By Rinko Kawauchi (Aperture)
Kawauchi’s new book, whose title combines the Japanese characters meaning “heaven” and “earth,” is an exploration into the relationship between humankind and time. Large landscape images of a traditional controlled-burn farming technique flow into one another, illustrating the destructive and rejuvenating qualities of fire. Abstract and quiet images of distant constellations break the flow of images of fire and hint at the role that humanity plays in the world. Kawauchi’s beautiful and thought-provoking work demands repeat viewings to fully grasp what is being said, but it is well worth the time.
GRAYS THE MOUNTAIN SENDS
By Bryan Schutmaat (Silas Finch)
Schutmaat has spent the last few years documenting small mountainside towns in the American West, their inhabitants and the effects of mining on them. Forthright portraits of those who may or may not have given up on their dreams blend seemingly into landscapes of ruin and destruction. The book is a testament to the power of color photography, blended with a documentary aesthetic. Schutmaat paints this tragic story with dignity and beauty.
Edited by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin (MACK)
Operating under the guide of philosopher Adi Ophir’s idea that God reveals himself through catastrophe, Broomberg and Chanarin create a bible of their own that explores the visual representation of conflict and the relationship between faith and violence. As aggressive as it is provocative, this book functions as an art object and a religious document. Regardless of one’s personal faith or lack thereof, there’s something to learn and experience within these pages.
By John Cage, Hans Seeger and William Gedney (Little Brown Mushroom)
The subtlety of chance and the invitation to experiment bring this visual literary collaboration together: an impeccable design by Hans Seeger, stories by John Cage and images by William Gedney. The pages, simply folded into place, allow readers to remove and rearrange the stories and images into new creations of their own imaginations, turning endings into beginnings.
SOMETIMES I CANNOT SMILE
By Piergiorgio Casotti (Designed by 3/3; self-published)
Casotti’s journey brings us to the eastern side of Greenland, where he has photographed Inuit communities and explored why the area has the highest juvenile suicide rate in the world. Stark landscapes paired with teens dealing with boredom, isolation and violence bring this tragic story together. Emotions run high while viewing these children battlingthemselves and one another. His photos can be challenging and unnerving, but their presentation of the universal story of life’s hardships is worth experiencing.
Published November 22, 2013 - for The Washington Post