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Island April

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Friedrich Seidenstücker (1882-1966) didn’t sell his first photograph until he was 46. Trained as a sculptor, he never lost his eye for mass and form. His photographs of Berlin daily life during the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s freeze passersby in poses either accidentally graceful or, more frequently, droll and ungainly. In ‘Shine’ (1925), four women clamber out of a swimming pool; the title refers to the wet gleam of the fabric on their behinds. Elsewhere in ‘Friedrich Seidenstücker: Of Hippos and Other Humans, Photographs 1925-1958′ (Hatje Cantz, 327 pages, $60), a man hinges awkwardly at the waist, leaning over a railing to get a better look into a cage at the zoo. Seidenstücker relished confounding man and beast, as in the image of a curious rhino peering at a seemingly captive zookeeper (above). On a trip to Copenhagen, he snapped a man whose splay-footed waddle evokes nothing so much as a penguin—indeed, he is dragging a box of fish down the sidewalk. But the irony on display in the book’s more than 200 images can seem a bit like moral disengagement when one recalls that the era saw the Nazis’ rise, World War II and the dismembering of Berlin itself. ‘This entire period did not agree with me’ was Seidenstücker’s understated explanation—though during the war he sustained a Jewish friend with gifts of food. Even his shots of postwar rubble work hard to avoid the abyss. Kids and picnickers make the best of the ruins, napping amid the broken bricks or heaping them into playful piles.

—The Books Editors

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WATCH THAT SAND: People napped in the sand dunes on the German North Sea Island of Borkum Friday. (Reinhold Grigoleit/European Pressphoto Agency)

PAST AND FUTURE: Men of the Lebanese Druze religious sect mourned the death of Sheikh Abou Mohammad Jawad Walieddine, the head of the spiritual Druze council at his house in the village of Baakline, Lebanon, Friday. The body of the 96-year-old was displayed in a glass coffin. (Mohamad Azakir/Reuters)

STANDOFF IN LONDON: A man threw a computer monitor out of a window on London’s Tottenham Court Road Friday. After an hours-long standoff, police arrested the 49-year-old man, who had entered the office of a drivers’ training company claiming to be armed with gas canisters. (Getty Images)

HARD FALL: A bear fell from a tree at the University of Colorado in Boulder Thursday after being tranquilized by wildlife officials. The bear, which weighs 150-200 pounds, had wandered into a campus dormitory complex. It was later tagged and released in the Rocky Mountains. (Andy Duann/CU Independent/Associated Press)

FRIGHTENED: Bystanders tried to help a woman hurt in one of four explosions that rattled Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, Friday. At least 27 people were injured. (Evgeniy Kudrya/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEWSPAPER BOMBED: Policemen stood outside the offices of This Day Newspapers in Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday. The paper, one of Nigeria’s leading publications, was rocked by bombs that killed two security men and a suicide bomber and injured five of support staffers. (Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images)

FIGHTING FOR A MEDAL: France’s Sarah Loko, in blue, fought against France’s Automne Pavia in the women’s 57 kg category bronze match at the European Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Thursday. Pavia won. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)

AT AN END: A victim of violence instigated by Liberian ex-leader Charles Taylor watched his trial Thursday inside the Special Court in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday. Mr. Taylor was convicted of arming an insurgency that committed war crimes in Sierra Leone. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

REMEMBERING: Valentina Lopatyuk, 79, cried Thursday at the grave of her son, Viktor Lopatyuk, 29, at the Mitino Cemetery a memorial in Moscow for the victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Russians were marking the 26th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident. (Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press)

FIGHTING THE FLU: Indonesian agriculture officials euthanized chickens suspected of being infected with bird flu in Denpasar, Bali, Thursday. An eight-year-old boy in the region died of a suspected case of bird flu on Tuesday. (Made Nagi/European Pressphoto Agency)

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ALL WHITE: Indian milkmen poured milk on their leaders during a protest in New Delhi Wednesday. The milkmen are angry about a decision by dairy companies to reduce the price milk and demanded a minimum support price for milk procurement. (Manish Swarup/Associated Press)

ALL WET: Filipino protesters braced themselves as they were hit by water fired from water cannons by riot police outside the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila Wednesday. (Aaron Favila/Associated Press)

A NIGHT’S SHELTER: A homeless family prepared to sleep under an overpass in New Delhi Wednesday. (Tsering Topgyal/Associated Press)

IN THE WEEDS: Chicago Cubs center fielder Tony Campana leapt into the ivy at Wrigley Field in Chicago Tuesday in pursuit of St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday’s two-run home run in the eighth inning. The Cubs won, 3-2. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT/Zuma Press)

FALLEN: A child wrapped in an Australian flag walked past graves at the Australian War Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux, France, Wednesday, during memorial services marking the role of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at the Battle of Gallipoli in World War I. (Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)

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The coal miners are gone now from Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, deep in the Arctic. But early in the 20th century, the British, Russians, Swedish and Dutch all established outposts along its salmon-filled fiords. Pyramiden—named for the massive peak looming above it—was one such Soviet-era settlement. Though it is now a ghost town, with predatory gulls sweeping its ice-blue skies, evidence of its former purpose is everywhere in ‘Trespassing’ (Moderne Kunst Nürnberg, 117 pages, $40), a study of desolate landscapes that bear the marks of human industry. German photographer Nathalie Grenzhaeuser carefully frames the ground and sky and mechanical constructions, fragmenting space. Orderly rows of metal coils jut from an empty reservoir in front of serrated hills; a wooden armature of uncertain purpose is bleached as pale as the snow that nearly obscures it. Mining operations in the harsh terrain of the Arctic and in the arid west of Australia may once have looked like foreign presences but now have the patina of the indigenous—as well as an aspect of mystery. In one image, a seemingly endless shed of corrugated metal follows a steep slope like a ski jump. Another photo (above) shows the structure’s interior, revealing the rails that carried men in and coal out of the mine itself. We are looking down at almost a 45-degree angle, though it is hard to tell without a figure in the frame. All these scenes are similarly made unsettling by the absence of the humans whose efforts shaped them.

- The Books Editors

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MOVING ON: A woman carried her baby and possessions through debris after a fire razed several shacks in Durban, South Africa, Monday. More than 100 people were left homeless in the Jadhu Place informal settlement. (Rogan Ward/Reuters)

FITTING: A shopkeeper adjusted traditional headgear of a bridegroom on the eve of the Akshaya Tritiya festival in Bhopal, India, Monday. More than 50,000 marriages will occur during the festival. (Sanjeev Gupta/European Pressphoto Agency)

CHECKMATE: Taxi drivers played chess as their cars lined a street during a strike Monday over tariffs for journeys to and from a new Berlin airport. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

IN GERMANY: A vendor looked on as Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the industrial Hanover Fair in Hanover, Germany, Monday. China is the fair’s official partner country this year; about 500 of the 5,000 exhibitors coming from there. (John MacDougall/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SURROUNDED: Police kicked and beat a suspected informal settler accused of resisting a demolition operation in Parañaque, Philippines, Monday. At least 20 people were arrested, local media reported. (Rolex Dela Pena/European Pressphoto Agency)

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