Industrial typologies and super size books for the New Year – New Photography books

We start this year, commemorating the life and work of Hilla Becher who died at the end of last year. From 1966, together with husband Bernd, the German couple created a unique record of industrial structures. Through the distinctive typological grids they developed and what has come to be known as the ‘Becher school’ they influenced generations of documentary photographers and artists. Read her obituary on the Aperture blog and read the latest issue of Aperture magazine on Zinio (and back issues).

We also look at some extra large books that sometimes get overlooked in the library, as they are almost impossible to lug around. In the Central Library, they are kept along the far southern wall on the first floor (you will spot them from the yellow dot on the top of the spine). A couple of tables are standing by the shelves to help you browse through this cumbersome but worthwhile collection. Check it out next time you visit.


Syndetics book coverThe Hollow of the hand
“Between 2011 and 2014 PJ Harvey and Seamus Murphy set out on a series of journeys together to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington DC. Harvey collected words, Murphy collected pictures, and together they have created an extraordinary chronicle of our life and times. The Hollow of the Hand marks the first publication of Harvey’s powerful poetry, in conversation with Murphy’s indelible images.  As PJ Harvey says: ‘Gathering information from secondary sources felt too far removed for what I was trying to write about. I wanted to smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSelf & others : portrait as autobiography
“Created over an almost 20-year span and drawing from 18 bodies of work, this is the first published monograph of Aline Smithson’s work and features her defining series Arrangement in Green and Black: Portrait of the Photographer’s Mother. From black-and-white to hand-painted photographs, this collection of portraits combines humor and family to create a universal expression of motherhood, to capture the essence of childhood, and to examine created realities, the poignancy of childhood, and the pathos of aging and relationships.” (From

Syndetics book coverCloser : Søren Solkær Starbird
” Closer is a collection of the works of Søren Solkær, a Danish photographer who has risen to astronomical heights in the world of international photography. His portraits, ranging from deep and intimate studies to large format cinematic scences shot in mind-blowing locations, have been published on the covers of the worlds leading magazines Q, GQ, Arena, Rolling Stone and Wallpaper.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverArt Kane
“Art Kane was one of the most profoundly influential photographers of the 20th century. A bold visionary, his work explored a number of genres – fashion, editorial, celebrity portraiture, travel and nudes with an unrelenting and innovative eye. Like his contemporaries, Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) and Helmut Newton (1924-2004), Kane developed a style that didn’t shy away from strong colour, eroticism and surreal humour.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAndy Warhol : polaroids 1958-1987“Andy Warhol was a relentless chronicler of life and its encounters. Carrying a Polaroid camera from the late 1950s until his death in 1987, he amassed a huge collection of instant pictures of friends, lovers, patrons, the famous, the obscure, the scenic, the fashionable, and himself. Created in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation, this book features hundreds of these instant photos, many of them never seen before. Often raw and impromptu, the Polaroids document Warhol’s era like Instagram captures our own, offering a unique record of the life, world, and vision behind the Pop Art maestro. (From

Syndetics book coverGrace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue
“The 408-page collection of Grace Coddington’s greatest work as a fashion stylist and sittings editor is not just a monograph of her first 30 years at Vogue, it is also a visual reminiscence of 30 years of British and American Vogue’s best work. Featured photographers include Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Snowdon, Horst, Norman Parkinson, Ellen von Unwerth, Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Arthur Elgort, Steven Klein, Annie Leibovitz, Hans Feurer, Sarah Moon, Peter Lindbergh, Patrick Demarchelier, Peter Knap, Clive Arrowsmith, Sheila Metzner, Terence Donovan, Barry Lategan, Sacha, Alex Chatelain, Duc, Paolo Roversi, and Herb Ritts.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe New York Times Magazine photographs
“For over thirty years, the New York Times Magazine has presented the myriad possibilities and applications of photography. This volume presents some of the finest commissioned photographs worldwide in four sections: reportage, portraiture, style, and conceptual photography, including photo illustration. Diverse in content and sensibility, and consistent in virtuosity, the photographs are accompanied by reproduced tear sheets to allow for the examination of sequencing and the interplay between text and image, simultaneously presenting the work while illuminating its distillation to magazine form.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSawdust mountain
“A culmination of four years of photographing throughout Oregon, Washington, and Northern California, Sawdust Mountain focuses on the tenuous relationship between industries reliant upon natural resources and the communities they support. Timber and salmon are the bedrock of a regional Northwest identity, but the environmental impact of these declining industries has been increasingly at odds with the contemporary ideal of sustainability. Sawdust Mountain records a region affected by historic economic complexities and, by extension, one aspect of our fraught relationship with the environment in the twenty-first century.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverNomad
“Since 1999, photographer Jeroen Toirkens has been documenting the raw reality of the last living nomads of the Northern Hemisphere. Globalisation, draught, poverty and climate change make it increasingly difficult to maintain a traditional way of life. Toirkens’ strong photographs and a heartfelt essay by Jelle Brandt Corstius give a gripping image of twelve journeys to some of the remotest places on earth.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverThe art of discovery : Hollywood stars reveal their inspirations
“This exquisite book, features renowned photographer Jeff Vespa’s intimate portraits and key inspirational moments and stories from Hollywood luminaries including Zach Braff, Jessica Chastain, Tim Daly, Adam Driver, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ashley Greene, Jonathan Groff, Michael C. Hall, Ethan Hawke, Amber Heard, Cheryl Hines, Kate Hudson, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Kidman, Jared Leto, John Leguizamo, Jeremy Renner, Seth Rogen, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Gabourey Sidibe, Kristen Stewart, Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts, Forest Whitaker, Shailene Woodley, and other icons of the entertainment industry.” (Syndetics)

For a preview of the images, visit Jeff Vespa’s portfolio.