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Photography

It is hard to predict when you look at children what they might become one day and how their character and life is going to evolve. And while probably most of us agree that this is because we can not predict the future, it is even more fascinating that the same feeling of "the child as the blank book" hits you when you look at the childhood photographs of famous people in this beautiful, small book. To make the whole thing even more surprising and playful the name of each personality is written on the backside of their photograph. So you will find yourself saying over and over again into the little innocent faces "Really? Is that what you've become?"⁠ ⁠ And btw. Mother Teresa was blond!!!⁠ Buy...

Many people think of precision, dedication, and order when they think of Japan. And while this is not untrue there is far more magic to this place. Without going there yourself, it is virtually impossible to describe how Japan makes you feel - the tranquillity, the way the light changes when stepping from the street through curtains into the dimm lit wooden interior of an unagi restaurant, the way the trees in the woods swing and you do not know if it is because of the wind or the spirits, the little potted plant gardens along the houses of Tokyo and the old ladies that take care of them, the huge streets full of traffic that never seems loud, the myriads of alleyways the hold hidden soba restaurants...

"An Artist Who Cannot Speak English Is No Artist" was the title of one of Croatian conceptual artist Mladen Stilinović's exhibitions in 1992. But thanks to so deeply committed people such as Maya Hristova this barrier belongs for once to the past. On her journey through more than 18 countries in Eastern Europe she and her team met 42 contemporary photographers and translated their reflections upon their past, socialism and their work. EEP (Eastern European Photography) Vol. 1 shows underlying nuances and draws hidden connections among the photographers, a dialogue which deals with an often distorted and disconnected image of their socialist heritage. ⁠ ⁠ Buy...

The doomsday prophets had also their fair share to say about photography. When digital photography moved into everybody's home and pockets, they predicted the expiration of photography as an art form. We exchange quality for mediocre quantity, so they said. But Foam shows us again, that the contrary is the case. The latest Talent issue proves that the band width of tools, result in more creative ways to express ourselves. And so Foam opens with the beautiful words: "A wide spectrum of themes, techniques and approaches that once again lets us say - yes, photography is very well alive and in very good health. As it is alive it is changing, evolving, creating ramifications and cross-pollinating. Most importantly, as the access to opportunity increases, the panorama becomes more and more fertile - and it‘s beautifully blossoming."⁠ Buy...

In October 2014, Lele Saveri was invited to spend a month teaching in China. On his way to take up the post, he made a stop in Hong Kong, where just a few days earlier, one of the first in a series of civil movements had erupted - movements that rocked the status quo in Hong Kong and brought relations between Hong Kong and Beijing into international focus. Saveri spent the whole of his time in Hong Kong documenting this pivotal moment, now known as the Umbrella Revolution. He walked the streets day and night, talking to protestors and taking picture after picture. Collected here are his photographs: of protestors - in masks and helmets, superhero costumes or t-shirts emblazoned with ‚God Save The Queen‘ - of the weird misshapen barricades that began to take over the city’s infrastructure, of tourists and citizens just going about their daily business. Presented alongside a short essay by Hong Kong activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Joshua Wong, this slim volume of striking photographs provides an essential, sometimes disturbing, sometimes alienating document of the beginnings of one of the most important protest movements in modern history - a document made only more powerful in hindsight, as the Hong Kong protests have continued, in the face of ever more brutal retaliation, to demand essential reform of their democratic and human rights. ⁠ Buy...

Like any model dictator also notorious Kim Jong Il sought to orchestrate his own figure in the media. But since he did not really seem to like words or maybe the sound of his own voice, who knows, he was less than rarely seen giving speeches. Instead he staged himself as the observer of his county. If you now think that this means him looking at great scientific achievements or military gear, you are far from it. Not that he did not also do that but he seemed to "go and visit" everything that there is to see in his country.⁠ A feared dictator with a hardly changing facial expression, wearing blindingly dark sunglasses, and followed by an entourage of bodyguards and officers while he is looking at random things is unwillingly comical, in combination with caption such as "Kim Jong Il looking at a radish", "Kim Jong Il looking at a dvd labeling machine", "Kim Jong Il looking at women bras" it makes us laugh with tears. So for today we will probably do nothing else than looking at Kim Jong Il looking at things. Buy...

The latest book East German Modern of photographer Hans Engels takes us on a visual tour through the Neue Bundesländer. And yes, we admit most of it is grey, but that is only because concrete was one of the main building materials. It was thought to be economic and innovative. The architecture pictured tells the story of a time when a young nation dreamt of modern living for everyone. The buildings were created with an eye towards modernity, formalism, and efficiency. Prefabricated systems were invented, instead of ornament the buildings are rhythmic through metal cladding, tiles or windows. Flipping through this book you can not stop wondering why you have never heard these architects names, while all the modern western architects that had similar styles and approaches are so famous. And while we are very happy that Prenzlauer Berg did not get teared down to build then modern Plattenbau blocks as was the plan (while we are equally happy the city center of Paris was not teared down to the ground for Le Corbusier to built enormes high-rise buildings to house all the Parisians), we admit that the architecture shown in this book, does not just has historic but also cultural value.⁠ Buy ...

"These smiles do not exist." Our eyes wander over six photographs of six faces. Photographs seemingly made by amateurs, by friends or family, probably with their phones and judged by the quality most likely none of these pictures will ever be glued into a family photo album. We read again. "These smiles do not exist. These people don't exist, beyond these photos." Even though they could not appear to be more real, the photographs are all made by an algorithm. The stories for each person are also written by an algorithm. An other one. GPT-2 to be exact. "Nevertheless, we can say that these stories are real. Because stories only need to be told to exist. (...

Alec Soth is struggling these days to explain his work. As a photographer you are often required to have a strong narrative alongside your images. But Alec Soth did not want to portrait one social group or the people of one place. His approach is more poetical and less investigative. "Whether a picture is made in Odessa or Minneapolis, my goal was the same: to simply spend time in the presence of another beating heart.” he states. So the composition of the photographs might seem without connection at first, but that is only because their narrative is not so obvious and not driven by outside factors. The connection is fine and poetical. Alec Soth wanted to spend time with different people and for a moment feel their being and their lives. And through his photographs that appear to let you look deep into his subject's soul, you can spend some time with them, too. His sensitive pictures in 'I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating' let us feel what it means to be human.⁠ Probably it is that what makes him struggle to explain his work because it is not about what you see even though his medium is photography, but the inner dialogue you will have with his pictures.⁠ Buy...

This is the story about East Germany and West Africa and something that weaves them together.⁠ Photographer Chantal Seitz captures the unusual connection between a fabric production in the small town of Aue in the northern foothills of the Erzgebirge and traditional, festive African Boubous.⁠ The shimmering Damast from Europe is the preferred fabric for the robes worn by men for special occasions or the Friday prayer at the mosque. Boubous - a throw with wide, body-length sleeves, and loose trousers - are a status symbol. They are inherited from generation to generation. Families often get into debt to have this garment charged with symbolism made. The shinier the fabric, the finer its pattern, the more important the wearer. ⁠Seitz photographically contrasts the two worlds that could not be otherwise. On the one hand the German production halls, where remnants of the valuable fabric are used to cover lunch or computer screens, on the other hand venerably dressed believers from Senegal. In between the pages real pieces of Damast connect the two realities.⁠ Buy...