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2013 Best Books Reviews and Videos: Part II

Reviews & Videos 2013 Best Books Reviews and Videos: Part II Part II of our collection of book reviews and videos featuring 2013 Best Books titles published on photo-eye Blog.

By Rinko Kawauchi

"In 2007, Rinko Kawauchi travelled to the city of Aso to witness the ritual crop burning (or yakihata) of the region's farm and grasslands. Largely replaced with chemical means of fertilization, the almost 1300 year old tradition of crop burning have a unique place in local culture. Mesmerized and haunted by the dramatic flames and rituals, Kawauchi returned over the years to capture the transformed landscape. Channeling smoke, flames, earth and the cosmos, Ametsuchi captures this annual ritual, connecting earth, fire and sky and powerfully evoking the cycle of life and death in a beautifully designed book." —Adam Bell Read more

And Every Day Was Overcast
By Paul Kwiatkowski
Black Balloon Publishing

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Doug Rickard

"That's the quandary immediately confronting readers of Paul Kwiatkowski's illustrated book And Every Day Was Overcast. The book is clearly labeled as a novel. Yet the majority of its contents are photographs. These photos are given a further patina of reality by following a casual snapshot aesthetic. They seem like they might've been pulled from an old scrapbook. I'm going to take a wild guess and say they were, and that the scrapbook belonged to Paul Kwiatkowski. I admit it's speculation but hey, truth and fiction are interchangeable, right?" —Blake Andrews Read more

By Simon Roberts
Dewi Lewis

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Douglas Stockdale

"Born of the Victorian invention of a holiday by the sea, the British pleasure pier has been for a century and a half both conveyance and destination, fixed landmark and mutable emblem. They sprang up from the exuberance of their day, through cast iron and steam trains – a promenade's stretch with bandstands and fun fairs. Their story follows the popular whim, as well as the effects of time and the elements. Simon Roberts has systematically photographed those fifty-eight pleasure piers that still stand today, after their heyday has waned, interested in what part they play in contemporary English leisure." —Karen Jenkins Read more

A Period of Juvenile Prosperity
By Mike Brodie
Twin Palms Publishers

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Blake Andrews
Erin Azouz
Sarah Bradley
Rob Hornstra
Eric Miles
Colin Pantall
Doug Rickard
Alec Soth

"[Mike Brodie] was never trained in photography and called himself The Polaroid Kidd after the prolific boxcar tagger The Kodak Kidd. When Polaroid discontinued the film, he started shooting 35mm, and when he put the images on the internet the art world responded resoundingly. Then Brodie stopped making photographs to become a mechanic. It’s like art-world catnip – enticing and edgy subject matter, an embodiment of a spirit of youthful adventure, and an undeniably authentic photographer who has quit the art world right when interest is peaking. There is a lot here to talk about, but ultimately it all gets in the way of what actually makes the images in A Period of Juvenile Prosperity so special. None of it accounts for the power of Brodie’s photographic voice, which has been so thoughtfully distilled in the book from Twin Palms." —Sarah Bradley Read more

By Guy Archard

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Regina Anzenberger
"Window frames and dying flowers punctuate his book, Almost, like an interior designer's worst nightmare. Twigs, weeds, flowers, a tree and a dead butterfly run through Almost against sash window frames that have been subjected to a dozen coats of badly applied cheap emulsion and are lined with cracks and the black house-mould that breeds in the dampness of rainy, under-heated British summers and springs. These are window frames that rattle in houses that rattle in a book that rattles."  —Colin Pantall Read more

she dances on Jackson
By Vanessa Winship
HCB Foundation / MACK

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Blake Andrews
Todd Hido
Rob Hornstra

"A road trip across America photographed with large format black and white film is fertile ground for nostalgia and romanticism to grow upon. Vanessa Winship avoids these photographic pitfalls with her new book she dances on Jackson. She has created a direct, yet metaphoric record of her travels that is both timeless and descriptive of the present." —Tom Leininger Read more

By David Campany

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Jeffrey Ladd

"Collected from deaccessioned newspaper archives, the photographs represent a bygone era when the physical print was the default. Moving from the darkroom to the picture editor's desk to print, the images were cropped, annotated and labeled. In presenting both sides of the images, the photograph's materiality is foregrounded. Bends, torn edges, wrinkles and grease pencil marks offer a glimpse of the image's history. The black and red colored marks also have a beauty all their own. Signs, people, cars and banal buildings all sit outside the colored lines, or are crossed out, and suggest that the cropped images have much more to tell than their editors allowed." —Adam Bell

By Mark Power
GOST Books


Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Sarah Bradley

"Dayanita Singh's File Room is a collection of images documenting record and file rooms in India. Gathered for over a decade, the photographs capture the paper records of factories, government offices, and personal archives. The papers in these archives trace multi-generational court trials, lineages of possession and exchange. Some make recurring journeys to courtrooms, others wait on shelves for decades to prove themselves useful, and all, most likely, will disintegrate entirely." —Nicholas Chiarella Read more

Garry Winogrand
Photographs by Gary Winogrand
Yale University Press

"All in all, the book has the size and scope we've come to expect from similar retrospectives. It feels comparable to Friedlander, the 2005 MoMA survey. That is to say, both are enormous, calculated, and resourceful. Both will flatten any troublesome print left underneath. And both attempt a task which is perhaps impossible, to sum up 40 odd years in a few hundred pages and improve the understanding of someone already very well known." —Blake Andrews Read more

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes
By Ed Panar
Spaces Corners & The Ice Plant

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Sarah Bradley

"Ed Panar's Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes is a strange little saddle stitched book containing a series of black & white photographs -- or perhaps more correctly, two series of black & white photographs, because when you get to the end, flip it over and turn it upside down, there's another book. With neither a back nor a front, it also avoids a beginning and an end. It's a fascinating experiment in sequencing and book design, in the same family as Thobias Faldt's 581c, where halfway through the book every image appears again, but in a different order. Faldt's book similarly has an endless feel as the repetition of images works to compel the reader back to the beginning, but it's not just the infinite nature of Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes that makes it captivating." —Sarah Bradley Read more

Pictures from the Real World
By David Moore
Dewi Lewis/Here Press

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Jeffrey Ladd
Colin Pantall

"Pictures From The Real World is a visual exploration of the grimness of people's homes; it's the World of Grimteriors if you like. David Moore's prowling of the council estates of Derby, knocking on doors to get a picture of what lies behind, paid off with a particular vision of the (still) depressed Britain of the late 1980s." —Colin Pantall Read more