Photobooks in Spotlight: A Bookmaker’s Picks
Part objet d’art, part visual storytelling, part reflection of the times- a good photobook is all this and so much more. Fascinating creations, adding photobooks to your home serves more than just aesthetic purposes- they are meant to pique interest and start conversations. While your home libraries and bookshelves may be brimming with books that are waiting to be read and re-read, photobooks serve more as a personal statement and deserve to be placed somewhere they will be noticed.
Visual artist and bookmaker Kaamna Patel believes in celebrating the process and experimentation through handcrafted books. Her publishing imprint Editions JOJO was launched in Mumbai in 2019 with titles that are now housed in bookstores worldwide.
The perfect enhancement for sombre spaces in your home, Kaamna shares her recommendations of photobooks in spotlight now.
Album Beauty by Erik Kessels
Paying homage to the now vanishing family photo albums, Erik Kessels weaves visual narratives of perfectly positive life in these albums which often lived on mantlepieces. Album Beauty serves as a precursor to the social media age- seeking the less-than-ideal truth, an unexpected beauty with a bit of criticism, nostalgia and humor.
Claudio Pogo’s Guide by Claudio Pogo
In 1976 the MoMA published what is considered as one of the most important American photobooks ever made- William Eggleston’s Guide, the first book of color photography. This book forced the public to accept color photography’s place within the art world. In Claudio Pogo’s Guide, the artist recreated a modern-day version of the original book with imagery generated using artificial intelligence of today’s image search engines.
24 Slides by Aparna Nori
Through 24 Slides, Aparna Nori pieced together her personal accounts of growing up in war-torn Baghdad. Compiled with text, family archives and found slides of tourist photographs of Baghdad, 24 Slides is a small-format, spiral bound trade book that is honest, simple, beautifully printed, accessible and functions outside of time and place.
Studies of Falls by Magdalena Wysocka
Magdalena Wysocka attempts to investigate the role chance and accidents play in our lives through a visual retelling of a meteorite crashing into Ann Hodges' house in 1954- the only woman to ever be struck by a meteorite. This meticulously printed, handmade photobook is inspired by a theory that collisions don’t destroy, but create things.
Some Collages by Jim Jarmusch
American director crowned auteur Jim Jarmusch is also known for his nuanced cut-out collages. In Some Collages, using the tip of a ballpoint pen to cut out images from old newspapers, Jim Jarmusch’s witty and fantastical worlds extend into this photobook. It is a collection of collages that Jarmusch has been making for years in his free time. Through these collages, he manifests the improbable narratives he would like to witness, giving life to imagination and also to newspapers.
Because by Sophie Calle
Hidden in the crevices of it’s Japanese binding, Because’s imagery is only revealed after a slide of introductory text- a reason that led the artist to press the shutter. This photobook allows the reader to imagine an image of their own before they see Sophie Calle’s- a poetic, playful and thoughtfully produced work of art that sparks a new discovery every time you pick it up.
Guftgu by Offset Projects
Curated by Anshika Varma, brought together by Offset Projects; Guftgu is a collection of zines by various South Asian artists as a response to the pandemic. The collection brought together these voices to initiate virtual conversations that challenge the notions of South Asian identity as an act of solidarity in itself.