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Alec Soth, Andy Adams, Cory Doctorow, David Campbell, David Gray, Edmund Clark, Geoff Dyer, Gilles Peress and MANY MORE … THE FRIENDS OF PHONAR BOOK LIST BY ADMIN, ON DECEMBER 13TH, 2010 Following on from Wayne Ford’s list of “Photography and Narrative“ books to explore, we contacted some of the worlds most inspirational photographic practitioners, thinkers, authors and publishers and asked them for a book nomination that

“is notable/ inspiring/ seminal/ provocative, in it’s narrative structure/approach or perhaps in it’s ‘discussion’ of narrative” We hope you’ll enjoy the Friends of Phonar Photobook list as much as we have and find it a valuable and inspirational resource. Phonar was brought to you by Jonathan Worth @jdubbyah (Ship’s Captain), Matt Johnston @mjohnstonmedia(Chief Engineer), Paul Adkins (Sound Engineer) and Jonathan Shaw @time_motion (Harbour Master). Very special thanks go out to the #phonar crew: Wayne Ford. For his enthusiasm, support, and seemingly inexhaustible Photobook knowledge. David Campbell For his piloting skills and academic freight. Fred Ritchin, Stephen Mayes and Cory Doctorow for their inspiration and generous support. Jon Levy and Harry Hardie for their patience, generosity and enthusiasm Simon Roberts, Peter Brook and David Gray for their inspiring lectures and continued engagement. Michael David Murphy for allowing us to transform his Unphotographable posts. John Powell for his support and direction regarding behavioural economics. It’s nearly impossible to thank all of the people who contributed one way or another to phonar over the ten weeks, at one point the the weekly tweet reach was to over 42,000 people with 700 “dropping in” to class. It’s a terrifying thing, to have that many people looking over our shoulders and Matt and I were very nervous about it. However we’ve both been corrected, enlightened, inspired and supported in equal measure by a community of learner-practitioners that we’re grateful to consider ourselves a be part of.


To that end …. we’re going to do another Open Class in the New Year. This will fall midway through the second year for our BA students and as such is different in pitch to phonar. We still aim to address complex issues by chipping away at them through the weekly tasks, and we still ultimately value the learning process over a final product, however “Picturing the Body” (#picbod) ends in an exhibition and as such we place much greater emphasis on artisanal craftsmanship. So there’ll be introductions to hand-made book making, lots of arcane wet darkroom process and the opportunity for the online participant to have their work printed by our undergraduate specialists. There’ll be more lectures,more interviews, more guest contributors and the inaugural meeting of the PhotoBookClub.

Classes start January 10th, 2011 and will be open online at http://picbod.org and live at Coventry University.

If you would like to head straight to one of our contributors recommendations, click on their name to jump down Alec Soth Andy Adams Cory Doctorow Daniel Meadows David Campbell Edmund Clark Fred Ritchin Geoff Dyer Gilles Peress Grant Scott Harry Hardie Jeff Brouws Joel Meyerowitz John Edwin Mason Jonathan Shaw Jonathan Worth Ken Schles Larissa Leclair Ludwig Haskins


Matt Johnston Michael Hallett Miki Johnson Mikko Takkunen Nathalie Belayche Peter Dench Pete Brook Sean O’Hagan Simon Roberts Stephen Mayes Steve Pyke Todd Hido Alec Soth – Photographer Suite vénitienne Sophie Calle

Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint Germain des Prés Ed van der Elsken


Andy Adams – Editor and Publisher, FlakPhoto.com Wisconsin Death Trip Michael Lesy What I find most fascinating is the false narrative / meaning the book creates – that photographer Charles van Schaick’s photographs document the psychotic people of a 19th century Wisconsin town. In fact, author Michael Lesy constructed a kind of mash-up narrative by assembling (remixing?) vintage photos with tragic newspaper clippings of the day that had no direct relationship to one another. Before I’d even seen a copy of the book, I was hearing word of mouth recommendations about the spooky stories it told. The book went on to several reprints and spawned a film of the same name. More here. I spent four years working in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s photo archive (where the Van Schaick collection is housed), and published a Flickr set of photographs from which the book is drawn a few years ago. You can see them at this link, if you’re interested.


