From a study of English roses to Welsh children wearing fashion in the valleys, here are some of the best photography books to get your hands on this month
This month’s selection of incredible photography books spans flora, fashion, and a ‘future fantasy’ – here are the publications we’re excited to buy now.
Ffasiwn Magazine by Clémentine Schneidermann and Charlotte James, published by the Martin Parr Foundation and Bleak & Fabulous
It’s Called Ffasiwn, a series by Clémentine Schneidermann and Charlotte James that merges fashion, documentary and portrait photography in its documentation of children in South Wales valleys, is now published as a zine entitled Ffasiwn Magazine, which has been designed by Claire Huss. Schneidermann and James collaborated with the Welsh children on workshops on fashion and styling. “I hope the kids have been encouraged to look to the creative arts and have generally just enjoyed being a part of the project. Without them, the project wouldn’t exist,” James told us, and the striking photographs were recently exhibited at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol.
Matthew Finn’s captivating series, School of Art, compiles beautiful portraits of art school kids in 1990s London. 1997, the year that Finn – himself just 24 years old – took photographs of 17- and 18-year-old students at a Watford art college, was an exciting time for British art, and his black and white photographs capture a confidence and optimism that might feel alien to students in 2019. “We had this new government, but more importantly we had the Charles Saatchi effect. He was championing the YBAs, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Damian Hirst, people not significantly older than us who we knew were living and working not far away,” says Finn. “All of a sudden we had artists of our own generation to look up to – it almost felt like they belonged to us.”
An English summer also sees the arrival of English roses. With 65 varieties of rose each shot against a brighter-than-sky blue backdrop, photographer Luke Stephenson’s new publication is a study of the nation’s favourite flower. Stephenson worked with David Austin Roses on the project, and The English Rose captures the rich and vivid variety of colour and form across the flower. Look out for their fascinating names too: from The Lady of Shallott and Roald Dahl to The Albrighton Rambler and Gertrude Jekyll. Plus, find prints of the beautiful series available to buy via The Photographers’ Gallery now.
Tom Bianchi’s Polaroids, taken in late 1970s and early 80s New York, offer an intimate glimpse into the city’s burgeoning LGBT scene at the time. Bianchi moved to New York in 1975 and documented his life, friends and lovers with a Polaroid camera, the results of which are now published in a book titled 63 E 9th Street. NYC Polaroids 1975–1983. “We were kids from the American heartland, which was an insanely dysfunctional place to be. New York, [and places] like Fire Island, were our world. Not only were we meeting people who were physically attractive, but we also discovered gyms and were taking care of ourselves physically,” Bianchi told Another Man earlier this month. “I think a lot of gay people, like myself, saw ourselves as the kid who got picked last for the sports team during gym and not as good as other boys. Suddenly, we flipped that and became our own fantasies for one another.”
A second edition of Vinca Petersen’s 1990s diaries is published this month. “With Future Fantasy, I wanted to take away the feeling of [rave] being extraordinary, to make it feel slightly ordinary so that anyone could relate to it, that they could even be their photos from their era, or photos they’re taking now,” Petersen recently told Another Man. Future Fantasy, which was originally released in 2017 and is the result of a collaboration with Ben Ditto, features flyers, letters, and photographs (by the likes of Corinne Day) that encapsulate Peterson’s life of raving, modelling and living between homes and squats in London.
Miguel Rio Branco’s nomadic upbringing as the son of diplomats feeds into Maldicidade, a study of cities the world over and their lively, gritty realities. In searing colour, Rio Branco’s photographs look to the undocumented side of urban living, which the imagemaker has made a habit of documenting for over 40 years. Taschen’s release of Maldicidade coincides with an exhibition of the photographs at Galeria Luisa Strina in São Paulo.
“When you live in a city centre you have these brief encounters hundreds of times a week, but they can be loaded with quite powerful feelings of desire, disgust, or just total indifference. So the street can be a very stimulating place to be,” Eamonn Doyle told AnOther on the occasion of his installation, Made in Dublin, at Photo London last month. A photo book of the same name is out now, and brings together the Irish photographer’s archive work and some new and unpublished images. Made in Dublin is a collaboration between Doyle and his longtime friends: a series of texts by Kevin Barry features and the book was designed by Niall Sweeney.
When a landslide in 2017 caused road access to Big Sur, the rugged California coastline, to be cut off, photographer Kirk Crippens took a trip to the scenic area to capture its lands and people. Now released in a publication by Schilt, Crippens’ photographs highlight the region’s awe-inspiring landscapes alongside quieter moments shot inside Big Sur residents’ homes. The mountainous coastline at the time was isolated and unusually quiet – its four million annual tourists could not get to the area – and Crippens spent two years shooting this period of transition, as work was done to rebuild Highway 1.