ON THE SHELF

We bring you the pick of the new photography books — including one by a B&W photographer who has been nominated for the New Discovery Award at Arles, in France, this year.

POST SCRIPTUM

Christer Stromholm a Max Strom

Hardback, £45

978-9171-2624-93

A box of keys, two goldfish in a bag — Stromholm’s images record the everyday, the minutiae of life that, though often forgotten, form the vast majority of our experiences.

Even a cursory flick through this substantial collection of predominantly B&W images reveals why he is regarded as one of Sweden’s most important and influential photographers. Foregoing models for the lonely and often vulnerable, there is a palpable feeling of respect and tenderness for his subjects in the images and despite the occasionally difficult subject matter there is no sense of voyeurism or manipulation. Perhaps this is because Stromholm often felt himself to be a loner, closer to the oddities and individuals that he photographed than the world of galleries and art dealers.

This book gives us a rare opportunity to see things afresh, to appreciate beauty wherever it can be found.

SKIRTS

Clare Strand

GOST Books

Hardback

(edition of 500 copies),

£25 978-0-9574272-3-5

Skirts features ten black & white photographs of tables wearing pleated cloths as if they were skirts. This book treads the boundary between the mundane and the absurd, but it does it so well that it is both unsettling and witty. The reader is offered no context, but the tables seem to be set up for an amateur magician or seance at a church hall, where the performance has either yet to begin or finished some time ago. Turning the pages I expected to see a white rabbit under the cloths, a pair of eyes through a chink in the curtain or an apparition of an expired relative floating over a table. But there is nothing, only the suggestion of something.

Designer and architect Philippe Starck has written an introduction for Skirts in which he says: ‘One of art’s distinctions is to provide maximum emotion using minimum means,’ and in this Clare Strand has succeeded.

Strand’s work is inspired by forensic imagery, instruction manuals, the mechanics of spirit photography and photography used as evidence. Her past projects have explored Victorian portraiture, crime scene and forensic photography, all influenced by her personal collections of catalogues, scrapbooks and literary texts.

Brett Rogers, director of the Photographer’s Gallery, nominated Strand for the New Discovery Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2013. It is good to see a contemporary photographer working in B&W recognised at this prestigious international festival.

HONKY TONK: PORTRAITS OF COUNTRY MUSIC

Henry Horenstein a Norton

Hardback, £29.99

978-0393-0736-69

More than 100 black & white images of country musicians burst from the pages of Honky Tonk, a wonderful record of electric characters from the 1970s.

A lifelong fan of the genre, Horenstein’s passion is evident in his photography, which feels more akin to a visual love letter than any sort of documentary project.

In his touching foreword he wonders whether anyone will remember the artists who forged a path for the now immensely popular art form and states he made these images in the hope that they will. Even if they don’t, Horenstein’s photographs will always honour and testify to the creation of a peculiarly American phenomenon.

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