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2016 Best Books: Carolyn Drake

Books Carolyn Drake: 2016 Best Books Carolyn Drake Selects Shenasnameh, Beyond Maps and Atlases, and Automagic as the Best Books of 2016
Carolyn Drake
Carolyn Drake is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, the Lange Taylor Prize, a World Press Photo award, and the Anamorphosis Prize, among other awards. She is author of two self published books, Two Rivers (2013) and Wild Pigeon (2014). Having spent a decade working abroad she is now based in Vallejo, California and making work close to home. Carolyn is a nominee at Magnum Photos.

Shenasnameh. By Amak Mahmoodian. RRB Books/ICVLStudio, 2016.
Photographs by Amak Mahmoodian
Designed like the identity document required by the Iranian government, this passport-sized book pairs identity photographs of Iranian women with the women's fingerprints and the obstructive pen marks showing which images were rejected by the government for showing too much hair or makeup. Motivated by personal questions about the similarity between her own ID photo and her mother’s, Mahmoodian traveled door to door in Iran asking fellow women to share their images. She writes, “when I knocked at the door, it was like going to meet a photograph… each woman was different from another and then each woman was different from her photograph.” The book is about seeing diversity and difference in a context where visual identities are heavily controlled, about seeing absence. What began as personal inquiry ends up creating a kind of forbidden collective consciousness of Iranian woman. Shenasnameh is an emotional and quietly subversive book.

Read the review by Sarah Bay Gachot on photo-eye Blog 
Purchase Book Here

Beyond Maps and Atlases. By Bertien Van Manen.
Mack, 2016.
Beyond Maps and Atlases
Photographs by Bertien van Manen
A book shot in several trips to Ireland after van Manen lost her husband. I knew van Manen for her intimate and subjective photographs of people, so this book’s dearth of human subjects took me by surprise. It is as instinctive, loose and raw as her previous work in Russia and China, but instead of searching for people, she turns to the landscape and nature. I see the book as a form of grieving ritual, a mystical inquiry, a personal search for essence. With no text except a short poem by Seamus Heaney on the final page, the images read like a visual poem. This photographer’s version of The Year of Magical Thinking.

Read the review by Blake Andrews on photo-eye Blog 
Purchase Book Here

AutomagicBy Anouk Kruithof, 2016.
Photographs by Anouk Kruithof
Drawing from her personal image archive shot and catalogued over many years, Kruithof worked existing images into montages and screenshots to recontextualize and reinvent them. It is a digital experiment turned into a book - ten books actually, each with a different color and paper, brought together in a transparent box. The result is open-ended; not a narrative, but what happens when the creative mind and technology are let loose. It is about photography, but, refreshingly, rather than condemning the medium or harping on its inadequacies, the book celebrates its expanding possibilities.

Purchase Book Here

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