Beyond Words Newsletter - November 2017
Bryan Schutmaat’s Grays the Mountain Sends was a great success in 2013, quickly selling out its two printings. He has just self-published his first book of original photos since then. Good Goddamn is about a friend of his from rural Texas enjoying his last few days of freedom before going to prison. The images are black-and-white. The book is limited to 750 copies and come with a fold-out poster. We will shortly have signed copies. Sample images.
Truth and fiction are slippery concepts in the work of Cristina de Middel. Her latest work, The Perfect Man, appears to start from the true – if unlikely – story of Doctor Ashok Aswani, an Indian man who, over 40 years ago, saw his first Charlie Chaplin film and liked it so much he saw it four times that day. Aswani lost his job as a consequence, but founded a Charlie Circle and a festival that would become the world’s biggest celebration of Chaplin in the world. De Middel uses this story to explore Western and Indian ideas of masculinity. Sample images.
Kindertotenlieder is a limited edition of 150 copies by Australian photographer Bill Henson. It is a meditation on bereavement, linking Henson’s work with the poetry of Friedrich Ruckert and the songs of Gustav Mahler, both of whom experienced the deaths of children. Henson creates dreamscapes in locations associated with Mahler, combining these works with the spectre of a young girl. The book of photographs is housed in a hand-bound slipcase, with a book of Rückert’s poems printed with a letter press and a 12” record of the Mahler song cycle. Sample images.
The title of Donald Weber’s new self-published War Sand refers to beaches contaminated by the remnants of projectiles used in war. Combining Weber’s images with texts, and scientific data, it explores the sand beaches where the D-Day invasion was once fought. Using the new techniques of micro-archaeology, they suggest that up to 5% of the sand of these beaches comprises fragments of human bone, brass, steel, titanium and iron left over from the war. Following this analysis, over the next three years Weber photographed the beaches as they are today, taking in undulating seascapes and moody landscapes; corroded pillboxes and monuments, seaside towns and beaches; and ever shifting images of the weather and clouds.
Renger-Patzsch was the most significant photographer in the New Objectivity movement that appeared in Germany in the 1920s. His photographs of buildings, machinery, tools, animals and plants were a major influence on later photographers such as Bernd & Hilla Becher and Gerry Johansson. It’s been a long while since there was a good overview of his career in print so it’s good to see Albert Renger-Patzsch from Editions Xavier Barral in collaboration with Fundacion MAPFRE.
The latest in the Yale University series The Human Clay, collecting the work of Lee Friedlander, is Parties. Over his long career, Friedlander has photographed a huge range of celebrations from street parades to celebrity events with guests such as Ingrid Bergman and Sidney Poitier.
Manhattan Transit collects the subway photographs of Helen Levitt from the 1930s when she was apprenticed to Walker Evans and again from the 1970s when she returned to the subject with the benefit of forty years’ experience as a street photographer. It’s a wonderful collection of informal portraits and a treasure trove for social historians. Many of the images are published for the first time.
The career of Walker Evans himself is celebrated in a substantial new survey published by Prestel, coinciding with a major exhibition at MOMA in San Fransicso. Walker Evans features items from the photographer’s own collection, including personal writings, signage and postcards. Sample images.
Vivian Maier was another street photographer but one who chose never to publish or exhibit in her own lifetime. The discovery of her work shortly after her death led to the construction of a mythology around her, often encouraged by the men who had bought her work for next to nothing and were keen to see her fame grow. In Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife, Pamela Bannos has created an investigative biography of Maier, analysing her family background, the evolution of her technique and misrepresentations of her personality and intentions after her death. Sample images and a review article.
The ubiquity of landscape photography makes originality hard to find (not that it should be an end in itself). I think the work of Nicholas Hughes, to be published by Gost Books, would enliven the most jaded palette. The six series of images in Nowhere Far could be conveniently labelled abstract; their points of reference would seem to me to closer to painters such as Nolde and Munch than to other photographers. They evoke a sense of mystery, and they’re not afraid to be beautiful! Sample images.
The German photographer Olaf Otto Becker is one of the great photographers of Arctic landscapes. His latest book Ililussat focuses on icebergs off the coast of western Greenland. Their sculptural qualities and range of colour are uncannily beautiful but they are, as Becker writes, also "reminders of the continuing process of climate change, which we humans are now influencing to a great extent for the first time in the history of our planet.” Sample images.
The history of landscape photography in 19th century America tends to be focussed on the West. East of the Mississippi is a fascinating collection that attempts to redress this imbalance by bringing attention to photographs of the eastern half of the US. They include images of natural wonders such as Niagara Falls and the White Mountains, landscapes altered by industrialization and by civil war. Other images promoted tourism and played a role in an emerging environmentalism. Sample images. You can also hear a lecture on the subject by the lead writer Diane Waggoner.
The Recent Past is the first substantial collection of James Ravilious's photographs for quite a few years. Ravilious documented the rural life of north Devon in the 1970s and 1980s in meticulous detail, creating a unique archive of an area that clung to its traditional life for longer than many other parts of England. Sample images.
Published simultaneously is a biography, James Ravilious: a Life, by his widow Robin, evaluating his work as documentary and as fine art. Review article.
The book of the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2017 is now available. Sample images.
We have signed copies of Martin Parr's Remote Scottish Postboxes in stock. Also the card box is selling well though we only have unsigned copies left. Newly available are Lorenzo Vitturi's Money Must Be Made; Lee Friedlander's The American Monument; Jamie Hawkesworth: Preston Bus Station; Jan Tove's The Faraway Nearby and Toshio Shibata's Japanscapes; and signed copies of Dougie Wallace's Well Heeled.
There really are too many new titles at the moment to feature in the newsletter. See Recent Additions for a longer list.
Signed copies of the following Mack titles are currently available:
Kristina Jurotschkin: Nothing But Clouds
Alec Soth: Sleeping by the Mississippi
Fumi Ishino: Rowing a Tetrapod
Bertien van Manen: I will be Wolf
Morgan Ashcom: What the Living Carry
Txema Salvans:My Kingdom
Ron Jude:Lago and Nausea
Emmanuelle Andrianjafy: Nothing’s in Vain
Sam Contis: Deep Springs
Marten Lange: The Mechanism
Pre-Christmas Overseas Deliveries
For overseas customers, the last dates for air mail despatch would be 13 December for Europe and North America, 6 December for the rest of the world.