Photobooks of 2016: Martin Parr
Badly Repaired Cars by Ronni Campana
Hoxton Mini Press are producing books mainly about East London where they are based, but recently they have also branched out to publish other small books around more generic subjects. My favourite is this gem, that shows assorted cars, held together with all manner of tapes, rubber bands and bits of plastic. You can’t help but be charmed by the ingenuity of the supposed repairs, and also relish in the knowledge that cars this knackered are unlikely to fully recover with this botched manner of repairs. A great example of hope over adversity.
Golden Days Before they End by Klaus Pichler
The ever ingenious Klaus Pichler has stumbled across this subject, the dive bars of Vienna, and has faithfully documented these , together with quotes and assorted interviews with some of the bar regulars. The world he has photographed is rapidly in decline, as the bars start to close, exacerbated by the upcoming final smoking ban. We witness riotous behaviour, tacky and beer stained carpets and décor, but somehow everyone does seem to be having fun, and it is a far cry from the anonymous bars that are now so prevalent.
New York in Photobooks by Horacio Fernandez
As the study and celebration of the photobook continues unabated, this last contribution to the genre really does strike a chord. New York is probably the most photographed city in the world and there are countless photobooks that have made the city their central subject. The great thing about this book, is that although we have many familiar names , from William Klein, through to Bruce Golden we also discover many books from foreign photographers, that I certainly had not encountered. So this is what makes this volume so pleasing as you really get a sense of how international and cosmopolitan this city was, and still is. So many visions of the same city, each making it their own. I saw the show of this project in Granada in Spain, and hope the show can come to the city that it depicts.
The Meadow by Margot Anne Kelley
This beautifully produced book, examines a small plot of meadow is a real gem. From misty autumnal landscapes, through to spring flowers all seasons are celebrated. These images are supplemented with a fine text, assorted inventories and thorough appendixes of things like what birds are spotted with their dates. It is very re-assuring that one small plot can be so lovingly explored and it is the thoroughness of this that makes this book so compelling.
Little North Road by Daniel Traub
Mr Traub encountered a Chinese photographer, on a bridge in Guangzhou who specialised in taking portraits of Africans who were living in the city. Intrigued by this surreal combination he photographed the surrounding streets and activity and in the book added folios of the portraits taken by Wu Yong Fu and Zeng Xian Fang, his collaborator. This together with an interview with the photographers, contribute to one of the most surprising and engaging books of the year.
Martin Parr has published over 80 books of his own work and edited another 30.
Images – top: Golden Days Before They End by Klaus Pichler, below: Badly Repaired Cars by Ronni Campana