We recommend four recent photobooks which take us on very different journeys; from Soviet spas to provincial America, from quintessential US landscapes to small town Polish discos. They show different types of journeys; sometimes personal and sentimental, at other times, tongue-in-cheek, or sarcastic. Enjoy the ride.
Newly released photobook, just launched at Calvert22 in London, is the results of a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. It tells the stories of Soviet sanatoriums still operating today.
Eight photographers visited Soviet-era sanatoriums which, at one time, were among the most innovative and striking buildings in the East. They were designed to be medical institutions and spas providing rest and recuperation and were visited by millions. Spread around the post-Soviet landscape from 1920s, they survive in varying states of decay.
Eight photographers set out on a journey to capture sanatoriums today – from Armenia, Sochi and Russia through Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine and Georgia, the book tells the story how sanatoriums were born in the 20s, flourished in the 50s and were often abandoned after 1991. Photography captured the culture around them, highlighting the ornamental and innovative architecture, landscapes, see resorts, surroundings and guests enjoying their spa treatments.
Photography by: Michal Solarski, Claudine Doury, Rene Fietzek, Olya Ivanova, Natalia Kupriyanova, Dimitry Lookianov, Egor Rogalev, Vladimir Shipotlinikov.
‘Hitch Hike’ captured the road trip taken by two good friends to America. Their personal journey was inspired by cliché of American dream, Hollywood films or beat and hippie generation. They were hitchhiking, eating wild mushrooms and sleeping under the sky.
They travel through Illinois, South Dakota, Wyoming, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee. Briza documented their intimate journey as well as captured local people encountered on the way and those who offered them a ride. In the images, some of them lean against their cars, others pose inside drive-through bars, at the petrol stations and in front of their houses. The photos of their personal journey are a portrait of current provincial America.
Photography by Stanislav Briza, edition of 500 copies.
This large-format photobook offers an insight into the life of Ed Forbis – a modern-day cowboy from Wyoming. From the foreword we learn that for nine years in the 80s Ed was a model for iconic Marlboro commercials. After his modelling career had finished, he went back to the cowboy life and now lives close to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The book is a result of the photographers’ journey to the US but also a journey back into the glory days of Ed Harris.
Photography by Lola Paprocka and Pani Paul, edition of 500 copies.
Disco Polo is a journey into Poland’s recent past. The book shows the impact the break with the communist East had on Polish urban and rural cityscape. Eclectic advertisements emerged on the streets, flooding cities big and small. Brash, kitsch colours enveloped previously grey tower blocks. ‘Along with the economic and social changes, the entertainment sector was flourishing and the new music genre called disco polo emerged’. Disco Polo captures the aesthetics in Eastern Poland where longing to be part of the west comes with a distinctly eastern flavour.
Photography by Paulina Korobkiewicz, edition of 150 copies