2022 has been a challenging year, for me at least, with some kind of Bringing it all back home mood, I must say. These books still bear the mark of the pandemia, and have a melancholic feeling about them I guess, with some exceptions. But shall I succeed in doing a shorter list?
It didn’t take me long to realise the escape, once again, wouldn’t work by Dieter de Lathauwer, Void
There’s beauty and mystery and silence in this book, a dark poetry about it. It’s an intimate day travel looking for healing within the landscape, and failing, and ultimately finding reconciliation. Let us wander and get beautifully lost in Dieter’s photographs.
El juego de la madelena by Julieta Averbuj, Fuego
Julieta’s first book is about reconstruction of memories, after she lost her father. She invites us, the viewers, to experience her path to remembrance, and to play the game of reconstructing these memories. These are changing through time and life just like us, while we play at turning the pages creating a new story. Julieta’s pictures or the ones from her family’s albums are beautifully ravaged by mold and time, still her father is alive through the pages.
Extraordinary Experiences by Morganna Magee, Tall Poppy
This looks like a simple book, bound with staples and a softcover, but the world it contains is a wonderful one. There is a magical spirit here, not always a benevolent one, that tights people, mostly children, and animals to the landscape. It is again about loss and decay, and healing. It is an Australian landscape, and I guess this is important, in its wilderness, silent energy and magnificence. In the darkroom, Morganna adds mysterious sparkles of light, maybe a ghostly presence, reminding us that death is not very far. Nevertheless we are caught in this enchanting book.
Mientras donde is a small book, so you can take it in your hand, put it in your pocket, take it with you anywhere, anytime. It is a sensation you feel , a warm one, not being alone when the wind is heavy or the light is low. Knowing that each book is unique, each one constructed and bound in its own way, hand written by the author is of course part of the magic. Our travel is our own, even if we all see the same photographs, the same lanes or the same crossroads, but Juanan turns on small lights for each one of us on the way in this beautiful book.
Belleville by Thomas Boivin, Stanley Barker
This is a wonderful work by Thomas Boivin with the great British editor. Belleville is a depiction of the Paris district, but not in a topographic sense. What we see here are beautiful portraits of the people who inhabit the space, in a very delicate, subtle and silent way. Thomas is a sensitive author, deep, discreet and underrated in my opinion, this gorgeous blue book should bring him the light he deserves, one at least as gentle as the one in his photographs.
SCUMB Manifesto by Justine Kurland, Mack
This is a powerful, humorous and amazing book in the way of a manifesto for women (in)visibility in photography and art in general, as well as an homage to Valerie Solinas. The fantastic cuttings and collage made by Kurland are just the evidence that so much has yet to be done, to fill the gap of women’s publications, and fight again patriarchy. Cutting up books by white men is a performance of deconstruction, a strategy of repossession, with so much imagination and freedom. Necessary and gorgeous.
Mother of Dogs by Matthew Genitempo, Trespasser
Such an elegant book by Genitempo, simply bound with Kraft tape with loose pages. This work is again shot in times of pandemia, around the place where Matthew and his partner used to walk in the evening, by the railroad tracks. There is a melancholy feeling about it from the light and the lonely space, where silence is only broken by the barking of the dogs and the train coming. Less is more in this beautiful work, in a very short edition.
Los esqueletos de mil mariposas duermen en mi recinto by Teresa Uzeda, Demente ediciones
A black and oppressive book , enlightened with flashes of silver ink. The mystery of the garden at night in its frightening splendour, inhabited by spiders and strange animals. We feel we do not belong here, but Teresa has made her way through it, maybe in a nightmare, like going through an Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, or like the title suggests, one from Garcia Lorca. A dark, personal, intimate and overwhelming book, sold out unfortunately.
L’amour seul brisera nos coeurs by Bérangère Fromont, À la maison printing
Another black and white unbound book, and a beautiful one. Lesbianism has long been represented in a a violent and pornographic way, mainly by men. With texts by Elodie Petit, Bérangère Fromont photographs are intimate and poetic, creating a very personal and sincere voice for what was hidden or often hated, certainly misunderstood. This is a very sensitive work, one with love and tenderness but also a powerful political one.
Death is not here by Wouter Van de Voorde, Void
Amazing book by the Belgian author living in Australia, whose work I’ve been following for several years. I soon became fascinated by the spirit in his photography, the strong and very personal link to the landscape, (again, the Australian one) along with the presence of his child, a natural bond between a fantastic space and the idea of home, of family, with some kind of surreal exorcism and mysterious magic behind it.I can’t really explain how powerful are his pictures, how attracted I am by his crude and at the same time tender and incredible poetry. There are in this book several compelling series of photographs and drawings by the author, one is a fantastic study of ravens like sentinels watching us, another one a serie of fossils stacks, small constructions that look like sacred altars, a mysterious gift to the earth, to life, to mark our delicate and fragile time in this world. This book is magic, do not miss it.
Gabriela Cendoya is a photobook collector. Her collection is deposited at San Telmo Museo in San Sebastián, Spain.
El juego de la madalena by Julieta Averbuj, Fuego
Belleville by Thomas Boivin, Stanley Barker