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2017 Best Books: Ed Templeton


Books Ed Templeton: 2017 Best Books Ed Templeton Selects The Last Son, People in Cars, and Kensington Blues as the Best Books of 2017
Ed Templeton
Ed Templeton (born 1972) A respected cult figure in the subculture of skateboarding, his paintings, photographs, drawings, and mixed-media installations take their inspiration from the subculture he is a part of and the suburban environment he lives in. Templeton is also a two-time world-champion professional skateboarder, and the founder/creative force behind Toy Machine Skateboard Company. His work has been shown at MOCA, Los Angeles, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, S.M.A.K. Museum, Belgium, Bonnefanten Museum, Netherlands, Kunsthalle, Vienna, and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, UK. His work is included in the LACMA permanent collection. Over 15 books of his work have been published.

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The Last Son By Jim Goldberg 
Super Labo, 2016.
 
The Last Son
Photographs by Jim Goldberg

The Last Son really is a perfect photo book. This book pushes all my buttons. Great photography (both personal and street,) hand-printed and collaged with writing and decorations. Goldberg makes great use of the ephemeral aspects of what makes analog photography so cool. It’s a personal account of growing up in New Haven, CT, presented as hand-typed text with recollections from his youth, stories about his father and other family members. The photographs are pulled from all over. Vintage family photos are mixed in with private images he shot, along with documentary photos of people in the streets. The tone and the variety of layouts make this book a delight to look through, and the size is perfect for easy viewing. It’s hard to conceive that this book was made in late 2016; it feels like a classic already. The bar has been raised.

Purchase Book Here

The Last Son By Jim Goldberg. Super Labo, 2016.

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People in Cars
By Mike MandelSTANLEY/BARKER, 2017.
 
People in Cars
Photographs by Mike Mandel

What a wonderful time capsule! These photos are impossible to get in the modern world. Window tinting has changed; people’s attitudes have changed. Mr. Mandel stood on a corner shooting people driving by in cars. Looks like a 35mm lens to me, so to fill the frame he has to get up close and shoot into these people’s personal spaces. Most people smile or look quizzically at the photographer. Some flip a good-natured “bird” and others stick out their hand to block the shot, but it all seems to be done in a generally jovial manner. Many people seem to be excited to be the object of attention and strike a pose. I get so happy looking through this book. The cover shot (also included inside) is one of the best photos I’ve ever seen. It’s a perfect mix of form and content, a pack of gum and cigarettes in the foreground on the dashboard, the look of the woman, the necklace hanging from the rearview, the reflections of the gas stations on the driver’s side window. Damn, it’s amazing. And there are 20 more photos operating on that high level out of 37 photos published in the book. I picture trying to get these photos today, the number of times you’d be chased, beaten or possibly shot, and that’s if you could even see in through the tinted windows.

Purchase Book Here

People in Cars By Mike MandelSTANLEY/BARKER, 2017.

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Kensington Blues By Jeffrey Stockbridge.
Self-published, 2017.
 
Kensington Blues
Photographs by Jeffrey Stockbridge

Wow. Kensington Blues is a seriously heavy book that should be getting some attention. This is the kind of book that really shows the power of what photography can do when laid out in book form. It features five years of documenting the lives and stories of the people on notorious Kensington Street in Philadelphia, using a 4x5 view camera, and an audio recorder. The book is a beautiful, colorful, eye-opening, and sad account of the hookers, Johns, dealers, addicts, homeless, and hustlers stuck in this place. Along with transcribed stories are ephemeral notes and other handwritten journal entries from his subjects, along with the portraits he shot of them. It’s a very humanizing book and you can see the deep empathy and sensitivity Mr. Stockbridge exhibited in making this work, giving a real voice to these people well beyond the typical, devoid of context, silent pictures of the destitute.

Purchase Book Here

Kensington Blues By Jeffrey Stockbridge.Self-published, 2017.

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