Cory Doctorow – SciFi Writer Dead Air Iain Banks I think it’s the first post-mobile-phone thriller. My review

Daniel Meadows – Photographer and Documentarist Motion Studies: Time, Space and Eadweard Muybridge Rebecca Solnit Muybridge is my favourite photographer. He achieved something that only a few photographers have managed: he changed forever (and irreversibly) the way we see.


This is a great book which deals with photography (and a photographer) whilst also managing to include the annihilation of space and time. It’s a great story too. Adventure, skullduggery, sex, riches, murder, intrigue, courtroom drama… it has all kinds of weirdness too.

David Campbell – Author Looking In: Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans Robert Frank, Sarah Greenough (ed)


The Mexican Suitcase, 2 volumes Cynthia Young (ed)

Susan Meisalas: In History Caroline Brothers, Edmundo Desnoes, Kristen Lubben, and Susan Meiselas

Edmund Clark - Photographer Afghanistan: Chronotopia Simon Norfolk


For the way Norfolk introduces the idea of historical narrative or ‘The Museum of the Archeology of War’ through the layers of events or time defined by the lyrical destruction in his images.

Fig Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin A splendid visual conceit exploring the dark themes of colonialism, acquisition, ownership, classification and objectivisation through the whimsical narrative of a bizarre photographic collection.

The Americans Robert Frank The narrative of a nation through the ‘classic’ American experience of the road trip.


Fred Ritchin – Writer and Editor Borges y Yo (Borges and I) Jorge Luis Borges (incl in ‘Maker’) The extraordinary short story by Sr. Borges about him and him

Las Babas del Diablo (The Devil’s Spittle) Julio Cortázar Julio Cortázar’s short story about photography, literature and life, with shifting pronouns, translated as “Blow-Up” for the Antonioni movie that it did and did not inspire


Cent mille milliards de poèmes (One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems) Raymond Queneau The simplest and most beautiful of hypertext poems, from 1961


Geoff Dyer - Author Under a Grudging Sun Alex Webb

Requiem (Cape) Horst Faas/Tim Page (eds) Obviously this one not arranged by a photographer but worth paying some attention to the way editors/curators can give narrative shape and coherence to a disparate body of work


Gilles Peress – Photographer Reperages Alain Resnais

Grant Scott - Photographer, Editor – Professional Photographer Magazine Chronicles: Volume One Bob Dylan Words as pictures, memories and impressions of a moment in time. Non linear storytelling of the highest form. Fractured and fragmental like the best photo story. This is a photo book that doesn’t need photos to inspire.


Harry Hardie - Curator, HOST Gallery Kitintale Yann Gross A great example of where photo book publishing is exciting right now – a small print run, on newspaper, and beautifully packaged. Not only is this a collectible book from an incredibly interesting rising star of documentarybased work, but it tells a fantastic, yet humble story.

Jeff Brouws – Photographer Invisible City


Ken Schles

The New Europe Paul Graham

The Valley Larry Sultan


Pictures from home Larry Sultan

Joel Meyerowitz – Photographer The Americans Robert Frank

Looking at Photographs John Szarkowski


John Edwin Mason – Historian and Photographer American Photographs, Museum of Modern Art, 1938 Walker Evans Very probably the most influential of all photo books. Demonstrated that photographic narrative can be carried along by the sequencing of images and that meaning (elusive though it may be) can be produced by their cumulative weight. Can also be read as a road trip (it was actually the work of several).

The Americans Robert Frank The impact of Walker Evans’ American Photographs can be felt on every


page. Not coincidentally, Evans helped to secure the Guggenheim that put Frank on the road across America.

South Africa: The Structure of Things Then David Goldblatt Another of Evans’ photographic off-spring. As in American Photographs, buildings outnumber people — decidedly so, in Goldblatt’s case. An implied, although not actual, road trip, through what was then the land of apartheid. The built environment and the sequence in which it is seen reveals the complexity of the nation’s character.

