What’s up, everybody? I’m happy to be back on the Deadbeat blog to talk about some of my favorite photobooks from 2019. The titles I’ve chosen for this list aren’t in any ranked order; rather, they each offer something unique or inspiring to me. I encourage you to read or purchase any or all of these titles, if given the opportunity to do so. You won’t regret it. Or maybe you will. Shit, I dunno. You got your own life, I respect that. I thought we were keeping this casual and now we’re talking about regrets. Um, I mean… let’s get into it.
J is one of my favorite contemporary photographers. Through their thoughtful and intimate portraits they subvert the historically problematic aspects of American fine art documentary aesthetics. Beyond that, J finds a way to take a world that is familiar to me and present it in a way that changes my perspective. At times that shift is subtle, and at other times overt. So, when J posted about this wedding zine, compiled from outtakes of commissioned work, I knew I had to snag one. J’s photos draw attention to the peculiar yet loving traditions expressed during marriage ceremonies. This is a great example of what can really be accomplished in zine format through the hands of a talented artist. It resonates.
Reinhart’s Rating™ - It’s Electric! Boogie Woogie oogie!
Pairs with: Western PA Cookie Tables, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Red Faced Drunk Uncles
Are you a reader who is looking for visual representations of the impending and overdue destruction of patriarchal, abusive, imperialist organizations? Well then, have I got a book for you! If ya didn’t hear, Notre Dame got burnt to shit and this book is comprised of photos of that event. Holla! Raise the Roo… Now, some of you might be saying “Hol’ up. Notre Dame is a cultural landmark that represents the accomplishments of human engineering, design and visual communication. This place is a sanctuary and despite the failings of Western Culture, this is a tragedy for the fair city of Paris, humankind and history.” Well, guess what, I hear that too. This book is also about that. Some others might be saying, “Nah dawg, this book is about Satan!” To that I say, “Praise Be.” Here’s the thing, there ain’t no words in this book, and photos function differently than words, so every time I read this book I think of something else. Sike, there’s words but they’re at the end. You’re gonna have to buy it and find out if your opinion is wrong. Send all hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for a timely response to your concerns.
Reinhart’s Rating™ -Six out of Six (6) Upside Down Crosses
Pairs with: Black Sabbath S/T, A dead raven in a bag, A fresh baguette, Choir boys
The Ice Plant
OK… OK… can we calm down and find some mutual ground to stand on? Do you know, Tim Carpenter? Well, if you don’t, I’ll say that his photos have a quiet, introspective quality to them. When I look at Tim’s work, I don’t think he’s trying to convey a specificity about location, rather I read his photos to be evocative of emotion through the use of landscape and topography. In other words, this isn’t a document about place, it’s a document about feeling. But probably also place, kinda to a lesser extent. A place where one might go to think. ANYWAY, this book takes the reader along for that journey. It’s pensive and familiar, yet kind of menacing in a comforting way. By the time you make it to THE tree, you’ll know what I mean. What I find really remarkable, is that I believe this book was made during one walk. All of the photos. One walk. Geez, Tim, leave some for the rest of us. Excellent book, get yourself one for Christmas Day even if you don’t celebrate that holiday.
Reinhart’s Rating™ - A thoughtful discussion and a friendly hug
Pairs with: Your favorite sweater, Nathan Pearce, That Cold November Rain
Quiet Pages Press
Hey, do you know how when you go onto Ian’s website to steal photos to look at later for inspiration, but can’t because the dude has it designed to be like some kinda gallery tour instead of a regular website about pictures? Well, this zine fixes that problem. Yes, you do have to pay the one-time fee for ownership, but it’s well worth it. Editions of this zine are handcrafted by the publisher, Manda Quevedo. I believe are still available, so don’t sleep. Ian’s photographs in this zine, while not made during his adolescence, draw the reader into that period of growth and discovery. At the same time, there is a bitter sweet knowledge that those days are gone and have been replaced by a contemporary period of uncertainty. Ian has the capability to make photographs that aren’t overly sentimental yet still tender. These images allow room for curiosity but are somehow still analytical.
(Full Disclosure: If you write off this review because of my proximity to the photographer, you’re gonna be bummed like the antagonist in Sk8er Boi.)
Reinhart’s Rating™ - Four out of Four “Cool S” stick and poke tattoos
Pairs with: Hamm’s Lager, Adam’s Song, Eggs with Arugula
This book hits all of the notes that I find deeply interesting. Familial connection, history, science, dialect, specificity of place, myth and the passage of time. The artist’s exploration of the role of language in the formation of perception and as a vehicle for conveying cultural nuance is one of the main themes in this body of work. Maja’s use of photographs made by Tenn Lars Persson are integrated very well alongside the photos that she has made. Unlike other attempts where archival imagery is sometimes used to add authority to a photographer’s voice, her use of Persson’s images blur the lines between past and present, and creates a feeling of hallucinatory disorientation. I had read many reviews before I was able to get my hands on this book, and was worried that there might not be any surprises left for me to discover. That certainly wasn’t the case. If you see this book, scoop it up.
Reinhart’s Rating ™: One long crazy walk into the woods
Pairs with: Psilocybin, Palo Santo, A full Moon
Hey everyone, remember words? I know, right?! It’s like with all of this talk about photos and photobooks, we almost forgot about those crazy lil jams. Well, this book is full of words, lots of really good ones too. You might be thinking right now, what the hell? I thought this was a review about photobooks not book books. Well, here’s the thing, all of the words in Lacuna Park are about photos, or the process of making photos, or thoughts about the motivations to make photos. Look, you’re gonna have to trust me on this. Besides, words are basically just these things that allow our brains to make pictures inside of our skulls, so they’re kind of the same, but different. Anyway, I have digressed. This book is a compilation of essays. Making for relatively quick reads which address at times philosophical, analytical, or deeply personal mediations on this art form that we love. Pick up one now for $25, or wait and read it later while you’re paying $85,000 to get that fancy MFA. The choice is yours.
Reinhart’s Rating™: Straight A’s
Pairs with: Chin scratching, Sitting on a park bench contemplating the void, Riding the bus
Jake Reinhart is a photographer from Pittsburgh, PA. he likes long walks in the woods and a cold frosty fancy beers, though sometimes he is fine with a Schlitz if that's what you got. We will be producing his book about live in Western PA later this year... its real good.