“American” photobook titles, copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.
I have been just invited by Manik Katyal, founder, editor and publisher of EMAHO magazine to be a contributor to his magazine joining he and Colin Pantall as photobook reviewers. We are still working on the details of what that means, but the short answer is that he would like to co-publish my book reviews that I post on The Photobook blog. You may also recall that Katyal featured my artist book Pine Lake on EMAHO magazine.
Katyal has also asked that I focus on American photobooks, as Pantall is located in the UK and is predominantly covering the European photobook scene. When I stated The Photobook blog in 2009, one key aspect of this project was for me to look at photobooks beyond the borders of the U.S. as I see photobooks having a intercontinental reach. So this has stirred mixed emotions, but fortunately Katyal has not asked me to be a book reviewer exclusive to American photobooks.
With the internet and social media I observe a really quick mashup of ideas and concepts being shared amongst photographers and book makers. This request to be an American specialist is an interesting one. I am in the midst of reading America Latina Photographs (1960 – 2013) recently co-published by Museo Amparo, Fondation Cartier in conjunction with Thames & Hudson. American Latina covers an extensive and diverse region, extending from Argentina and Chile north to Mexico and includes the Caribbean islands. The curators/authors devolve into question of what does the term America Latina photography signify. I think the same beguiling question encircles the idea of American photobooks. Thus expect me to be equally broad and diverse while to looking at American photobooks.
I will start by broadly defining American photobooks as those created by someone born in America, someone who has moved to and resides at least a part of their time in America and photographers who reside in places other than in America who in turn investigate the culture, landscape and society of America.
An example I have in hand is Andreas Oetker-Kast’s recently published photobook Looking for Wonderland, a German photographer who made an American road trip investigation transversing across the U.S. Likewise Andrew Phelps, an American photographer who now resides in Austria who returned his family home to investigate a region of Arizona titled Haboob. And quintessential American photographers such as the late W. Eugene Smith and his three volume opus Big Book.
My photobook reviews will not be exclusive to the American photobook, but perhaps I will become a little more keen observant as to what is being published with regard to America.
footnote: the photograph of the American photobook stack, above, is also an investigation into the use of my recently expanded studio space. Another work in progress, but so far, so good.