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2017 Best Books: Roger Ballen


Books Roger Ballen: 2017 Best Books Roger Ballen Selects Brassaï: Graffiti, Ravens, and Art Can Help as the Best Books of 2017
Roger Ballen
© Marguerite Rossouw
Roger Ballen is one of the most important photographers of his generation. He was born in New York in 1950 but has been living and working in South Africa for over 30 years.

Over the past thirty years, his distinctive style of photography has evolved using a simple square format in stark and beautiful black and white. In his earlier works his connection to the tradition of documentary photography is clear, but through the 1990s he developed a style he describes as ballenesque.

In his recent series, he has employed drawings, painting, collage and sculptural techniques to create elaborate sets. Ballen has invented a new hybrid aesthetic in these works but one still rooted firmly in photography.

His previous release is The Theatre of Apparitions. In a departure from his existing oeuvre, intricately layered images occupy a space between painting, drawing, and photography linking image-making and theatrical performance.

In September 2017 Thames & Hudson released Ballenesque, Roger Ballen: A Retrospective, a major retrospective of his collected works

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Brassaï: Graffiti, Le Langage Du Mur
By Brassaï. Editions Xavier Barral, 2017.
 
Brassaï:
Graffiti, Le Langage Du Mur

Photographs by Brassaï

It is a work that starts in the 1930s around the notions of registration and of muralism, which is situated in the crossroads of the documentary approach and the plastic creation. We are in the field of reality and in the field of imagination — both are inseparable. There is a poetry of tracks, marks, and accidents that were left on city walls. Something precious and archaic appears from the commonplace and from the random, which reminds us of the everyday life, the conscious and unconscious, but also of the secret signs, the strange vestiges of the walls of caves.

Purchase Book Here


Brassaï: Graffiti, Le Langage Du Mur By Brassaï. Editions Xavier Barral, 2017.

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Ravens By Masahisa Fukase. Mack, 2017.
 
Ravens
Photographs by Masahisa Fukase

This is one of my all-time favourite books. The images throughout the book are haunting, yet assuring.

A lot of people are scared of solitude. Some of the images invite you in, like a sort of fairytale waiting to be explored. Grainy, dark and impressionistic images create a mysterious mood of longing and loss. Yet they also portray a feeling of calmness.

Read the full review on photo-eye's blog

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Ravens By Masahisa Fukase. Mack, 2017.

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Art Can Help: New and Selected Essays 
By Robert Adams. 
Yale University Art Gallery, 2017.
 
Art Can Help:
New and Selected Essays

Text by Robert Adams

The work recapitulates a history of photography explained in images and brief descriptions. It offers a precise panorama, which gives a simple and clear reading of the esthetic and fundamental stakes in this medium. In this essay, he raises an analysis and a sensitive interpretation. He explains for every image what it is important to see, to understand, to seize (“what does the picture mean.”) The book approaches notions as major as minimalism (“everything in nothing,” “silence so accurate”); “the decisive moment” (Cartier-Bresson); or the fact “that the medium has historically been especially open to visionaries at the margin.”

Read the full review on photo-eye's blog

Purchase Book Here

Art Can Help: New and Selected Essays By Robert Adams.

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