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Lots of lists of photobooks cropping up for different reasons.


To close out the remarkable efforts of Jonathan Worth’s experimental open-sourced, web-based, free Photography and Narrative (#PHONAR) course offered through Coventry University, the #PHONAR course closed with a bevvy of recommended readings.

The following photographers, writers, teachers and journalists made picks:

Alec Soth; Andy Adams; Cory Doctorow; Daniel Meadows; David Campbell; Edmund Clark; Fred Ritchin; Geoff Dyer; Gilles Peress; Grant Scott; Harry Hardie; Jeff Brouws; Joel Meyerowitz; John Edwin Mason; Jonathan Shaw; Jonathan Worth; Ken Schles; Larissa Leclair; Ludwig Haskins; Matt Johnston; Michael Hallett; Miki Johnson; Mikko Takkunen; Nathalie Belayche; Peter Dench; Pete Brook; Sean O’Hagan; Simon Roberts; Stephen Mayes; Steve Pyke; Todd Hido

As a contributor, I picked out three titles. Predictably, each dealt with photography in sites of incarceration:

Zona – Carl de Keyzer

Too Much Time – Jane Evelyn Atwood

Intimate Enemy – Robert Lyons

Chris Verene‘s Family was a later addition.

It was a privilege to be asked to guest lecture on this pioneering educational model. Thanks to Jonathan, Matt Johnston @mjohnstonmedia (Chief Engineer) and students for their encouragement and engagement.


The #PHONAR list was spurred by Wayne Ford’s Photobooks and Narrative list.


Following the #PHONAR list, contributor John Edwin Mason extended his selections. Mason’s Photobooks and Narrative: My (Slightly Flawed) Phonar List has an African and African American emphasis.


Tonight, Soth put forward his Top 10+ Photobooks of 2010. As ever, Soth is thorough, thoughtful and generous in response.


Jeff at 5B4 has picked out his 15 choices for Best Books of 2010. The comments section is lively and I don’t think being to conceptual (as Jeff is accused of) is a problem, even if it were a fair allegation.


Sean at the Guardian has selected 2010’s best photography books that you should put in someones stocking.


Niall has put together his Photobooks and Magazines of the Year.

© Kenneth Libbrecht.

As heavy as the snow is falling here in Seattle, I dump these stories that I’ve noticed recently. All worth reading/seeing.

1) – The 2010 Lennart Nilsson Award (Recognizing Extraordinary Image Makers in Science) has gone to CalTach Physicist Kenneth Libbrecht. (Found via Jim)

2) – Rob Hornstra visited Abkhazia’s only prison.

3) – Moscow’s Butyrka remand prison is to install sunbeds for inmates.

4) – MIT has developed a camera that uses echos of light to see around corners. No doubt an attractive tool for SWAT teams, riot police and extraction teams in hostage situations and maybe prisons. I say this having written about ‘Through the Wall Surveillance’ before.

5) – French photographer, Olivier Laban-Mattei won the 2010 Grand Prix Paris Match for his coverage of Haiti. He was one of the many photographers who documented the death of Fabienne Cherisma. (Found via The Travel Photographer)

Edelgard Clavey, 67. First portrait: December 5 2003 / Second portrait: January 4 2004. © Walter Schels

6) – Walter Schels‘ photo project “Life Before Death”, includes 24 sets of before-and-after portraits ranging from a 17-month-old baby to a man of 83. Now on show at the Wellcome Collection, London. (More in this interview at LensCulture)

7) – More excellent opinion from John Edwin Mason, this time about the differences between the photo-op at Kenny Kunene’s lavish 40th birthday party and the responsible photography of Oupa Nkosi documenting the wealth and work of Black South Africans.

“No surprise, then, that Kunene has become the poster boy for shamelessly conspicuous consumption in county where, as the Guardian points out, 1.6% of the… population earns a quarter of all personal income.  Only 41% have a job and just 58% have attended secondary school; 9% don’t have access to water, 23% don’t have toilets and 24% don’t have electricity.  Average life expectancy is 52, the lowest since 1970. Zwelinzima Vavi, the South Africa’s most important labor leader, pointed to Kunene’s party when warning of elites who “scavenge on the carcass of our people” like hyenas.”

8 ) – Simon Sticker‘s 100 + 1 tips for the iconic Africa picture is the latest rant about stereotypes in conversation/photography on Africa.

National Photographers Association of Canada (NPAC) blog

9) – During the summer, I recommended the NPAC blog. Often working photographers will take over the posts for five posts in a week. Between the 8th and 12th November, Jen Osborne took the helm.

© Jen Osborne. Bounce is a very popular music movement originating in New Orleans, USA.  It came from the streets and is a mix between Rap, Jazz, and Electronic music.  It is popular amongst young adults due to its hard, fast and sexual nature, which inspires eccentric fashion trends.  It also appeals to the gay community because Bounce music now contains various gay entertainers.

