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For the past five years, Kassel Germany has been home to the most important annual forum on the world of photography books, the International Fotobook Festival. This year, with the Documenta exhibition taking over the city of Kassel, the Le Bal photography museum in Paris hosted the Fifth International Fotobook Festival from April 20 – 22.

The festival is a weekend full of artist lectures, book exhibitions, booksellers and publishers showcasing their most recent offerings, portfolio reviews and awards for the “best” photobooks from the previous year. For photographers hoping to find interest in their yet-to-be-discovered book projects, the main attraction of the Kassel Festival is its “photobook dummy” competition for the best unpublished photobook mock-up. The first place winner receives a publishing contract with the German publisher Seltmann und Sohne. The second and third place winners receive several hundred euros worth of credit from the print-on-demand service Blurb.

This year, the dummy competition was between fifty-eight books culled from over five hundred entries, ranging from very roughly hand-made objects to the most finely polished in editing sequencing, design and printing. All books selected are tethered to tables and prominently displayed, encouraging visitors to leaf through them and discover new talents. On Saturday, a small panel of experts in the field convened in the closed galleries to passionately argue their opinion and decide on the three winners. This year’s panel included; Gerry Badger (Critic, Photographer, London), Todd Hido (Photographer, USA), Dieter Neubert (International Photobook Festival, Kassel), Laurence Vecten (Lozen Up, Paris), Oliver Seltmann (Publisher, Berlin), Diane Dufour (Director Le Bal, Paris), Andreas Müller-Pohle, European Photography, Berlin), Markus Schaden (Bookseller, Publisher, Cologne) and Sebastian Hau (Le Bal Books, Paris).

And the envelopes please…

Courtesy of Andrea Botto

From Andrea Botto's book, 19.06_26.08.1945

Third place went to Andrea Botto and his book 19.06_26.08.1945. Created in the memory of his grandfather Primo Benedetti, the book traces his journey through Northern Germany to his home in Tuscany after being released from a Nazi prisoner of war camp on June 19, 1945. Botto’s approach was to compile images from the internet by searching dates in tandem with the names of cities through which her grandfather passed. Pages of historical images are combined with 1:1 scale personal documents and letters sent to his family during his imprisonment. The resulting book feels as if the reader has discovered an encyclopedia of war filled with tender personal documents slipped between its pages.

Courtesy of Carmen Catuti

From Carmen Catuti's book MICHELLE (Best Wishes from 18,500m High. MICHELLE).

The second place winner is much harder to pin down in a few words. Liebe Grüße aus 18500m Höhe, MICHELLE (Best Wishes from 18,500m High. Michelle) from the Italian photographer Carmen Catuti is about a man who calls himself Michelle and says he’s a professional model. Catuti photographed her subject as he wished to be photographed according to his own conceptions “as a modern man” posing among arrangements of trees and shrubbery, cleanly drawn from darkness by flash. Mixed in are very brief texts, possibly letters from Michelle challenging the collaboration; “Plain backgrounds are often too boring. A picture must immediately be elegant, exciting and original.” This book is a U.F.O. (Unique Foto Object?) and the world of photobooks needs more sightings like this.

The top honors for the 2012 Photobook Dummy Award went to a remarkable body of work from Dagmar Keller and Martin Wittwer and their collaborative book Passengers. During a residency in Poland in the winter of 2011-2012, Keller and Wittwer were initially looking to start a project photographing Socialist architecture but discovered instead a tangential subject: a bus station in Kielce and its passengers awaiting departure within dozens of regional buses. Framing their subjects from outside, looking in through the frost and mist of the bus windows, the couple photographed individually but combined the results into a sequence of images that seem to have a completely unified voice. Calling upon the long traditions of portraiture and documentary style work, the images are stunningly intimate and beautiful but without the trap of sentimentality.

Congratulations to the winners! I find it refreshing that a majority of the winners from the past two years have been women. The history of the photobook, as written, is remarkably male-heavy. These contest results point toward a new horizon that may very well restore some balance.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions. Visit his photo book blog 5B4 here.

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The Spectre of Theater

By Tricia Lawless Murray

Masochism is itself an aesthetic formation. The only place where its contradictions and impossibilities can be reconciled is that specific zone that modern aesthetic philosophy, from Kant to Lyotard, has identified as the sublime, that unique and illogical experience that carries with it both pleasure and pain.
—Nick Mansfield

Victor Cobo

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Prostitute at angle of Rue de la Reynie and Rue Quincampoix, 1933

Brassai with Tony Ray-Jones, Creative Camera, April, 1970

Tony Ray-Jones: How did you start your life?

