Erotica, Rome and Radioactivity: Photo Books to Buy This Month

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FURS by Jurgen Maelfeyt Art Paper Editions
From FURS by Jurgen MaelfeytCourtesy of Jurgen Maelfeyt

January brings a host of new titles to adorn your coffee table. Here, six of the best – including works by Nan Goldin, Jurgen Maelfeyt and Joel Sternfeld

FURS by Jurgen Maelfeyt, published by Art Paper Editions 

As with his previous book Lips – a close-up study of various women’s red-lipsticked mouths – Jurgen Maelfeyt deals in found imagery for his recent publication, FURS. For this book, which is published by Maelfeyt’s own Ghent-based imprint Art Paper Editions, he compiles vintage erotica, cropping in to create new images then printed on glossy pages. Zooming in places focus on the textures in each scene – notably the brassy furs of the book’s title.  

The Other Side by Nan Goldin, published by Steidl

Steidl has published an “expanded and updated” edition of Nan Goldin’s seminal 1993 photo book The Other Side, with the original photographs now appearing alongside newer portraits taken by Goldin in recent years. The Other Side chronicles Goldin’s years of living with a group of drag queens in Boston in the 70s and New York in the 80s, as well as her 90s exploration of drag scenes across the globe. This new edition features portraits taken in the years since 1993 and a new introduction from Goldin, who in recent years has also become an activist: in the wake of her own struggles with opioid addiction, the photographer set up PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), a direct-action group which raises awareness surrounding the Sackler family’s involvement in America’s opioid crisis. 

Restricted Residence by Giles Price, published by Loose Joints

For his unique new photo book, Restricted ResidenceGiles Price employs the use of thermal technology to highlight the effects of radiation in the towns of Namie and Iitate, Japan, in the years since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011. Price focuses on these two towns because hundreds of people (where populations used to number in the tens of thousands) have returned to live there and rebuild communities. In searing colour, Price’s photographs reveal sparse landscapes and residents going about their daily lives despite the health risks of high levels of radioactivity, having been urged (and incentivised) to reinhabit the areas by the Japanese government.  

Preparation S20 for 1017-ALYX-9SM, published by InOtherWords

With photography by Esther Theaker, Preparation S20 for 1017-ALYX-9SM, a new book from InOtherWords, documents the run-up to Alyx’s Spring/Summer 2020 show, held in Paris in June of last year. Theaker captures both models preparing to walk the runway – the show was staged in a modern Parisian bank – and the building’s exteriors, and, across the pond, the musician 1010 Benja SL in Kansas City while he crafted the show music. The beautiful book is an insight into the intricacies of presenting a collection at fashion week: from the atmosphere backstage and details on the finished garments to the process of dreaming up the soundtrack. 

Rome After Rome by Joel Sternfeld, published by Steidl

American photographer Joel Sternfeld – who made his name documenting the people and landscapes of his home country – revisits a project originally published in 1992 with his new book Rome After Rome. Campagna Romana: The Countryside of Ancient Rome, the 1992 publication, saw Sternfeld capture Roman ruins, and in Rome After Rome, the photographer presents previously unseen images from this series alongside portraits of those who live in the extraordinary countryside surrounding the Italian city. In his landscapes, Sternfeld juxtaposes ancient ruins with scenes of modern decay, while Rome After Rome’s portraits are glimpses of residents’ quotidian lives. 

La Bête A Modern Tale by Yasmina Benabderrahmane, published by MACK

Released to coincide with a Paris exhibition of the same name, Yasmina Benabderrahmane’s book La Bête A Modern Tale is a study of her home country, Morocco, captured on Super-8 film (the book features stills from films that are exhibited in Paris). Benabderrahmane documents how tradition and modernity collide and contrast in Moroccan landscapes, and the resulting images are visceral: honing in on hands, feet, eyes and silhouettes as they sift through sand or hold beads, while other hazy shots depict the build up of modern urban landscapes. While Benabderrahmane traces her own family history in the country by documenting time spent with her grandmother in the Atlas mountains, she simultaneously explores the emergence of new architecture in Marrakesh’s Bouregreg Valley, where a building designed by the late Zaha Hadid is being constructed.