Photobooks of 2017: Brad Feuerhelm
This list is compromised of titles that I find personally relevant and is in no way is an attempt to suggest a standing of “best”. To qualify that would be silly. These are titles that simply opened other doors to my perception and is not reflective of binding, production, stupid prizes or groupthink.
Alejandro Cartagena – Santa Barbara Shame On Us
Alejandro’s second volume of the Santa Barbara series is a continuation, not a re-mix of the first edition published last year. It is solid. It implies horror and the crumbling cake of Americana, but does so in a way that completely absolves my worry upon publishing that it would be a weaker “leftover” book. I prefer it to the first, but hold both in high esteem.
Leif Sandberg – Ending
Sometimes you wait your whole life to make one work that efficiently succeeds any other possible lead up that you might have taken opportunities with beforehand. This book is elegiac and dark, but also comes full circle to acceptance. Incredibly well-edited and moving.
Pasolini – Bodies and Places
Pasolini doesn’t really need an introduction to his oeuvre. What this book does is takes an outside perspective of a working mode and completely re-invigorates the process through an archival tendency and outside eye. Its rough-hewn state of representation bleeds and blurs with elegant subjectivity.
Werkstatt für Photographie 1976-1986
This is possibly the most important overview of a criminally underrated era in German photographic history. Michael Schmidt and associates continue to redefine what I see as way of thinking through photography to limitless ends without relying on the contemporary crutch of gimmickry.
Thomas Albdorf – General View
Currently, I tend to float towards titles that give me a sense of epiphany even if the aesthetic is not something inherent in my own desire for work. Books like Albdorf’s hint at the future without seeking to abstract its possibilities into pure conjecture. It speaks in a language that is very now, but is not so callous as to punish the (ahem) viewer with obsequious over-intellectualized nonsense.
Klaus Pichler This Will Change Your Life Forever
I have been waiting to see this book for a couple of years. It is personal, mystical and full of glib social commentary about desire and the frail human attempt to exceed death. The production was worth the wait.
Jeffrey Silverthorne – Morgue
A long overdue examination of a body of work that is both relevant and difficult. People often lament over their being beaten about the eyes with 70’ photographers repeatedly. It is refreshing to see a lesser-pronounced photographer getting some due.
Anna Ehrenstein – Tales of Lipstick and Virtue
A very deceptive first glance would suggest something that belittles the author’s gift of the political. What appears to be hyper fashion is much much deeper. I expect Ehrenstein to shatter further soft glancing in the future. A strong beginning.
Ron Jude – Nausea
Incredible work. The palor of education in its crumbling brick and yellow façade. This is Ron’s work over 30 years about the architecture of education. His work has never been as melancholic and sublime. He continues to hold court in my theater of seeing for all the understated possibilities he suggests.
Marten Lange – The Mechanism
I missed out on Mårten’s “Another Language”. The mechanism continues his mathematical look at the world, but this time it exists in the steel traps of cities and the errant potential for collapse. Timely.
Brad Feuerhelm is the Managing Editor of American Suburb X.
Images: top – Leif Sandberg – Ending, below – Ron Jude – Nausea, Jeffrey Silverthorne – Morgue