Brassai: I was born in Transylvania in 1899. My father was a teacher of French literature. He lived in Paris and loved it and studied at the Sorbonne. When I was five my father brought me and my family to Paris for a year. I

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Features and Essays 

London’s been burning…

The Atlantic : In Focus: Riots in London (The Atlantic: August 9, 2011)

Monday’s NYT slideshow on the London riots opened with a strong frame by Getty’s Dan Kitwood about a community looking at the ruins…summed up a lot…saw the photo also used on the front page of The Independent…

NYT: Rioting in Tottenham (NYT: August 2011)

Boston Globe : The Big Picture: London Riots (Big Picture: August 9 2011)

Some of the back story to London riots by Mishka Henner and Liz Lock?

Mishka Henner and Liz Lock: All That Life Can Afford (Panos: August 2011) Hackney: London

Brilliant series by Simon Roberts about Brighton sea front in Saturday’s Telegraph Magazine…

Simon Roberts: Along the Prom (Saturday Telegraph Magazine: August 2011)

Getty’s Mario Tama has done a panoramic series by the World Trade Center site…Shot with some lomo I’d imagine…

Mario Tama: 9/11 (MSNBC: August 2011)

Related..

Peter van Agtmael: Thoughts on 9/11 (Chronicle: August 2011)

Robert Nickelsberg: The Al Noor School (Reportage by Getty Images: August 2011)

Alex Majoli: African Refugee Crisis (Magnum: August 2011)

The Independent had some of Ed Ou’s Somalia photos…the ones I linked to last week…Includes interview…

Ed Ou: Surviving Somalia (Independent: August 2011)

Sanjit Das: Drought in the Horn of Africa (Photographer’s archive: August 2011)

Brian Ulrich: Copia—Retail, Thrift and Dark Stores (PDN Photo A Day: August 2011)

Lorenzo Meloni: A Dark Descent: The Streets of Yemen (TIME LB: August 2011)

Tessa Bunney: Pooled Resources (FT Mag: August 2011)

Ross Taylor: A Chance in Hell (HamptonRoads.com: 2011)

Gabrielle Micalizzi: Mean Street of Athens (NYT Mag: August 2011)

Barton Silverman: On Long Island, Disappearing Lobsters (NYT Lens: August 2011)

James Mollison: Where the Children Sleep (NYT Lens: August 2011)

Zackary Canepari: Aquadettes (Panos: August 2011)

Some of Don McCullin’s lost negatives of the construction of the Berlin Wall were in last Friday’s TIME magazine and you can see them also on Lightbox….

Don McCullin: The Berlin Wall : The Lost Negatives (TIME LB: August 2011)

Dustin Aksland: Sound of the Soil (TIME LB: August 2011)

Laura Levene: New York Rocker (New Yorker: August 2011)

Ben Lowy: iLibya (Reportage by Getty: August 2011)

Ben Brady: Losing Life and Limb in Afghanistan (GlobalPost: 2011)

Thomas Dworzak: Caucasus (Magnum in Motion: August 2011)

Mishka Henner: Dutch Landscapes (Panos: August 2011)

I really like the NYT Mag’s What They Were Thinking feature…

Kalpesh Latigra: The End of the Wedding, London (NYT Mag: August 2011)

Michael Kirby Smith: Plexiglas New York (NYT Lens: August 2011)

Richard Sandler: 80s: When Greed Was Good (TIME LB: August 2011)

Patrick Zachmann: Summer in Lampedusa (Magnum: August 2011)

Interviews and Talks

 Amy Weston : London riots: photographer speaks of mayhem after taking dramatic shot (Guardian: August 20110 Amy Weston captured image of woman leaping from a burning building in Croydon used on five national front pages

Tyler Hicks : Stark images of misery in Somalia spark action (CBS: August 2011)

Pellgerin profile on CPN…

Paolo Pellegrin : Canon Ambassador profile (CPN: 2011)

Canon Ambassadors: Advice to Young Photographers :  Michael Nichols,Gary Knight,Ziv Koren,Frits van Eldik,Paolo Pellegrin (CPN: 2011)

Maggie Steber : Joop Swart Masterclass address (TP: 2011)

Joao Silva : The Unstoppable Man (WNYC: August 2011)

John Moore  on his famous Arlington Cemetary photograph (APS: 2011)

Kathy Ryan : Very Familiar Faces, Far Out of Context (NYT Lens: August 2011)

Spencer Platt (MSNBC: August 2011)

Arnold Newman (Strobist)

Henri Cartier-Bresson died seven years ago… Charlie Rose interview via @JamesPomerantz

Henri Cartier-Bresson (Charlier Rose)

Steven Shames : A Lens On Life For Boys In The Bronx (NPR: August 2011)

Jim Goldberg & Todd Hido on Larry Sultan (PDN: August 2011)

Stanley Greene on Robert Capa (Dailymotion: 2011)

Antoine D’Agata (Gommamag: 2011)

Articles 

Lot of talk about a Tyler Hicks photo from Somalia last week…

On Aug. 2, when most U.S. papers ran a front page photograph of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ return to the House, The New York Times went with Hicks’ photo from Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia. – NPR

NPR: Photo Brings Somalia’s Famine To The Front Page (NPR: August 2011)

Huffington Post: New York Times Runs Graphic Photo Of Starving Somali Child (HP: August 2011)

Salon: Can a photograph still change the world? (Salon: August 2011) NYT editor explains why the paper ran an unforgettable photo. But will it effect change?

