The power of photography to depict the past, distant or immediate, has made it an essential tool in understanding our histories and our worlds. The result can be serious, reflective, playful, enchanting or striking, informative, entertaining or moving as this month’s selection will prove. And naturally, we include one title on the technique, as every tool requires expertise.
Korea : ein fotoprojekt = Korea : a photo project
“In 2006, the German architecture photographer Dieter Leistner had both the opportunity and official permission to photograph public spaces in Pyongyang. His images show bus stops with long lines of people waiting, spruced up government buildings, bronze statues of Communist heroes, and wide avenues with only a few cars and people. In 2012, Leistner visited Seoul, where he sought and found similar locations with a very different feel. In Seoul, for example, the bus stops looked like oversized televisions, the bronze statues were of kings of the long-gone Korean empire, and the streets were choked with cars and people. This “visual concordance” speaks for itself and needs no commentary. In addition to its striking selection of images, Korea-Korea contains excerpts from two diaries. The first is by Philipp Sturm, who grew up in East Germany, the second is by Hehn-Chu Ahn, who was born in Germany to Korean parents and has regularly visited Seoul since her childhood.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The memory of time : contemporary photographs from the National Gallery of Art
“Photography’s remarkable ability to represent the past in the present is frequently invoked as one of the medium’s essential characteristics. Yet, as many contemporary photographers acknowledge, its relationship to the past is by no means straightforward. Organized thematically, the exhibition The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art explores the work of contemporary artists who investigate the richness and complexity of photography’s relationship to time, memory, and history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Photograph / Ringo.
“From behind the drums to behind the lens, in Photograph Ringo Starr opens his archives to share memories of his childhood, The Beatles and beyond. Rare and unseen photographs taken by Ringo, with others reproduced from his family albums, are showcased here for fans of The Beatles and anyone passionate about modern music. Accompanied by Ringo’s original manuscript of over 15,000 words, Photograph gives unprecedented insight into the life of one of the world’s greatest musicians. From Pwllheli to Delhi, obscurity to superstardom, join Ringo on his travels in his photographic memoir.” (Syndetics)
Dog years : faithful friends, then & now
“Dog Years is a heartwarming look at the lives and stories of 30 dogs. By presenting portraits of each dog as a puppy and again as an older dog, photographer Amanda Jones reveals the unique spark of personality that lasts a lifetime. These beautiful images of breeds ranging from golden retrievers and Great Danes to pugs and French bulldogs are accompanied by reflections from loved ones on the lives they share with their furry companions. The result is a celebration of each dog and a tribute to the relationships we share with our four-legged friends.” (Syndetics)
“In 1977, at the height of the disco craze, a club opened at 254 West 54th Street in New York City. Studio 54 was – and, arguably, remains – the worlds most renowned and legendary disco. Regularly attended by celebrities such as Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones, Michael Jackson, Calvin Klein, Elton John, John Travolta, Brooke Shields and Tina Turner, the club fostered an atmosphere of unadulterated hedonism for New York’s art and fashion set. Almost 35 years after the club’s unceremonious and sudden closure, this beautiful hardback volume superbly documents the zeitgeist.” (Syndetics)
Backstage : Cirque du Soleil
“As Cirque du Soleil celebrates its thirtieth anniversary, it opens the doors to a world usually reserved for the initiated. Backstage Cirque du Soleil is the fruit of a collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and the photographer Véronique Vial, who through her unique lens has examined the world behind the curtains for more than twenty years. With touching humanity, Vial’s photographs invite the reader into an intimate universe distilled to its most essential element: behind each character there is an artist. This luxurious volume features a preface by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte.” (Syndetics)
David Leventi : opera
“In his series Opera, photographer David Leventi whose work has been widely published in “Time,” “The New York Times Magazine,” “Condé Nast Traveller” and “American Photography” captures the interiors of more than 40 opera houses spanning four centuries and four continents. Shot meticulously over five years, Opera presents a typology; each empty hall is seen from the place at center stage where the singers would stand. The large-format camera reveals these temples of music in their wealth of architectural detail and acoustic design; the body of work historically documents landmarks that serve as symbols of their nations’ wealth and grandeur, their dedication to the promotion of the arts and to bringing communities together.” (Syndetics)
The big picture.
“This is Arthur Elgort’s first comprehensive book, showing his world-renowned fashion imagery alongside his personal work. The Big Picture spans Elgort’s five-decade career and illustrates his longevity as an emulated fashion photographer. His lively and casual shooting style is intriguingly influenced by a lifelong love of music and dance, particularly jazz and ballet. Elgort subsequently rose to fame working for distinguished magazines such as American, French and Italian Vogue, Interview, GQ, Life and Rolling Stone, and shooting advertising campaigns for fashion labels including Chanel, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Brassaï : Paris nocturne
“Brassai (1899-1984) was the first and is still the most famous photographer to chronicle Paris after dark. Born in Hungary, he came to the French capital in 1924, working first as a journalist and then embracing photography, but it was the Paris of the 1930s that forms the bedrock of his body of work. Walking the city’s streets at night, Brassai captured a previously unseen world on camera. This book brings together some of the best-known images from Brassai’s classic Paris After Dark and The Secret Paris of the 30’s, showcasing them alongside previously unpublished photos and archive material.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Creatures of the night
“The secret world of nocturnal wildlife is seldom observed, even by the keenest of nature enthusiasts. This unique book offers a window into the lives of little-known and studied creatures and their remarkable behaviour and adaptations in order to optimise their ability to go about their business in the hours of darkness. Nocturnal creatures from around the world are covered by the series of stunning images. Extended captions explain interesting facts about the creatures and behaviours shown, and also give advice on photography.” (Syndetics)
Digital photography complete course
“Digital Photography Complete Course will help you build your photography skills step-by-step, with an independent photography course that guides you through every aspect of digital photography. The book uses a combination of tutorials, step-by-step demonstrations, practical assignments, and Q&As to help you understand and use your camera to its full potential. Choose your own pace to work through the modules — the program is totally customizable to your schedule.” (Adapted from Syndetics)