We selected for you photobooks that surprise with their theme, format or approach.
For anyone in search of photobooks marrying quality photography with unusual format and approach, look no further than these six examples. Our selection highlights experiments with the form, content and approach, showing different perspectives on contemporary photography. These beautiful publications printed in short editions, most of them already awarded and internationally acclaimed, are a great addition to any photobook collection.
‘Anna Konda’ by Katarzyna Mazur, dienacht Publishing, 2015, print run 200 copies
Katarzyna Mazur is a Polish photographer based in Berlin. Her ‘Anna Konda’ was published in 2015 as a small-format, low run print on a raw off-set paper. The book includes black-and-white photographs documenting a unique fight club in Berlin. The club is open to women of all ages and sizes. The fights follow no official guidelines, have no standard categories and do not demand any fighting style. ‘Anna Konda’ was nominated for the 2015 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. It was also selected as one of the Best Photo Books of the Year by photo-eye; one of the Most Beautiful Photo Books from the New East by Calvert Journal and among the Best Photo Books of the Year by A-N.
Greetings from Auschwitz (Pozdrowienia z Auschwitz) by Paweł Szypulski, Publisher: Edition Patrick Frey & Fundacja Sztuk Wizualnych, 2015, print run: 300 copies of the Polish edition.
Paweł Szypulski is an artist and curator, a member of the Kraków Photomonth festival. In 2015 he published ‘Greetings from Auschwitz’ – a book based on an unusual collection of postcards sent by tourists who visited the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. The oldest postcard dates from 1946. Nearly all the cards reproduced in Greetings from Auschwitz were once in circulation, written and sent to families, friends and acquaintances. On one of them a man wrote “greetings from Auschwitz” and in the post scriptum he added: “Everything is fine, all I miss is you and the sun.” The front of the postcard shows a panoramic view of the death camp, including the crematorium chimney and the entrance gate. Szypulski’s book discusses the social memory of the Holocaust. Selected as one of the Best Books of 2015 by Aaron Schuman and Rafal Milach. In 2016, it was awarded unanimously as a Fotograficzna Publikacja Roku (Photobook of the Year) by the jury of the Fotofestiwal in Lodz.
Maciej Jeziorek, 317 Days to Mars, 2015, self-published, print run 450.
Maciej Jeziorek is a photographer based in Warsaw. His self-published book ‘317 Day to Mars’ in an edition of 450, is a documentary essay about contemporary India. All photographs have been taken between 2013 and 2015 in the capital city – New Delhi. In the special edition, the book includes a hard cover, 3D (anaglyph) handmade glasses and a poster wrapped around the book cover. The title of the book refers to India’s spacecraft sent to Mars in 2013. The photographs show the streets of India, where the hustle and bustle of simple daily life stand in stark contrast to the lofty ambition of a space programme.
SHORT FLASHES by Wiktoria Wojciechowska, May 2016, publisher: Bemojake, edition of 1000
‘Short Flashes’ is a large-format photobook presenting 28 colour photographs of rain-drenched cyclists during the monsoon season in North East China. Laura Mallonee wrote for Wired.com “The cyclist’s faces are crisp and distinct, contrasting with the gestural blur of their turquoise, purple and yellow coats. The effect is at once quirky and almost painterly, combining clarity and confusion.”The book has won a number of awards including the Humanity Photo Award, International Photography Awards, Young Talents La Quatrieme Image, and Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award 2015. It was nominated for the Arles Author Book Award 2016 and the Deutsche Börse award 2017.The project ‘Short Flashes’ also gripped the attention of the international press; it was featured and reviewed by Spiegel, It’s Nice That, The Guardian, Wired.com, FT Weekend, among others.
This Is Where the End of Cities Begins (Tu się zaczyna koniec miast) by Agnieszka Rayss, edition: 350 copies, including 25 special edition copies, publisher: Sputnik Photos, 2016
‘This Is Where the End of Cities Begins’ is a new photography book by the co-founder of Sputnik Photos – Agnieszka Rayss. It focuses on the often overlooked parts of Warsaw, where nature and city infrastructure coexist in surreal landscapes. All the photos were captured at dusk or dawn, stressing the important of light. This is particularly clear in a sequence of unusual images in the middle of the book showing just the sky in various shades of pink, purple and grey. In the introduction, Filip Springer wrote “Yes, these places are hopeless. These are the spaces we do not think about, we do not imagine, we do not dream of even in our nightmares, we do not daydream about, we do not fear them. They exist because they have to, but they do not exist in any dimension to us”.
Maciej Nabrdalik, Homesick
Maciej Nabrdalik is a Polish photographer and member of the VII photo agency. In ‘Homesick’ he documents life around Chernobyl, focussing on the nostalgia for what was lost on 26 April 1986 – the day of the nuclear disaster. The pocket-size format of the photobook, with a rubber-band to hold it together, brings to mind intimate, hand-written diaries. Photos from this project received a number of awards, including in Pictures of the Year International, Polish Grand Press Photo and BZWBK Press Foto. The book was published thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign.