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Photography

Neon Lights and Urban Loneliness Shroud Cities After Dark in Liam Wong's Panoramic Photo Book

October 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Volume Co., shared with permission

The foundational idea behind Liam Wong’s new book is that “real life is just as potent, bizarre, and interesting as things we can imagine.” Released by the crowd-sourced publisher Volume, After Dark is a follow-up to the Edinburgh-born photographer’s first monograph, TO: KY: OO, which captured the empty Japanese streets under the glow of neon lights. Now Wong similarly documents city life with his signature cinematic style, although he ventures beyond Tokyo to unveil the nightlife of Osaka, Kyoto, London, Seoul, Paris, and Rome in wide, gleaming panoramas.

The 176-page book pinpoints instances of urban solitude and reveals a universal sense of loneliness that falls on a city when most of its residents are asleep. Wong (previously) tends to frame temporarily abandoned pockets of a business district or bustling neighborhood that will likely be chaotic with passersby in a few hours, giving his shots a futuristic bent that’s more evocative of a cybernetic video game than typical street photography. After Dark captures “the eerie emptiness of London’s Piccadilly Circus at 4:00 a.m., Seoul’s late-night taxi drivers moving along hushed roads, two birds sharing the warmth of neon sign in Hong Kong’s TSM District, and a salaryman waiting on an empty subway platform in Tokyo’s Akihabara district,” a statement says.

Signed and collector’s editions of After Dark, including one packaged with print, are available to fund now on Volume’s site. You also can purchase prints in Wong’s shop, and find more of his photos on Instagram. (via It’s Nice That)

 

 

 



Photography

In 'Two Worlds,' Split-View Photos Frame the Dual Environments Above and Below the Water's Surface

September 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

Father and Son, Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, 2013. All images © David Doubilet, courtesy of Phaidon, shared with permission

From the coral-cloaked Kimbe Bay of Papua New Guinea to the icebergs of Antarctica’s Danco Island, the bisected photographs in David Doubilet’s forthcoming book Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea unveil the diverse ecosystems on either side of the water’s surface. The 128-page volume published by Phaidon features 70 images from Doubilet’s 50-year career spent traveling the globe and pioneering the field of underwater photography.

The curated selection is wide-ranging in date and location, documenting a fuzzy seal pup lounging on a 2011 glacier in Canada, a school of bar jacks swimming in the Grand Caymans back in the 90s, and blacktip reef sharks under a French Polynesian sunset in 2018.  “I want to create a window into the sea that invites people to see how their world connects to another life-sustaining world hidden from their view,” Doubilet says.

Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea will be released in early November and is available for pre-order from Bookshop and Phaidon.

 

Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, Danco Island, Antarctica, 2011

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, Bonne Bay Fjord, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada, 2012

Bar Jacks, Grand Cayman Island, 1990

Harp Seal Pup, Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada, 2011

Blacktip Reef Sharks, South Pass, Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia, 2018

Grounded Iceberg, Blanley Bay, Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada, 2018

 

 



Design

Building Bound to the Ground: A 1,400-Page Book Surveys Centuries of Global Architecture Embedded in the Earth

September 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh, RBANA, 2011, © Iwan Baan. All images courtesy of Taschen, shared with permission

Despite being physically secured to the ground, much of the architecture common throughout the Western world is defined, in part, by its distance from the earth. Skyscrapers that disrupt distant horizons compete for the title of tallest in existence, and even more sustainable designs, like the new timber structure in Skellefteå, Sweden, are lauded for towering over the landscape.

A forthcoming book from Taschen explores an inverse approach to architecture, though, one that literally unites buildings and other human-centric designs with the earth. Spanning a whopping 1,390 pages, Dig it! Building Bound to the Ground ventures around the globe and across generations to find the innovative, sustainable, and technically stunning methods that embed constructions into the existing landscape.

Written by Dutch architect Bjarne Mastenbroek with photos by Iwan Baan, the tome visits the remote Sar Agha Seyed village built into an Iranian hillside, the vegetation-laden rooftops of a Bangladeshi training center, and the ancient Ethiopian churches chiseled into rock. Each of the designs shares a holistic relationship with its surroundings and a focus on becoming part of the environment without unnecessary disturbances or degradation. “Mankind destroys the skin of the earth at an unprecedented scale. The time has come for a fundamental reset,” Mastenbroek says.