Paterson George A Tice Tice does for a small industrial city, in New Jersey, what Evans and Goldblatt did for entire countries. Carefully sequenced, plainspoken, large-format


images led viewers through and into the city. Buildings dominate, but people and the natural environment insist on being part of this story of grit and endurance.

JazzLife William Claxton The road trip that Robert Frank would have made if he’d been in love with jazz and the people that play it. A long, rich voyage of discovery, with photographic sequencing that evokes the rhythms of jazz.

House of Bondage Ernest Cole Cole, who, despite the name, was African, takes viewers on a journey into day-to-day reality of a South Africa shaped by apartheid. Anger informs, but never overwhelms, the images and text. The impact of the photos makes the words almost superfluous.


The Sound I Saw Roy DeCarava DeCarava first invites viewers to share his vision and sensibility before leading them outward into an exploration of African-American life in New York, in the ‘50s and ‘60s. His photos convey meaning and emotion that is beyond words, much like the music — jazz — that informs DeCarava’s way of seeing.

Moving Spirit: Spirituality in South Africa Paul Weinberg


Another inward journey that eventually leads outward. Another implied, though not actual, road trip. An examination of the many, changing facets of South African spirituality — traditional, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu. A photographic style developed during the height of the struggle against apartheid turns to contemplative subjects with great effect.

Seconds of My Life Jamel Shabazz An exuberant, extraverted engagement with African-American popular culture in the post-Civil Rights era. Shabazz finds meaning in the faces, clothes, and postures of the men and women, boys and girls that he encounters, mostly on the street. Narrative is implied as styles and backgrounds change.


Jonathan Shaw – Photographer Broken Screen, Expanding The Image Breaking the Narrative – 26 Conversations with Doug Aitken Noel Daniel

Jonathan Worth – Photographer I found this as hard as most people, and so chose the two books who’s narratives have had the most profoundly positive effects on me at different points in my career. Steve Pyke’s book changed the way I saw things could be done. Fred Ritchin’s book changed the way I think. I could read the Sky Steve Pyke


After Photography Fred Ritchin

Ken Schles - Photographer Telex Iran Giles Peress


In terms of structure and narrative approach, the one that comes foremost to my mind this cold December morning is Gilles Peress and his book Telex Iran, or here the English title, Iranian Telexes. I think it was a radical break to the traditional photobook structure in that it, at first glance, looks like a traditional photojournalist take on an “exotic” place of conflict in the world. The images are strong in that B&W photojournalistic tradition, the heroic western (European) male gaze looking at an inscrutable area of conflict (in this case the Iranian Revolution). But what turns this narrative on it’s head is the inclusion of a running dialog of telexes, those primitive means of communication between faraway places before the advent of the internet. Telexes were short and terse teletype communiqués. The images are personal, visceral and present and describe a whole world that is chaotic, dangerous, inscrutable, palpable, poetic. This, in the the greatest tradition of Magnum photography, that started with H-C Bresson and worked its way down to Philip Jones Griffith. But the telexes subvert the experience of the images and describe a world unseen, one that we begin to recognize all too clearly, on the way media works in the west (or I should say did work). About deadlines and office chatter, holiday plans and the feeble attention spans of readers of truncated news cycles. This is where the book transcends the traditional oeuvre, and brings it to a new place beyond the straight narrative of the so called “objective” journalist and becomes a searing commentary on the whole structure and practice of news gathering, its co-option and self-defeating attachment to commercial interests and the media’s portrayal of geopolitics. And so simply and elegantly and seductively done. Images alone could not have done this and text could not either. For me it was a turning point in understanding the narrative possibilities of the photobook. For me it opened new ways to see and understand, not only the photobook, but ways to look and see and understand the world.


Larissa Leclair – Photography writer, curator and collector Intensive Care Andrea Stultiens (third book down – also click on the link to look through the book)


Thinner Air John Mann

Ludwig Haskins – Photographer Southern Frontiers’ – A Journey across the Roman Empire Don McCullin This is a sublime photo book!

Cowboy Kate Sam Haskins The first creative photobook to use pure visual narrative was my father’s ‘Cowboy Kate’ in 1964. He never used a story (however flimsy) in a book again – just themes. It’s certainly one of the reasons why ‘Kate’ was such a huge success.


