EX LIBRIS: Hand-Picked Steidl Favorites from Dan Nadel
As many book lovers know, we are now proudly distributing Steidl. A complete list of titles can be seen here. But before you leap into that portal, here is a gaggle of titles shipping out this week, selected by Key Accounts Sales Director, Dan Nadel.
1. A thrilling and surprising five-volume set collecting the best photographs from Gordon Parks’ astonishing career. Parks was a man who made his own luck and documented America in the most crucial decades off the 20th century. The unsurpassed breadth of Parks’ work takes in Tuskegee Airmen, Gloucester Fishermen, Harlem Gangs and Ingrid Bergman in the 1940s; US Steel, Alberto Giacometti, Benedectine Monks and segregation in the 1950s; Duke Ellington, The March on Washington, George Balanchine, and Stokely Carmichael in the 1960s; Muhammad Ali and The Black Panthers in the 1970s. Parks never missed a beat. Volume V is dedicated solely to perfect reproductions of Parks’ Life Magazine spreads. No other photographer in our catalog combines such personal verve with such a stunning eye for history in the making. This is my absolute favorite Steidl project and is now $100 less than when previously offered. Do not miss it.
2. This one was a surprise to me. I knew it was a classic, originally published in 1985, but I was unprepared for the complete redesign and expanded field of this new oversized edition. Goldberg’s masterpiece is like a novel in its detailed focus of the narrative of class in 1970s and ’80s San Francisco. His photographs are paired with his subject’s handwritten text, creating a startlingly personal contrast. This edition also includes a new accordion fold print revealing the cityscapes of the rich and the poor.
3. This is the kind of book that makes this job a delight. South African photographer Santu Mofokeng has compiled a trove of 1890-1950 portrait photographs of urban black working and middle class. The texture of these images, presented as archival objects, is alive to the touch, vibrant and transportive, but there is another context lurking beneath: the slow but steady marginalization of an indigenous people. An essential volume.
4. We are New Yorkers here, and we love Manhattan’s High Line: A stretch of once-forgotten elevated train tracks now transformed into a lush park. But back in 2001 Joel Sternfeld led us on a photographic walk of those same tracks in all their abandoned beauty in this photo book classic.
5. Formatted like a ledger, this collection of Polaroids by Robert Frank documents his material world, from candid photos of the likes of Walker Evans to landscapes to long-abandoned beds. Exquisitely designed and printed on lush uncoated paper– this is a unique look at the iconic photographer.
6. A tremendous undertaking in photography, urban studies and South African history, this project uses virtually every photographic technique imaginable to providing a kaleidoscopic view of the titular Johannesburg skyscraper, Africa’s tallest residential building. Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse spent six years on this story and have produced a box containing 17 booklets and one hardcover book. These publications contain portraits of Ponte City residents, the view from every window in the structure, as well as found material and documents about the building. Rounding out the picture is a series of essays about the idea and reality of this urban anomaly.
7. Ahhh, Rodchenko, master of Russian Constructivism. This oversized volume is the most complete collection of the great artist’s photographs to date. These pictures, taken and printed in the 1920s and ‘30s, are dynamic and intimate portraits of athletes, poets and industry in the new Russia. A generous peek into a world gone by.
8. A face is missing from each of these photographs, taken at Gulu Real Art Studio, the oldest photography studio in Gulu, a city in Northern Uganda that has been in near-constant upheaval for the last two decades. The faces were cut out and used for identification documents, and the remnants left behind allow us to take in posture, mood, and clothing as the sole indicators of life. Gathered by Italian photo-journalist Martina Bacigalupo, these objects reveal as much as they conceal and somehow they are beautiful.
9. Between the plush covers and festive endpapers of Australian photographer Trent Parke’s “Family Album” lurks a darkly funny portrait of a family Christmas celebration gone both terribly wrong and hilariously right. Oh yes, there is a bright wreath, tidily wrapped gifts, and children at play but there are is also a dog fight, a dead rodent, a rather unusual swimsuit, and (in the only picture not taken by the author), Parke himself vomiting into yes, you guessed it, a bucket also used to house the Christmas tree itself.
10. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Berenice Abbott turned to something new: photographing physics. The Physical Science Studies Committee published this work in textbooks and other materials, complete with sober modernist graphics. And now we have a volume of pictures with titles like “Strobe of a Bouncing Ball, “Time Exposure of Standing Waves” and “Beginning of a Battery”. There is little in this book life that could be so simultaneously subtle, delightful and psychedelic.