NEW ARRIVALS +  07.13.13 Vol 9.80

After losing her mother, father and brother, photographer Susan Worsham returned to the place she grew up in rural Virginia, retracing the memories of her own childhood in a beautiful photographic project, Bittersweet/Bloodwork, rich with metaphor about the cycles of life and death. Worsham's most prominent subject is Margaret Daniel, the neighbor who last saw her brother alive. The portraits of Daniel are punctuated by sentimental details of her childhood home and images of veterinary slides that she happened upon shortly after her mother's death. Editor Shane Lavalette offers an engaging essay on the body of work and its metaphoric underpinnings. Contact Sheet 168 is signed by both the artist and her compelling subject, Margaret Daniel.

Brisees (French for "broken branches") is a curious photobook by Helen Sear. Sear sourced the images from a Google image search for the phrase "tree surgeon." Circular and ovular shapes have been digitally inserted into each pixelated image, interrupting our sense of time and place — two important qualities in understanding the photographic image. The book engages the philosophical underpinnings of photography and the act of seeing. Sear pays homage to the 1966 book by French Surrealist writer Michel Leiris whose book bears the same title.

Assembly by Osamu Yokonami is a playful exploration of a group of young girls moving in unison — jumping, running and twirling — in various natural landscapes. The photographer employs an enticing color palette reminiscent of Japanese watercolor paintings. Subtle idiosyncrasies become more noticeable as the subjects stand out from the gentle, muted background colors. Their faces are either abstracted by the camera’s position, or just too small to make out any detail. These are not photographs about any one of the girls — but about all of them, together, moving in these landscapes as a single body. Their matching clothing suggests the girls are dressed in uniform for grade school, aiming to homogenize them. The girls move in unison, creating a sculpture with their bodies, moving together to create a visual language of harmony.

Problems with Decomposition by Sam Falls explores the relationship between the ephemeral nature of organic matter and the lasting nature of synthetic material. In this book, Falls dips fruit into paint and stamps them on the photograph's surface and then repeats the process with man-made tires. He merges sculpture, photography and painting in a playful deliberation on material and experience and his work is encased by that which never decays: the photograph.

Contact Sheet Number 169 highlights the work of Chinese photographer Shen Wei, who has created a compelling body of work comprised exclusively of nude self-portraits. Wei's other work deals with capturing moments of vulnerability. Sexuality and the nude form are highly contentious subjects in his native country, but in this work, Wei asserts himself, his identity and sexuality, in raw and emotive portraits. He often photographs himself in undisturbed landscapes but is also found in interiors, urban and suburban environments. His work explores the intrinsic desire to find a place for oneself in the world, in relation to landscape, to ourselves, and to others.

In Hester, Asger Carlsen has done all he can to break from classical nude photography tropes, turning the photographic genre of nudes on its head — so to speak. Carlsen's black & white photographs of contorted and reconfigured bodies question the photographic medium as a vehicle for telling truth. From the seamless, digital grafting of skin, to the shadows cast from the camera's flash, the evidence of Photoshop is vague at best. What is so fascinating about these photographs is their ability to trick us into believing that the forms are in fact real, making them all the more grotesque and bizarre. Bodies with added limbs are missing heads and limbless torsos sit lifelessly like sculptures on credenzas and other household furniture. Carlsen's surreal forms beg to be understood and reconciled, but the mind is caught in an endless loop — perplexed yet unable to look away.

Tiane Doan na Champassak's Spleen and Ideal is a dark, haunting look at the relationship between the photographer, nude models, and the urban architecture that surrounds them. Champassak achieves a remarkable balance between distance and intimacy in these abstract portraits. The blurred portraits of the nude models echo the blurry lines of gender, identity and sexuality.

Almost is a beautifully produced monograph from Guy Archard exploring the overlap of beauty and decay, self and other, and dreams and reality. The absence of text allows the viewer to meander through the poetic photographs and create their own storyline from the decaying Polaroids and repetitious sequencing. Some of the photographs appear in the book several times, having changed ever so slightly. The contents of a window sill are photographed twice — first with a branch, then with a vase. Polaroids are reproduced without a latent image. Photographic chemistry is apparent in Almost, making a case for photography's ability to hold a memory long after it has passed. But even the photograph is subject to decay, implying the photographic process itself may be an exercise in futility. The book is printed on exquisite Japanese paper and bound in Japanese cloth with a tipped-in image on the cover.

Best wishes,
Erin Azouz
photo-eye Newsletter Editor

This Week's Auctions
This week's bounty of rarities includes a superb copy of Brassaï's timeless classic Paris de Nuit (SIGNED by writer Paul Morand), which many would agree is one of finest examples of gravure book printing ever produced. As if that weren't enough, we've got Cristina De Middel's The Afronauts, a low-fi masterpiece of surreal dreaminess that's been one of the most buzzed-about photobooks of the last several years. Viviane Sassen's Flamboya is likewise a book that explodes preconceptions about Africa; Sassen's influence on fashion and editorial photography is already enormous and is sure to grow (the copy on offer is SIGNED!).

Also on the block: Mary Ellen Mark's Ward 81 (INSCRIBED); two brilliant documentary works set in bars, Tom Wood's Chelsea Reach, Looking For Love (SIGNED) and Anders Petersen's Cafe Lehmitz; the seminal Soviet Cinema, a cornerstone of the Russian avant-garde & MORE! Check out Eric's presentation below, where he considers the work of Brassaï, De Middel and Sassen. Thanks as always for looking!

Don't Forget: All books shown in the Post-Auction Sale Inventory are available at the low opening bid prices shown!

Do you have books to sell? Why not get them in front of the most largest, most discerning audience of photobook enthusiasts on the planet? With more traffic than ever, it's a fantastic time to consign! For inquiries regarding the sale your fine photobooks and/or prints, contact Eric Miles, Director of Rare Books & Online Auctions.

Please note that adding a book to your shopping cart does not reserve a copy; orders must be finalized to appear in our system. However, due to the extremely limited number of some books, we cannot guarantee a copy for every finalized order. New Arrivals and Back-in-Stock items were in stock at the time that this newsletter was sent. Orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis until sold-out. We reserve the right to limit quantities.

If you would prefer not to receive our New Arrivals newsletter, please unsubscribe using the Newsletter Archive link at the bottom of this page.

Cristina De Middel: The Afronauts (SIGNED)
Viviane Sassen: Flamboya (SIGNED)
Brassaï: Paris de Nuit (SIGNED by Paul Morand)
Mary Ellen Mark: Ward 81 (INSCRIBED)
Tom Wood: Chelsea Reach, Looking For Love (SIGNED)
Emmet Gowin: Mariposas Nocturnas. Edith in Panama (SIGNED)
Lewis Baltz: San Quentin Point
[Various] Soviet Cinema
Anders Petersen: Cafe Lehmitz (1st edition!)
Ed Van Der Elsken: Foto-Jazz (First Edition)
Hiroshi Sugimoto (Dioramas, Theaters, Seascapes--1st Monograph! Rare 1988 Exhibition Catalogue)
Susan Worsham
Contact Sheet 168 - SIGNED by Susan Worsham and Margaret Daniel
Helen Sear
Osamu Yokonami
Assembly - SIGNED
Sam Falls
Problems With Decomposition - SIGNED
Shen Wei
Contact Sheet 169: Shen Wei - SIGNED
Asger Carlsen
Hester - SIGNED
Tiane Doan Na Champassak
Spleen and Ideal
Guy Archard
Almost - SIGNED

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