle, showing both the absurd over exposure of the trial, as well as the mundane strangeness of Assange’s everyday existence. Form and photograph work together to create tension and nuance, a view of the trial that is altogether impossible to achieve in most venues.

from 581c

Parts two and three of a proposed 10 volume project, 581c from Thobias Fäldt is an unusual and at times surreal collection of images describing a site Fäldt calls 581c. Mostly taken at night, the images provide little context to ground the viewer in a specific place, instead, they all relate to a location of Fäldt’s imagination, a place familiar yet that also seems to be outside ordinary life. The book is contained in a smart box printed with a repeating geometric pattern, a circle cut from one side reveals the cover image. The book itself is beguiling in both sense of the word — the geometric stamps overlap to create 581c on the spine and edges of the pages and it is, in many ways, a book without beginning or end. Paging through, images are printed one per side of paper, meaning that after a two image spread, one encounters at least one white page, sometimes two, creating an odd break in the sequence, feeling something like a missing frame from a film. But the most peculiar thing happens halfway through the book — the images start to repeat — though they do so in a different order. This repetition of images achieves several ends. For me, it caused me to realize that there are only so many images that I can take in at once, and while I vividly recalled some images, other struck me as new in their second appearance. It also allows for more pairings, juxtapositions where the images communicate with each other in different ways, or exist on their own. I found that for whatever reason I would remember some images in their pairings more than when they appeared on their own, and vice versa. 581c encourages a good deal of flipping around through the book, a frenetic viewing experience that pulls the viewer out of the typically manner of reading a photo book.

I'm looking forward to spending some time with Europe, Greece, Athens, Acropolis when we get a copy. All of B-B-B-Books' publications are great examples of the book form meeting and enhancing the conceptual elements of a photographic series-- Sarah Bradley

Purchase Gingerbread Monument
Purchase Blackdrop Island
Purchase Wikiland
Purchase 581c
Pre-order Europe, Greece, Athens, Acropolis

photo-eye will be opening a pop-up book store at FotoFest 2012 in Houston at the Meeting Place at the DoubleTree Hotel. In addition to a wide selection of in-print, out-of-print and sale books, photo-eye will also be hosting a number of book signings. Located at the FotoFest Meeting Place portfolio reviews, the photo-eye store will be open from 1-5pm during the three review sessions, March 16th to April 3rd and is open to the public. See a the book signing schedule below:


Saturday March 17th, 4-5pm
Inger Lise Rasmussen
Nicola Dill -- Sea Etchings
Lorena Guillen Vaschetti -- Historia, Memoria, Silencios
Otis Ike and Ivete Lucas

Saturday March 24th, 4-5pm
Bill Armstrong -- MandalaApparition
Bill McCullough
Laurie Lambrecht -- Roy Lichtenstein in His Studio
Kurt Tong -- In Case It Rains in Heaven
Rania Matar -- Ordinary LivesA Girl and Her Room
William Ropp
Lydia Panas -- The Mark of Abel
Dana Popa

Monday March 26th, 4-5pm
Gay Block -- About Love, Bertha Alyce, Rescuers
Jamey Stillings -- The Bridge at Hoover Dam

Saturday March 31st, 4-5pm
Erika Diettes -- SilenciosDrifting Away
Mariette Pathy Allen -- The Gender Frontier
Michael Tumming
Monica Merva
Beth Lilly -- The Oracle @ Wifi

For those not in Houston, we are also opening up back orders for signed copies of the books listed above. If you're interested in purchasing a signed copy of one of these books, back order now to assure your copy -- quantities are limited and will likely sell out quickly.

For more information on the public events taking place during the FotoFest Biennial, including exhibitions, auctions, artist talks, forums and more, check FotoFest.org. We hope to see you there!
from Destino by Michelle Frankfurter
Photographer's Showcase artist Michelle Frankfurter is looking for help funding the final part of her on-going series Destino, a powerful project documenting the perilous journey of undocumented Central American migrants. Crossing Mexico by freight train, the migrants seek to cross the border into the United States. Frankfurter has photographed all but the last step of this trip, from crossing El Suchiate river from Guatemala into Mexico, through Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Mexico City, San Luis Postosi and Saltillo. So far, this project has been all self funded, and taken on without a guide. Because of the dangers of shooting along the border controlled by drug cartels, Frankfurter is reaching out through Kickstarter for financial help to hire a fixer while she completes her project. So far the response has been tremendous -- her goal has already been met, but more help is always valuable. Check out Frankfurter's Kickstarter page for more information about her project, including a video and blog posts. We'll be releasing a new portfolio from this project on the Photographer's Showcase as well as an interview with Frankfurter early next month. In the meantime, Frankfurter's current portfolio can be seen on the Photographer's Showcase here.

work by David H. Gibson and Chaco Terada
Showing concurrently at The Crow Collection in Dallas are two exhibitions of work by photo-eye Gallery artists, David Gibson: Toward Kasuga Shrine Along Pathways of Lanterns and Word Spirit: Calligraphy, Paintings, and Photographs by Chaco Terada. Gibson's images investigate the ancient stone lanterns along the pathway to the Kasuga Shrine. "These visual and historic elements offer a transporting and a calming experience. Kasuga Grand Shrine is a place of refuge and contemplation.” Terada presents a small retrospective of her work over the past ten years. "Terada, living in a culture where English is the common tongue, experiences the sensation of kotodama—the spiritual power of words—in calligraphy, where she comes back to the language of her heart. From calligraphy, she has extended this power to other art forms using photography and ink and color on paper and silk." Both exhibits close on May 5th. See David H. Gibson's work here. Chaco Terada's work can be viewed here.


Tom Chambers' photograph Winged Migration is on the cover of the current issue of Photograph Magazine. You can read Lyle Rexer's essay on selecting Chambers for the cover here. Entropic Kingdom, Chambers' first publication of this series from ModernBook is due next month -- preorder a signed copy here. See Chambers' work at photo-eye Gallery here.


Finally, we are proud to report that the Google+ video on Mitch Dobrowner and his storm series has been viewed 1,000,000 times! If you haven't seen it yet, you can catch the video here. See Dobrowner's work at photo-eye Gallery here.