LBM Book by Trent Parke!

Posted in LBM Books, narrative photography by Alec Soth on June 21, 2010

In the spirit of the classic Little Golden Books for children, Little Brown Mushroom is releasing a series of photographic storybooks for grown-ups. Our first book, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, features photographs and story by Trent Parke and design by Hans Seeger.

I was recently at a party chatting with the writer Geoff Dyer. Out of the blue, Dyer said, “I think Trent Parke is a photographic genius.” I responded by saying that not only do I agree, I believe in him so much that I’m publishing his book. Shockingly, this is Parke’s first book in ten years.

Priced at only $18 and limited to a numbered edition of 1000, this one is going to go fast.

Buy the book here

Tobias Zielony: Story/No Story

Posted in narrative photography, Photobooks (general) by Alec Soth on June 5, 2010

A few weeks ago at the Fotobook Festival in Kassel, the folks at Schaden showed me their single copy of Story/No Story by Tobias Zielony. The book wasn’t for sale yet, but I knew I had to get my hands on it. Yesterday the book arrived and I was relieved to find it was as great as I’d remembered. The book is made up of thirteen chapters documenting young people in various locations around the globe. Usually photographed at night, the teens are invariably drawn to generic locales like car parks, gas stations and other public spaces. As the book’s title suggests, their is no story. But this, in fact, is the story of so many young people around the world. They gather at night and wait for something to happen. In an interview included in the book, Zielony quotes one girl he photographed who said, “We’re not bored. Boredom is just a word for what we do anyway.”

One might think that thirteen chapters of kids loitering might be, well, boring. But Zielony’s book is almost cinematic. Flipping through the pages, I feel like I’m floating around the world at night. “There’s a latent narrative,” Zielony says in the book’s interview, “It’s in the situations, in the youth’s imaginations. You can’t say that nothing is happening. My photo series disclose this potential narrative.

More info here and here

Donkey Work!

Posted in narrative photography by LBM on June 4, 2010

A nice piece on self-publishing in The Guardian here

Episode #2 of Continental Picture Show

Posted in narrative photography by Alec Soth on April 30, 2010

Go here.

Alec Soth: New York Times Blog

Posted in narrative photography by Alec Soth on April 1, 2010

My first post as a New York Times contributor is up. Have a look here. If you feel compelled, I’d be ever so grateful if you’d leave a comment on the Times site. Many thanks,

The Bunny Book Coincidence

Posted in narrative photography by Alec Soth on March 31, 2010

I’m currently in Brighton, England with my family (and thus the lack of posts lately). I was supposed to be here working on a commission for the Brighton Photo Biennial, but due to some visa problems, I’m not allowed to work. So the trip is pretty much an Easter vacation. But my kids and I have been collaborating on some book projects. On the very day that Carrie posted about rabbit books, my daughter and I were putting the finishing touches on our book, “The Brighton Bunny Boy.” For contractual reasons (with my daughter), I’m not allowed to show the whole thing, but here is a sneak peek:

Be sure to check out Carmen’s last book, The Mountain Trip.

Taka-Chan and I

Posted in narrative photography, Photobooks (general) by Alec Soth on March 8, 2010

In a recent post on photo-novellas, Marc Feustel of eyecurious mentioned two children books by Eikoh Hosoe and Betty Lifton. I just received Taka-Chan and I, (1967). I love the book and so do the offspring.

The ‘about the photographer’ page pretty much explains the book and the spirit in which it was made:

“One day Eikoh Hosoe, the photographer of this book, was walking on a lonely beach in Japan, now and then taking pictures of the ocean, the beach, and of a small girl sitting on some rocks. He was startled by a Weimaraner dog which appeared unexpectedly from right out of the ground. Mr. Hosoe couldn’t believe what he saw, but before Runcible’s departure from Japan they had a long talk. Runcible told Mr. Hosoe about his adventure. Runcible was very proud to know an outstanding free-lance photographer who had received so many awards for his pictures. Mr. Hosoe gave Runcible copies of his three photo-essay books, Killed By Roses, Ondine and Why, Mother, Why! The two have been firm friends ever after.

See scans of the whole book here.

24 pieces by Allen Ruppersberg

Posted in narrative photography, Photobooks (general) by Alec Soth on February 21, 2010

Since listing Allen Ruppersberg’s fantastic exhibition catalog in my list of Top 10 Photobooks of 2009, I’ve been doing more investigation on Ruppersberg. In the late 60’s and early 70’s he experimented with the way banal images, once combined, create narrative. Ruppersberg published three books juxtaposing pictures of motel rooms with other ordinary pictures sometimes containing narrative clues (ketchup drizzled on a table, a picture removed from a wall). These three books were called 23 Pieces (1968), 24 Pieces (1970) and 25 Pieces (1971).

I was able to track down a copy of 24 Pieces. See the whole thing here.

Note the colophon: “Design and Photography by Gary Krueger.”


Posted in narrative photography by Alec Soth on February 9, 2010

My recent post on Viaggio sul Reno, Settembre 1974, brought to mind David Hockney’s photographs from roughly the same period. I’m particularly fond of Hockney’s story that accompanies these two photographs:

“In the winter of 1968 Peter and I took the Orient Express to Munich, to see a show of mine. I remember one morning when we were both on the bottom bed, we opened the curtains, and it was snowing. It was fantastic to lie in the little couch with a nice warm body next to you, gazing out the window at the cute little Bavarian villages half hidden under the snow. It’s a wonderful way to travel. I never photographed it, but I remember it vividly.

Later, we went onto Vienna. We took the subway and Peter went in the next carriage; there he stood, looking back at me as I photographed him. At the next station he joined me and I again took a photograph, still looking at the same place, and he is gone. It was not planned, it just happened that way.

From David Hockney Photographs (Petersburg Press, London, 1982). This book is unusual in that it emphasizes his single images rather than the better known photo collages.

Italian treasure

Posted in narrative photography, Photobooks (general) by Alec Soth on February 7, 2010

I’m back from the Italian leg of the Little Brown Mushroom World Tour (next stop: Lincoln, Nebraska). I was hoping to track down some vintage fotoromanzi, but didn’t have enough time. Nonetheless, I still picked up a couple of treasures. I spent most of my time in Milan with the curator Francesco Zanot. Francesco is a raving book nut and, at only thirty years of age, one of the most knowledgeable and exciting photo curators I’ve met. Francesco gave me a copy of Vedove/Widows, a book he recently produced with Takashi Homma (more info here).

At a signing at the excellent Mi Camera Bookstore, I’m embarrassed to report that I bought more books than I signed. After some frantic browsing of the shelves, I discovered the flat files behind the front counter where they keep the little vintage books and ephemera. Treasure trove!

Followers of this blog know that I have a keen interest in narrative photo books. In the flat files I found a truly stellar example by Franco Vaccari. I’ve been curious about Vaccari since picking up a survey of his work, Exhibitions in Real Time, last year. Vaccari is a conceptual photographer that Francesco Zanot accurately described as ‘the Italian Baldessari.’ But what I love about the book I found in the flat file is that it isn’t a conceptual or performance exercise. This sweet, staple-bound booklet, Viaggio sul Reno, Settembre 1974, is nothing more than a travelog. But the text is funny, lyrical and works with the images extraordinarily well:

See the whole book here.