Dig it! Building Bound to the Ground is available for pre-order from Taschen and Bookshop. You also might enjoy Julia Watson’s Lo—TEK, which explores Indigenous approaches to technology and design.

 

Sar Agha Seyed, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, Iran, date unknown, © Mirjam Terpstra

Villa Vals, Vals, Switzerland, SeARCH & CMA, 2005–2009, © Kate Gowan

Biete Ghiorgis, Lalibela, Ethiopia, 1100–1200, © Iwan Baan

Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South, Africa, Heatherwick Studio, 2014–2017, © Iwan Baan

 

 



Photography

Candid Black-and-White Portraits Capture the Tender Bond Between Photographer Masahisa Fukase and His Cat

August 27, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Archives Masahisa Fukase, courtesy of Atelier EXB, shared with permission

In what can simply be described as a love letter to his favorite companion, a series of black-and-white portraits are some of the more affectionate images in Masahisa Fukase’s vast body of work. The late Japanese photographer, who died in 2012 after living his last two decades in a coma following a tragic fall in 1992, is known for his portraiture and candid shots, including his groundbreaking collection spotlighting the wild lives of ravens. Largely focused on capturing the world around him, Fukase’s oeuvre also includes an array of photos of his beloved cat Sasuke.

Now compiled in a book published by Atelier EXB, 123 of the photographer’s portraits are a tender portrayal of the pair’s companionship. Although Fukase raised many cats throughout his lifetime, none played as important a role as Sasuke, the titular pet of the volume.

 

Fukase began photographing Susake in 1977, only after a heartbreaking rift. Just ten days after the photographer brought the cat home, he ran away. After pasting hundreds of missing posters around his neighborhood—these are recreated on the book’s cover—a woman called saying she had found a kitten matching the description in Harajuku and would bring it back. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the original Sasuke. “When I first set eyes on this cat that was not mine, I was disappointed,” Fukase said, “but as I’m a real cat lover and can’t resist them, I soon thought: ‘Come on, let’s pretend that it’s him,’ and that’s how I came to adopt Sasuke Two.”

Masahisa Fukase: Sasuke therefore features images of the second Sasuke, along with portraits of the cat he adopted later named Momoe. Because the pair traveled frequently with Fukase, they’re seen in both quiet moments at the photographer’s home and in public areas. Images include an array of feline antics, including shots of them scattering birds in a park, yawning, and even scaling a window.

Printed in English and French, Masahisa Fukase: Sasuke is available now from Atelier EXB, which also released two limited editions featuring collotype prints, and for pre-order from Bookshop. You also might enjoy Walter Chandoha’s massive volume dedicated to feline companionship.

 

 

 



Food Photography

Odd Apples: A New Photo Book Celebrates the Strange and Enchanting Fruit

August 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

Pink Pearl, native to California, mid-1900s. All images © William Mullan, shared with permission

Lumpy, spotted, and exposed in succulent slices, the apples highlighted in a new book by William Mullan aren’t those you’d typically find in a grocery store. Instead, the Brooklyn-based photographer focuses on rare specimens like Pink Pearls, the aptly named Knobbed Russets, and speckled Black Oxfords that he sources from farmer’s markets or rural roadsides. These sometimes hard-to-find varieties are the subject matter of his portraits that spotlight the stunning, strange diversity of the species.

The humble fruit has a long history of religious and cultural significance and of course, is also a commodity, a characterization Mullan hopes to complicate by celebrating their unique beauty. “Due to their heterozygous nature, every apple tree that grows successfully from seed will be a brand new apple tree, with traits coming from the seed parent and the pollinator parent” (aka pollen from a nearby blossom). Combined with the fact that the species has 42,000 to 44,000 genes, which is nearly twice as many as people, thousands of different varieties have been produced, creating “a splendid array of aesthetic and flavor characteristics: from apples with red and pink flesh, to apples shaped like stars, candles, and toads, to apples that taste like licorice and strawberry shortcake,” Mullan shares.

