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Books - Foam List No. 6, September 09

von Sebastian Hau

Nagano Shigeichi, "Hong Kong Reminiscence 1958"

Although unknown outside of Japan, Shigeichi has already had three books of photography published there, the first of which was a publication in the prestigious series "Hysteric Glamour". His latest book is especially well designed and presents pictures taken during a stay in Hong Kong in 1958. As a photographer, Shigeichi is not easy to describe. An unprejudiced eye is required to recognise his qualities. From the 1940s until the late 1990s, he documented everyday life in Japan. Even during a visit to Hong Kong, he was untiring in his photographic exploration of the streets, taking pictures even in the opium dens of Kowloon which, however, he quickly had to leave. His photographs lack drama, the formal play of black and white, and the stereotypes and presumptions about people which we can see in many photographs from the 1950s, from Doisneau to the Family of Man. Shigeichi can perhaps best be compared to the Italian neorealists. He is now being discovered by a new generation of Japanese photographers since, when confronted with the city, photographers are constantly forced to re-invent themselves, and his unspectacular pictures can teach us so much about what he photographed.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shigeichi_Nagano"; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shigeichi_Nagano www.photojpn.org/books/theme/nagano.html";, www.photojpn.org/books/theme/nagano.html,www.lensculture.com/nagano.html";, www.lensculture.com/nagano.html

Olivier Cablat, "Galaxie"

"Galaxie" is Olivier Cablat's first book and one that brings together various aspects of his work. His study of commercial structures and popular culture led to the series entitled "Discotheques" which documents discotheques around the Mediterranean, their prefabricated building style, and their strategy of adopting names such as "Las Vegas", "Kheops" or “Nitro” in an attempt at extravagance. When we open the book and leaf through it, the first thing we see, however, is a large collection of found photographs that have obviously come from the Internet. Trusting his intuition, Cablat undertook an almost obsessive search for pictures that correspond to the names of the discotheques he photographed. He then allows these pictures to clash on the page. This leads to comical moments but also makes us question our understanding of photography. This is often the case with found photographs, since they prove more difficult to read than art photographs. With this seemingly complicated approach, which is actually easy to understand with the book in hand, the photographer is able to take a new look at the interplay between words and pictures and between names, signs, images and photographs.


Timothy Prus, Ed Jones, "The Corinthians"

To mark the discontinuation of Kodachrome slide film, the Archive of Modern Conflict brought together 5000 slides that were made during the golden age of Kodak, the 1950s in America. A selection of 250 pictures was made for this finely printed book. The pictures not only are a commentary on "The Americans" by Robert Frank but also take Paul's epistles to the Corinthians as a subtext for satirising American society. The snapshots of family life, which capture the unusual and the ordinary, can be read with a number of subtexts (films, photobooks or religious texts) and thus develop into an uncanny mirror of the archetypes and dreams of our society, too.

www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2009/jun/25/corinthians-kodachrome-slideshow-photography";, www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2009/jun/25/corinthians-kodachrome-slideshow-photography

Natascha Libbert, "Take me to the Hilton"

With the support of the busy professor of photography Corinne Noordenbos, Natascha Libbert has published a small work of her own that captures life in front of and behind the scenes in Hilton hotels throughout the world. Whether of guests or employees, the photographs show us the interaction between places, people and activities and do so in an unobtrusive but eloquent manner. As we have come to expect of Dutch publications, this publication in a magazine format has a precise, bold and conspicuous but not exaggerated design.

www.nataschalibbert.nl/";, www.nataschalibbert.nl/
www.12thpress.com/?p=888";, www.12thpress.com/?p=888,

Tim Brennan, "English Anxieties"

As part of a commission, British artist Tim Brennan scoured the archives of the Mass Observation Group, an association of artists in the 1940s. In doing so, he came across "The Lethbridge Report", a record of unusual visual phenomena found in the vicinity of Cambridge. The report consisted of chalk drawings, early graffiti, pavement art, invitations and flyers. Wrapped in brown paper, this publication has the same effect as a report, distant and factual, but the way in which the pictures are brought together and the contents of the pictures themselves will be a source of satisfaction for readers who delight in photographs that have awoken from a long archival slumber and that still retain a life of their own.

www.artrabbit.com/uk/events/event/13351/tim_brennan_english_anxieties";, www.artrabbit.com/uk/events/event/13351/tim_brennan_english_anxieties, www.photoworksuk.org/publication/current/details.asp?pub_id=71";, www.photoworksuk.org/publication/current/details.asp?pub_id=71


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Schlagworte: Nagano Shigeichi, Olivier Cablat, Timothy Prus, Ed Jones, Natascha Libbert, Tim Brennan