Photo books of the month: August

PhotoQ Bookshop picks of the month

An examination of the law of omerta in small Sardinian communities; a personal exploration of the life of one of the last ‘self-combed women’ in China; an intimate long-term collaboration with two cousins navigating the transition between adolescence and young adulthood; and an original photographic look on birds: discover the photo books selected this month by PhotoQ Bookshop’s manager Edie Peters.

Some of You Killed Luisa by Valeria Cherchi

Between the 1960s and the 1990s almost 200 people were kidnapped for ransom in the Italian island of Sardinia. In Some of You Killed Luisa, Valeria Cherchi attempts to decode the complex structure of these kidnappings that crossed her homeland.

After several years of field research, interaction with local communities, digging of media archives and her family’s video tapes, Cherchi presents a multi-layered examination. It mixes photos, video stills and a log of her research where memories, sociological and anthropological observations mingle.

Eddie Peters, PhotoQ Bookshop’s manager, says: “This is the result of an in-depth study into tens of cases of kidnappings in Sardinia. In her photo book, Cherchi combines texts and all kinds of photography into a gripping new style of storytelling resembling a crime novel.”

Valeria Cherchi is an artist working with images and text. She was born and raised in Sardinia, Italy. Her work over the past years has focused on the meaning of the ‘unspoken’ within different social issues. She is interested in telling character-driven stories exploring personal memories and history.

Find out more and order Some of You Killed Luisa by Valeria Cherchi, published by The Eriskay Connection - €25,00

Combing for Ice and Jade by Kurt Tong

Combing for Ice and Jade is an exploration of the life of Kurt Tong’s nanny, who was one of the last remaining ‘self-combed women’ in China. Women who vowed to remain ‘self-combed women’ would leave their parents' home to work without marrying.

Kurt Tong has worked closely with his nanny over a period of nearly seven years. Having only eight photographs of herself, the book slowly reveals through Kurt’s family archive, found photographs from her families, new photographs, Chinese ink works and women’s magazines from China that spanned 6 decades.

“A fantastic publication by Jiazazhi Press that succeeded in producing 700 copies of a carefully designed book with a wealth of handcrafted elements. Photographic storytelling is getting better and better,” says Edie Peters.

Kurt Tong is a photographer from Hong Kong who focuses on personal projects exploring his motherland and family history. Much of his recent work incorporates elements of installation and sculptural, pushing the boundaries of the medium.

Find out more and order Combing for Ice and Jade by Kurt Tong, published by Jiazazhi Press - €59,00

The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and The Illusion of an Everlasting Summer by Alessandra Sanguinetti

The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and The Illusion of an Everlasting Summer presents Alessandra Sanguinetti’s return to rural Argentina to continue her collaboration with the two cousins Belinda and Guillermina who, as girls, were the subjects of the first book.

In this second volume, we follow Guillermina and Belinda from ages 14 to 24 as they negotiate the territory between adolescence and young adulthood. Surrounded by animals and the rural setting of their childhood, the book depicts the two cousins’ everyday lives as they experience love, pregnancy, and motherhood. As independence from their families and each other grows, Alessandra Sanguinetti explores the passage of time but also the lasting language of female intimacy and friendship.

Edie Peters says: “Calling the atmosphere multi-layered would be an understatement for what is at work in this book: the colors, shades, the representation of growing up, love, psychology, the Gabriel García Marquez like magical realism, and much more.”

Alessandra Sanguinetti is an American photographer who grew up in Argentina. She is known for her lyrical, soft photography that explores themes of memory, place, and the transitions of youth.

Find out more and pre-order The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and The Illusion of an Everlasting Summer by Alessandra Sanguinetti, published by Mack - €65,00

The Pillar by Stephen Gill

For The Pillar, Stephen Gill set up a motion-sensor camera opposite a wooden pillar to funnel birds from the sky and capture photographs of the bird activity in the vast and open landscape surrounding his home in Sweden.

“This new exercise became an accidental way of getting to know both bird behavior and even individual birds,” the photographer says. “I am very drawn to the shapes presented by birds in flight, birds perched, and those in between the two,” Gill adds, “I was also struck by how the relatively fixed pre-composed rectangle of the camera offered a reminder of the infinite variations of a single scene over a period of time, suggesting that nothing happens twice.”

“I am so happy to be able to offer the best photo book of 2019 again, after it sold out half a year ago. Perfect edit by Stephen Gill and feathered friends like you’ve never seen them before: not through a perfect long lens, but close as if they were landing on your nose.” - Edie Peters, PhotoQ Bookshop manager.

Stephen Gill is a British photographer. While his practice originally developed in a documentary style, he later developed a more abstract approach to image making. Today, he is noted for works that can be categorized as experimental and conceptual. 

The PhotoQ Bookshop, part of World Press Photo since August 2019, specializes in documentary, journalism and art photo books. It is run by Edie Peters, photography lover, who has shared his knowledge with enthusiasm since opening a photo book store in 2013.

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