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Best Books of 2014: Reviews and Interviews Part 1

Books Best Books of 2014: Reviews and Interviews Part 1 A collection of reviews and interviews on some of the Best Books of 2014.
The Day the Dam Collapses
Photographs by Hiroshi Watanabe

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2014 by:
Sarah Bradley
Anne Kelly

"Oh well. If the dam bursting on our heads is inevitable, we might as well make some photographs while waiting for it. Watanabe's been busy as usual doing just that, and The Day The Dam Collapses collects some of his recent work. Watanabe has switched in recent years from black and white to color, and he's given up film for digital, at least for this book. But the photographic style he developed in the mid 1990s has remained consistently his own. That's the contemplative streak I mentioned earlier. It's always been in his photos, and it's in this project too."—From the review by Blake Andrews

Out West
By Kyler Zeleny
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2014 by:
Andy Adams

"Out West takes us with Zeleny as he tours the Canadian West visiting communities with populations of 1,000 or less (frequently far, far less). His superb essay, which ends the book, outlines not only his journey, but his deeply felt ideas about the rural as a vanishing habitat. For those engaging with Out West for the first time I suggest starting at the end with The Rural Unstuck. Zeleny deserves credit not only for an illuminating collection of photographs, but for eloquently written exposition as well."—From the review by Christopher J. Johnson

By Eamonn Doyle
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2014 by:
Martin Parr

"i is a fascinating book of small stories told through a basic vocabulary of clothing, posture and the direction of the gaze. It’s not that consistent in some ways. The light, the lenses, the angles all vary, but this does not really matter because the visual vocabulary gives the book a coherence it might otherwise lack. And because of this vocabulary, and the repeated representation of the old throughout the book, i hits the street photography sweet spot; that rich or poor, well-dressed or badly-dressed, clean or dirty, the street is a democratic arena where the weight of the world sits equally on everybody’s shoulders."—From the review by Colin Pantall 

i was also selected as Book of the Week by Martin Parr. Read his statement.

A Perpetual Season
By Grégoire Pujade-Lauraine

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2014 by:
Alex F. Webb & Lewis Chalpin

"Tightly edited and smartly designed, GrĂ©goire Pujade-Lauraine’s A Perpetual Season is a psychological short story that leads us through this bleak city. Intimate, yet claustrophobic, order seems to be all around, but the faces of the city’s inhabitants are marked by confusion and bewilderment. Trapped in a labyrinth of their own making, they are left circling and searching." —From the review by Adam Bell

The Night Climbers of Cambridge
By Thomas Maileander

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2014 by:
Manik Katyal
Eric Miles

"The attire of the climbers is initially startling. Men cling to drain pipes in Plimsolls and trousers, clamber up ornate decorative work barefoot, wedge themselves between pillars in suits and dress shoes, looking all the more strange in their 1930s street clothes. Occasionally, a policeman shouts feebly from the ground like a scene out of Keystone Cops. Sometimes funny, other times outright goofy, the photographs never shake an unsettling eeriness that accompanies the deep blacks and extreme variants of grays in the edifices. At times, the climber can be hard to spot within the photograph; periodically they appear like apparitions on spires, hanging precariously off gutters and window ledges."—From the review by Sarah Bradley

The Return
By Adrain Chesser

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2014 by:
Andy Adams

"Ah yes, the photos. They're quite entertaining. Chesser counters between formal portraiture and set pieces in an entertaining mix. He mixes straight landscape and human activity, and along the way manages to convey the story of Coyote Camp, or at least some of it. His use of light is exquisite. If it's sometimes overly sentimental, that can be excused by the subject matter. This is the new Utopia remember, the great un-Spinning. It must be presented as Heroic. Most importantly the photos convey an intimacy dependent on exclusive access, as Chesser had to track down the tribe and then live among them for many months to capture these scenes. The investment pays off with the photographs."—From the review by Blake Andrews

By Geert Goiris

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2014 by:
Sara Skorgan Teigen

"Geert Goiris has struck again, following last year’s Lying Awake with a new book of only 30 or so haunting photographs — landscapes, trees, rock formations, man-made objects and images of people who look like they are waiting for something to happen, or maybe it just happened? The quiet tension about the pictures reminds me of the French TV series The Returned. Both get under my skin and I don’t want to look away."—From the Book of the Week pick by Tricia Gabriel

By Alejandro Cartagena

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2014 by:
Sarah Bradley
Cristina de Middel
Jeffrey Ladd
Colin Pantall
Martin Parr

"Cartagena photographed the cars from a pedestrian bridge above a six-lane highway that led to the wealthy suburbs of Monterey, a continuation of his fascination with the relationship between the urban and suburban, between the rich and the poor, the dynamics of a place where the workers are trucked in by the day to build the houses, tend the gardens and clean the swimming pools of Monterrey’s suburban rich."—From the review by Colin Pantall

By H. Lee

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2014 by:
Melanie McWhorter

"The latest is (an alias) H. Lee. Her book Grassland is a photographic profile of marijuana farming in Southern Humboldt County. Located in redwood country about 200 miles north of San Francisco, this region is perhaps the national epicenter of high-grade marijuana production. I spent my childhood here and I know the area well, so I found the scenes in Grassland of particular interest. But I think the book will be worthwhile for readers from other areas too, as marijuana's appeal knows no geographic boundaries."—From the review by Blake Andrews