I'm pleased to welcome back PhotoBook Journal with selections from Gerhard Clausing, Douglas Stockdale and their team of Contributing Editors on books that explore the Water theme. It's a wonderful selection and gives you the opportunity to find additional interesting artists.
© Gabriella Angotti-Jones, 2022
I Just Wanna Surf by Gabriella Angotti-Jones
Publisher: MASS Books, Massachusetts
Review by Douglas Stockdale
This is not the usual photobook investigating the Southern California surf culture. As evident on the book’s interesting slipcover, a folded double-sided surf poster, that Gabriella Angotti-Jones subjects for I Just Wanna Surf are not the usual bunch of ‘tan’ blonde beach dudes. In fact they are not even dudes, but a small informal family of surfing women who come by their dark complexations very naturally. A very different surfing sub-culture, who are nevertheless fanatic surfers, and similar to other surfers I know here in Southern California, make surfing the priority and everything else seems to be scheduled around the ocean, sun and the surging pulse of the waves.
Angotti-Jones is not an outsider looking in for her surf-story, while she is a documentary photograph, she is also one who equally is at one with the ocean and waiting for her time on the line to catch a wave. The difference is that Angotti-Jones is also juggling a waterproof camera to further complicate her surfing adventures.
© Tanja Engelberts, 2023
Forgotten Seas by Tanja Engelberts
Publisher: The Eriskay Connection, Breda, Netherlands
Review by Matt Schneider
Forgotten Seas, by photographer, Tanja Engelberts, is a hefty photobook. By this, I mean that it is large, yes. The book is 216 pages and the 7 ¾ x 11 ¾ matte pages regularly feature multiple photos. But more importantly, the book presents a weighty argument about the permanent, if forgotten, alteration of our physical seascapes. Heavier still, Forgotten Seas calls attention to a tension that should be on all our minds – a tension between the promise of technological advancement and environmental/ecological consequence, including, but not limited to, climate change.
On my first pass through Forgotten Seas, I was drawn to the physical architecture so expertly captured. When viewing oil rigs of varying sizes, arrangements, and states of repair, I was struck by two feelings. The first — and perhaps from where the photobook draws its title — was a sense of foreignness ... Use this link to read the rest of the review, additional images and information
© C. Fodoreanu, 2022
Ode to the Lake Sacalaia, by C. Fodoreanu
Publisher: Cornel/Henry Art, San Diego, CA, USA
Review by Wayne Swanson
Think back to your childhood, and there likely is a special place in your memory. A place of play, of adventure, of wonder, of self-discovery, and perhaps even of danger. For photographic artist C Fodoreanu, Lake Sacalaia was such a place.
The deepest fresh-water lake in Transylvania, Lake Sacalaia is steeped in legend and folklore. It’s known as the Loch Ness of Transylvania, where underwater demons protect its secrets. Legend has it that the lake formed when a salt mine under a small Roman village caved in about 2000 years ago, leading to the flooding of the village. When the water is clear, it is said, you can still see the spires of the basilica, the highest point of the submerged village. Use this link to read the rest of the review, for additional images and information
© Gary Green, 2020
The River is Moving / The Blackbird Must be Flying by Gary Green
Publisher: L’ Artiere, Bologna, Italy
Review by Steve Harp
Gary Green’s monograph The River is Moving/The Blackbird Must be Flying (L’Artiere, 2020) is a beautiful and delicate object. Measuring 6 ½” by 9 ½”, enclosed between plain white softcovers, the book features a perfect binding with visible spine. In this exposed Smythe style of binding, the spine remains uncovered, leaving open the folded signatures, glue and thread. The front coverboard is blank. Wrapping around the book is a translucent vellum dust jacket with author, title and publisher printed on the front. The back of the dust jacket has no printing, allowing the viewer to see through the vellum, hazily, an image of a single pine tree printed on the rear book cover. Or, more accurately, it is a photograph of a reflection of a tree, an upside-down image hovering stilly on a surface of water.
© Sarah Kaufman, 2021
Devil's Pool by Sarah Kaufman
Publisher: Daylight Books, North Carolina, USA
Review by Brian O'Neill
The Devil’s Pool is a roughly 15-foot-deep by 25-foot-wide basin of water tucked within Wissahickon Valley Park located in Northwest Philadelphia, USA. But, if you Google “Devil’s Pool,” the aforementioned pool does not appear. Instead, you will find “Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls.” You will read that it is “a tourist attraction in Zambia.” It is open from 7:30am to 5pm. The first images of this place that appear are of some men in swimming trunks and women in bikinis. Some are looking over falls into the abyss and spray of the 345-foot drop. By contrast, “the falls” at Wissahickon are 15 feet high, at best. It has no “open” hours because it is illegal to swim there.
© Zindzi Zwietering, 2022
Bron by Zindzi Zwietering
Publisher: The Eriskay Connection, Netherlands
Review by Brian O'Neill
Day Zero was officially demarcated by the government as April 12, 2018, and around this time, Zwietering spent two months on-site, in Cape Town, South Africa to document what many thought would be profound consternation. However, quite sensibly, Bron is not a reportage adventure, and the book is all the better for it: in fact, analysis of the event gives credence to what Zwietering observed – that Day Zero was, in many ways, a momentous media event that had a tendency towards less engagement with material conditions of water scarcity and drought than in news-making in and of itself. Smartly, it is from this critical standpoint that Bron begins, with subtle design features to indicate the presence of the countdown (e.g., descending page numbers). Use this link to read the full review, view additional images and information.