 

Knobbed Russet, native to Sussex, England, 1820

Published by Hatje Cantz with design by Andrea Trabucco-Campos, the updated edition of Odd Apples contains 90 images and was designed to feel like “a walk through a magical orchard,” one that captures the breadth of the species. A few of Mullan’s favorites include the dry, sour-cherry flavor of the endangered Niedzwetzkyana or the otherworldly, neon flesh of the oblong Kandil Sinap. While some of his subjects were cultivated relatively recently, others, like the lemony, vitamin C-packed Calville Blanc D’Hiver, date back to the 1600s. “Some of the best apples are really like, right off the roads and highways, along farm fence lines and inside city parks,” he adds.

The Odd Apples project originally began in 2017, with a smaller 32-page book published in 2018, and Mullan continues to shoot all of the images in his apartment or the studio at Raaka Chocolate, where he works as the brand director. Focusing largely on the color and texture, the enchanting portraits are imbued with meaning beyond the fruit’s physical qualities, and each is paired with a written profile. “Their character would spark something in my head, usually a mood or something from pop culture,” he tells Colossal. “Every portrait is an attempt to really capture the mood, expression, and character of that apple but also my interpretation of that and therefore all the experiences I’ve had in my life, too.”

A special, limited edition of Odd Apples, which includes a Hidden Rose print, is for sale on the book’s site, and it’s also available for pre-order on Bookshop. You can follow Mullan’s fruit and flower-based photos on Instagram. (via Creative Boom)

 

Top left: Black Oxford, native to Paris, Maine, 1790. Top right: Malus Sieversii. Bottom left: Kandil Sinap, native to Anatolia or Crimea, date unknown.Bottom right: Api Etoile

Niedzwetzkyana, native to Kyrgyzstan, date unknown

Hidden Rose

Left: Grenadine, native to California, mid-1900s. Right: Calville Blanc D’Hiver, native to Normandy, France, 1600s

Scarlet Surprise

 

 



Food Photography Science

Striking Macro Photos by Levon Biss Crack Open Dried Seeds to Reveal Their Gnarly Insides

August 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

Coco de Mer. All images © Levon Biss, shared with permission

Within the vast collections of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a trove of dried specimens that once were juicy seeds and fruits primed for reproduction. Now gnarled, fractured, and blanketed in tiny, dehydrated bristles, the individual pods have been preserved as part of the carpological archive at the Scottish institution, a resource photographer Levon Biss (previously) spent hours sifting through in preparation for a stunning new series of macro images.

Spanning from the rampant clusters of the Ko Phuang to endangered rarities like the Coco de Mer,  the photographs reveal the inner details otherwise enclosed within the specimens’ shells. Texture and subtle color differences are the basis for most of the shots, which frame a cracked or sliced pod in a manner that centers on their unique components.

 

Kurrajong

The botanic garden’s collection is global in scope and boasts about 100 individual pieces per species, meaning Biss sorted through hundreds of thousands to choose the final 117 that have culminated in his new book The Hidden Beauty of Seeds & Fruits. Initially culled based on aesthetics, the resulting selection encompasses all processes of seed dispersal, along with information about morphology, location, and history. “I tried to make sure all methods were included in the overall edit so that the work becomes an educational tool, not just pretty pictures,” Biss tells Colossal, further explaining the research process:

Each specimen is contained within a small box, and sometimes, you would find a handwritten note on a scrap of paper where the botanist provided a visual description of the surroundings where the specimen was found. Some of these specimens are over 100 years old, and reading these very personal notes made me wonder what the botanist had to go through to find that specimen. What were their traveling conditions like? What did they have to endure to bring the specimen back to Edinburgh? Reading these notes gave me a connection with the botanist and was certainly one of my personal highlights of the project.

On view in the same space as the original specimens, Biss’s photos are up at the Royal Botanic Gardens through October 31. The Hidden Beauty of Seeds & Fruits, which is published by Abrams, is available now on Bookshop, and you can find prints from the series on the photographer’s site. Keep up with his biological snapshots, which include a striking collection of iridescent beetles, on Instagram.

 

Ko Phuang

Left: Firewood Banksia. Right: Dutchman’s Pipe

Bofiyu

Field Manioc

Left: Rosary Pea. Right: Sandplain Woody Pear

Candlestick Banksia