Books In Stock at photo-eye: Signed Four signed in stock photobooks from Chen Jiagang, Erik van der Weijde, Satoru Watanabe and Brian Griffin.
By Chen Jiagang
Chen Jiagang's Sample Room explores the changing socio-economic landscape in China through the corruption of the housing market. As Chen describes it, "there is no other industry in China so closely connected to politics, economics, social welfare and the media." Using the concept of the double screen, a Chinese practice of producing a painting within a painting, one depicting the real world and another depicting a subjective world, Chen photographs real model homes with their overly pristine and often tacky-opulent decor, populating his images with models to create bizarre tableaux. Much like the rooms they occupy, the people in the images feel cold and their actions are stiff. The images are full of indications that the people they do not belong in the environment in which they are pictured (everyone wears shoe covers), expressing the tension between the individual and society. The book is cleverly designed with fine-paper overlays and occasional cut-outs framing the faces of the individuals in the photographs.
By Erik van der Weijde
Following up his 2009 publication This Is Not My Son, This Is Not My Wife plays with notions of family and the shifting roles we fill in relationships. Featuring a series of portraits of van der Weijde's wife, she is depicted as model/mother/wife/lover -- holding their child, posing in bathing suits and cute dresses, sleeping, tanning, eating, swimming, looking coy, looking bored but also often indecipherable with a strikingly common Mona Lisa smile. This Is Not My Wife is a fun exploration of representation and the complexities of the people in our lives.
By Satoru Watanabe
da.gasita by Satoru Watanabe is a wandering, nostalgic recollection of memories of a cold winter from the photographer's childhood. The black & white photographs are empty and haunting — as though Watanabe retraced his childhood memories, aiming to capture fleeting moments that made an impression on him as a young child. A flock of birds flies overhead, a thermostat reads ten degree Celsius, a town is covered in several feet of snow. Occasional captions give more insight into Watanabe's childhood memories and sublime photographs.
By Brian Griffin
Selected as a Book of the Week by Mark Power