Photobooks of 2021: Terri Weifenbach

Irene Zottola

The Dark Wood by Danielle Mericle, The Ice Plant / Perimeter Editions

I’ve been waiting for what seems like a long time to immerse myself in another of Mericle’s books. I found The Dark Wood in my hands in late November and I want to shout, “It’s here!”. The Dark Wood is measured and deliberate, one finds themselves quickly, willingly ensnared. It speaks of time and substantive change, what we are losing,  have lost, how comprehension changes through time and events and differences of consciousness. At the end a visual epitaph personalises and reminds us that it’s all personal.

Icaro by Irene Zottola, Ediciones Anómalas

Icaro, flying, how to fly, the desire to fly. “Not all flying birds are good at gliding or soaring, even if they’re all capable of both.”, is a quote from the middle of Icaro. Using found images and texts, deconstruction and constructing, it’s a slow build, with facts that create questions, musings and images (all black and white) that combine to  create a raw asymmetric mental tension.

Somersault by Raymond Meeks, Mack

Some photographs made by Meeks cease to describe. They exist like successful paintings that express with pure colour, atmosphere; or poetry where the space between the lines, the words not said, are the substance.  Here they are in a book, where he, with his daughter, points us toward our own vulnerability and potential. The story is about letting go and beyond the colophon page, the blue page, it’s about becoming.

Standing Still by Robert Adams, Fraenkel Gallery

Adams came out with a pair of books; Standing Still and Parallel World in late 2020. Though I have eyes for both, my favourite is the quieter, more described of the two, Standing Still. All 27 images were made in Adams’ small but lofty yard. There is air to breathe here and light, cold sometimes and warm others. These images are solid too, they know something, inherently, without doubt. The passing of time is accepted, seen, enjoyed. The grandiose is somewhere else.

Encampment Wyoming: Selections from the Lora Webb Nichols Archive, 1899—1948 edited by Nicole Jean Hill, Fw:Books

An amazing, contemporary edit from the photo archive (about 24,000 images) of Lora Webb Nichols.  A beautifully obsessed photographer, she captured moments and revealed individuals, giving us an uncommon insight into life in southern Wyoming from 1899-1948.

Sasuke by Masahisa Fukase, Atelier EXB

With somewhere near 165 pages of photographs, this is not a collection of cat photos… but a full study, engaging all the way through and guided by Fukase’s introductory words. As with his book Ravens, Fukase reveals not only his subjects, but also aspects of himself in his subjects. In Sasuke, it’s the playful side, a delightful journey into Fukase’s life with cats.

Era of Solitude by Helen Sear, Dewi Lewis Publishing

On the surface Era of Solitude is about a place, the objects it contains, the people that it collects and maps. But the parts together become a natural home for a visual and poetic human grace. It is uncomplicated, direct and it’s all of us with our desires in a beautifully printed book that you will wish was longer so you can stay awhile.

Terri Weifenbach was born in New York City and resides in Paris, France.  Bookmaking is central to Weifenbach’s artistic practice. She has authored more than nineteen titles.  Most recently published is Cloud Physics by Editions Xavier Barral, and The Ice Plant, 2021. She is a Guggenheim Fellow having received the distinction in 2015.

Icaro by Irene Zottola, Ediciones Anómalas

Era of Solitude by Helen Sear, Dewi Lewis Publishing

Era of Solitude by Helen Sear, Dewi Lewis Publishing