Related on LA Times’ Framework blog about a Barbara Davidson frame..

LA Times Framework: Back story on a ‘haunting’ image of famine in Africa (LA Times FW: August 2011)

Time Lightbox: Desperate Leap of Faith in London: The Riot Photo That Has the World Buzzing (TIME LB: August 2011)

Guardian: London riots: photographers targeted by looters (Guardian: August 2011) Serious muggings and beatings suffered by photojournalists covering the civil disorder

BJP: London memorial planned for Anton Hammerl (BJP: July 2011)

Thames and Hudson blog: Magnum Contact Sheets: Commissioning #1 (TH blog: August 2011)

Guardian: Sean Smith’s Frontlines war photographs (Guardian: August 2011)

Guardian: Featured Photojournalist: Adrees Latif (Guardian: August 2011) Related

Guardian: Cindy Sherman models for MAC, the makeup company of outsiders (Guardian: August 2011)

Bagnewsnotes: Picture from Iowa (BNN: August 2011)

CPN: Mike Nichols launches iPad App (CPN: August 2011)

On Newsweek’s slightly unflattering/’controversial’ cover portrayal of Michele Bachmann….Storm in a tea(party)cup, I say….

Huffington Post: Newsweek’s Michele Bachmann Cover Raises Eyebrows (HP: August 2011)

The Atlantic Wire: Bachmann Was Not Blinded by a Lighting Test (theatlantiwire.com: August 2011)

NYT: The Trivialities and Transcendence of Kickstarter (NYT: August 2011)

NYT Lens: Tender Moments in the Maelstrom of War (NYT Lens: August 2011)

FStoppers: Annie Leibovitz’s Lighting, from the eyes of a Photo Assistant (FStoppers: 2011)

Verve: Gilles Sabrie (Verve: August 2011)

Verve: Lurdes R. Basolí (Verve: August 2011)

TIME LB: Rothstein’s First Assignment (TIME LB: August 2011)

Foto8: Book review: Leonie Hampton: In The Shadow of Things (Foto8: August 2011)

NYT: The All-Seeing Eye (NYT: August 2011)

BJP: Vimeo is now offering a professional video hosting plan for photographers and videographers (BJP: August 2011)

Videos

Nike Women “Make Yourself” Photo Shoot

Photographers

Gael Turine

David Brunetti

Quinn Palmer

Awards, Grants, and Competitions


Canon AFJ Award winner

CPN Editor’s Choice 3 Launches

Magnum Expression Award

The Frontline Club Award and the Frontline Memorial Tribute Award for excellence in journalism 

Vattenfall Fotopreis

Eyewitness Photography Competition

NPPA short grant applications

Jobs

Tip: follow @Fiona_Rogers if you aren’t already… She’s always posting jobs…

V&A Exhibitions Coordinator

Magnum Photos New York are looking for a Print Sales Manager

Photography job in Nepal  via @anastasiatl

Whitechapel Gallery job vacancies

Wycombe College are recruiting Photography Course Leader

AP interactive producer in New York

Rights and Clearance Project Manager Getty Images – London, United Kingdom 

To finish off…

If you can’t make photography pay, fancy trying cleaning sewages? NYC sewage treatment workers’ minimum salary: $34.97/hour…the application form… by @dbrabyn

Also….did you you know – “That’s a WRAP” at the end of film shoot actually means Wind Reel And Print. An analogue terminology still used in digital era… via @ZarinaHolmes

You saw Move already, right? Gulp. is pretty cool too…

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From Kids, Larry Clark

The Matter with Kids Today: Kids and Raised by Wolves

By Eric Margolis, Humanity & Society, Volume 20, Number 2, May 1996

You have seen their faces. In the core of every American city young kids wander the streets getting stoned, spare changing, fighting, scratching, and hanging out. They wear tribal badges: tattoos, camo clothes and skin heads,skateboards and phat pants

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Untitled (man with arms around two women), 1950-60'sLee Balterman's ChicagoBy Paul Berlanga, Director, Stephen Daiter GalleryLee Balterman has romanced the city of Chicago with his camera for six decades and shows no sign of falling out of love. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned to Lee that my partner and I had managed to grab a last lunch at the legendary Berghoff restaurant without standing

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Roppongi Hills 2, 2005Adrift in the city of superflatBy Marc Feustel, Originally published in FOAM Magazine, brought to ASX by FOAMDuring the extraordinarily turbulent and dynamic post-war period , Tokyo became a great photographic city: a city with a distinctive, immediately recognizable photographic aesthetic. Just as Paris’s visual identity became intrinsically linked to the humanist

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