Photobooks of 2016: Erik Kessels
Marianne Vitale – Train Wreck
This artist/photo book shows found black and white images of train wrecks. Apart from the nice edit of these images, the book is mainly special because of its execution. It’s produced in the same way like the first books babies will read, soft plastic pages with foam inside. Something that works surprisingly good in contradiction with the subject of the book. The disastrous and dangerous looking images produced on cuddling soft pages. It shows that the way to make artist books can still be stretched.
Jan McCullough – Home Instruction Manual
The book ‘Home Instruction Manual’ by Jan McCullough is a real discovery in 2016. Jan is a photographer from Belfast with a weak spot for manuals, books that tell you how to do things. For this project she searched the internet for tips on how to build your perfect home, after collecting all the tips, Jan rented a house and followed all the instruction given to her. She photographed the end result; a home with a forced personality. Something you can’t say about Jan McCullough, a natural talent to watch out for.
Chantal Rens – You Run Around Town Like A Fool And You Think It’s Groovy
Maybe the most unnecessary book of 2016, but definitely the most funny one I came across. Chantal Rens is a Dutch artist that uses photography often as a starting point for her collages. In ‘You run around town like a fool and you think it’s groovy’, she combines images of animals balancing a glass with spirits on them. You could ask yourself: Why, but this is exactly why the book is deadly funny. Numerous combinations of images, definitely never seen before. I would highly recommend this book that also probably the longest title of a photo book produced in 2016.
Piero Martinello – Radicalia
Martinello made a stunning document of 5 groups of people living in the fringe of society called ‘Radicalia’. The photographs for this project are divided in 5 chapters and show fools, ravers, criminals, devouts and cloistered nuns. Each chapter is photographed in different way, fitting to the subject. The book and accompanying exhibition are done in a very precise way that only can be done when someone has a total fascination and passion for these subcultures. Bravo Piero.
David Fathi – Wolfgang
Wolfgang is a book by French artist David Fathi. The images in the book are a selection from images coming from an archive that documented the images to tell tale of the Pauli Effect; the myth that Wolfgang Pauli, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, would just by his presence cause unexplainable failures of equipment and experiments. Some images are manipulated by the artist, while others are left untouched. The book shows that it’s still possible to make a beautiful book project by re-appropriating images from archives. The book is made with an eye for detail both in edit and graphically.
Yoshinori Mizutani – Hanon
This is the second book on birds by Japanese photographer Mizutani. This black and white highly contrasted oversized photo book shows silhouettes of birds sitting on electric wires. The book is printed in solid black and shows no halftones. The abstraction Mizutani creates by this stays fascinating throughout the whole book and makes it the best publication he has done so far.
Hans Eijkelboom – Photo Concepts 1970-
As a longtime admirer of the work of the Dutch artist/photographer Hans Eijkelboom I’m very delighted that there’s now a total overview of his work available in a hefty volume. The book holds all his works and concepts until this moment. This publication is a must for everybody that loves ideas and stories in photographs. The humor, self-irony and dedication to his own work make Hans Eijkelboom one of the best artists of our time.
Erik Kessels (1966) is a founding partner and Creative Director of KesselsKramer, an independent international communications agency located in Amsterdam, London and LA. Kessels works for national and international clients and has won numerous awards. He published several books of vernacular photography through KesselsKramer Publishing –including the in almost every picture series. Since 2000, he has been one of the editors of the alternative photography magazine Useful Photography.
Images – top: Yoshinori Mizutani – Hanon, bottom: David Fathi – Wolfgang