Jen’s five days of blogging:

Day 1 – The Importance of Learning – Working on the fly with ‘Bounce’ dancers in New Orleans.
Day 2 – Bad associations can sabotage good work! – On access to Talavera Bruce prison, Rio de Janiero. Sketchy fixers, smuggled prison cellphones and released female prisoners.
Day 3 – Thinking Locally – Drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness in her home city Vancouver.
Day 4 – Vicarious Trauma – Vicarious trauma, a newly defined term applies to “wide range of people working with clients or subjects suffering from traumatic experiences; doctors, journalists, social workers, lawyers …”
Day 5 – Doing It Because You Want To – “It is important to have your own projects to work on – projects that make you as the photographer gratified. I think it is important to do meaningful work because it will always be there for you, even when the jobs aren’t.”

Great stuff.

10) – Ed Ou, reflecting on the Joop Swart Masterclass makes all young photojournalists smile with his stirring optimism:

“It is exciting to spend time with photographers from around the world and never mention the “death” of our industry. While there may be smaller budgets and fewer outlets, there will always be room for good photography. The only way to brave the bad times is to just keep shooting.”

© Ed Ou. Nurse Larissa Soboleva holds two-year-old Adil Zhilyaer in an orphanage in Serney, Kazakhstan. Adil was born blind and afflicted Infantile Cerebral Paralysis (ICP) and hydrocephalia as a result of his mother’s exposure to radiation during years of Soviet weapons testing during the Cold War. He was abandoned by his parents and is now cared for in an orphanage.




There have been two prevailing attitudes toward the proposed conference/symposium dealing with issues of race and diversity in photography:

a) That it is absolutely necessary & b) It is a terrifying prospect.

The first point speaks for itself, and the second point becomes clear when one considers the kerfuffles, misunderstanding and (dare I say it) vitriol that has accompanied much online discussion.

I have been in contact with some, but by no means all, people who could contribute to an extended dialogue. These include Amy Stein, Ben Chesterton, Colin Pantall, Daniel Cuthbert, Daryl Lang, Jean-Sebastien Boncy, Joerg Colberg, John Edwin Mason, Mark Page, Matt Lutton, Michael Shaw, M. Scott Brauer, Nathalie Belayche, Qiana Mestrich and Stan Banos. They have been very generous in response.

Originally, I suggested mixing things up by means of an in-person meet. This was intended to directly address the inadequacies of online discussion. However, when Qiana Mestrich of Dodge & Burn alerted us to SPE‘s conference in March, 2010: “Facing Diversity: Leveling the Playing Field in the Photographic Arts” it was clear that we may just end up replicating (on a smaller scale) SPE’s efforts.

The early feeling was that to piggyback on the back of an existing photography festival could leverage most involvement and impact. Boncy has had good feedback from Houston Fotofest and Lang believes that PDN would want to collaborate and lend a hand for an event at New York Photo Festival. These are very, very encouraging early signs.

In terms of organisation, these prospects are a far cry from the normal activities bloggers. Bearing in mind that this idea was conceived to challenge the tried and tired modes of photography blog discourse, it is difficult to conceive of good reasons to forsake our collective blogging strengths (wide-reaching audiences, maximum engagement, a breadth of coverage and investigation and first rate methods).

We haven’t abandoned a desire for a face-to-face meet and indeed we’ll continue to lobby established photography festivals and industry expos for the inclusion of extended discussions about race and diversity.

But, we are aware of our strengths. Simply put; a focused and concerted online effort will impact and forward dialogue more than a bunch of bloggers gathering in a single room could.

Early plans

This will be an Online Symposium. I would like see a concerted effort among photobloggers: I offer an open invitation to all those who wish to get involved.

The online symposium will look something like this:

– Occurring mid/late spring 2010
– A one week long, coordinated series of photo-features, interviews, op-eds, inquiries and articles.
– All written works will aim to compliment and build upon one another, not repeat or needlessly criticise.
– All written works will be subject to peer-review (a grand term for “read by another blogger”) prior to publication.
– It will incorporate the widest mix of experiences in the industry as possible. Discussion may vary from academic speculations on representations to the everyday experience of the working photographer.


– To communicate the wide experiences, attitudes, facts and myths in photography as they relate to race and diversity.
– To achieve respect and understanding among photographers, contributors and readers.
– To test the reach and strength of blog-networks as they relate to photography.
– To be progressive instead of reactive in our tone and objectives.
– To leave a legacy and record of this community action that will be of use and reference for continued learning.

What Should You D0?

– Please think seriously about your experience and knowledge and if you’d like to share that as part of this community project.
– Spread the word. If you don’t wish to get involved, perhaps you know someone who would have a valuable contribution?
– Share your ideas, initially through comments below, or directly with me [prisonphotography at gmail point com] and later on a devoted website.

Thanks! Please don’t hesitate to be in touch/throw ideas about. The projects’ outcomes depend on the quality and commitment of your input.




prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

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