Matt Johnston – Photographer Readymades Jeff Brouws More for the attention to detail in sequencing of images and chapters than the traditional narrative story

Niagara Alec Soth


Michael Hallett – Photographer and Chairman, Distinctions Advisory Board, Royal Photographic Society The Americans Robert Frank There is really only one book that fits most perfectly into your request and it has to be Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’. I came across it when i was a young visiting professor at Rochester, NY. A year or so ago I wrote a piece for the RPS journal. Any person involved with narrative has to know this book backwards.

Miki Johnson – Writer, Editor and Photography Consultant Ed Kashi


Three This is a multimedia piece I put together for Ed Kashi’s book, THREE, in which images from his 30 years as a top documentary photographer are combined into triptychs that consciously abandon the idea of context or traditional narrative. I like this book because it reminds us all that no matter how long you’ve been working or how tired you are of looking at your own stuff, you can always find a new way to see. Ed Kashi – THREE from Miki Johnson on Vimeo.

Mikko Takkunen – Photographer and creator ofphotojournalismlinks Capitolio Chris Anderson I think Chris Anderson’s Capitolio is one of the most narrative of photobooks. We aren’t given a story or information on individual photographs but the ‘cinematic journey’ as a review (http://bit.ly/BuKdE http://bit.ly/ cRj1cD) called it, pretty much forces u to try to build narrative.

Nathalie Belayche – Curator and photo editor The Great Unreal Taiyo Onorato + Nico Krebs


Peter Dench – Photographer Broken Empire Gert Ludwig

Pete Brook – Photography Writer Zona Carl de Keyzer


Too Much Time Jane Evelyn Atwood

Intimate Enemy Robert Lyons


Family Chris Verene

Sean O’Hagan – Photography Writer – The Guardian A Million Shillings: Escape from Somalia Alixandra Fazzina Here’s what I said about its narrative structure in my review:A Million Shillings, though, is a book that does not abide by the normal rules of reportage. Its narrative unfolds in an almost novelistic way, as her camera tracks a journey that, for the few that survive, often ends in a kind of dismal limbo of uncertainty in a refugee camp in Yemen. Many of Fazzina’s images of the everyday life there have an intimate and painterly quality: the muted


blues and greens of the clothes, the sad stoicism of the faces, the abiding sense of futility – and extraordinary humility – that attends this kind of survival. Here, the photographs serve the story and you may find yourself lingering, as I did, over her almost holy portraits of the displaced. Full review.

Sabine Jacob Au Sobel It’s basically a visual diary of his relationship with an Inuit girl. Bloody brilliant and hard book that uses the loves story to tell all kinds of other bigger stories.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2006/may/28/art3 Simon Roberts – Photographer Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out Edmund Clark


For 2010

Joel Sternfeld American Prospects All time book

Stephen Mayes - Managing Director of VII Agency NY After Photography Fred Ritchin This is not a book of photojournalism nor specifically about photojournalism, but Ritchin’s thesis about the transition from analogue to digital imagery has powerful implications for every producer and consumer of documentary photography in all its forms.


Belgicum Stephan Vanfleteren An astonishing reportage from a photographer whose strength and potential influence has yet to be fully realised.

Infidel Tim Hetherington Hetherington covers some familiar tropes of conflict photography, but expands into zones of extraordinary intimacy which are very unfamiliar in traditional reportage. He brings a new vision to conflict photography.


Steve Pyke – Photographer Invisible City Ken Schles

Todd Hido – Photographer Pictures from home Larry Sultan


Raised By Wolves Jim Goldberg

BOOKS, CONTRIBUTORS, GUEST POST, INSPIRATION ADAMS, BOOKS, BROOK, BROUWS, CAMPBELL, CLARK,DENCH, DOCTOROW, DYER, GRAY, HARDIE, HASKINS, HIDO, JOHNSTON, MAYES, MEYEROWITZ, O'HAGAN, PERESS,PHONAR, PHOTOGRAPHY, PYKE, ROBERTS, SCHLES, SCOTT, SHAW, SOTH, TAKKUNEN, WORTH


Notable Photobooks