Photo books of the month: October

PhotoQ Bookshop picks of the month

An exploration of the gender spectrum, a research on the memories of the 1979 Marichjhapi massacre survivors in India, a study of rediscovered daguerreotypes, and Robert Capa’s book Reprint; PhotoQ Bookshop manager Edie Peters shares his photo books top picks for the month of October. 

#MYOWNGENDER by Sevilay Maria

In #MYOWNGENDER, Sevilay Maria explores the extensive grey zone that exists between the notions of man and woman. Thirty-five models that represent their shade of gender are captured on either black or transparent glass through a photography technique from the 1850s, collodion wet plating, and share their story in a short interview. By retelling the stories of those who defy society’s gender norms, #MYOWNGENDER looks at the nuances of gender.

“This visual bouncing between the 19th and 21st century results in warm and strong portraits with a welcome stopping power in the flood of imagery that is coming over us everyday. Printed with three shades of silver and one tone of blue on black paper, the character of the photos brings us closer to the collodion wet plate experience than printing on paper has ever done before,” says Edie Peters, manager of the PhotoQ Bookshop.

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Sevilay Maria van Dorst discusses the themes of our modern-days through a photography technique from 1851. Within this duality, she looks further than the obvious, observing social issues rather than emerging with the subject. Besides addressing social issues in her personal projects, Sevilay has worked for many international publications.

Find out more and order #MYOWNGENDER by Sevilay Maria - €60,00

Where the Birds Never Sing by Soumya Sankar Bose

Soumya Sankar Bose’s Where the Birds Never Sing is a body of work on the Marichjhapi massacre. It traces the forcible eviction in 1979 of Bengali refugees on Marichjhapi Island in Sundarban, West Bengal, India, and the subsequent death of thousands by police gunfire, starvation, and disease.

Over the last two years, Bose has been researching and re-enacting some memories of the survivors in specific locations, as there is very little written record of the incident. Through the intricate weaving of existing oral histories, he brings to light several perspectives of the same narrative, forming a cryptic framework of this problematic history that is facing slow erasure from people’s memory.

Edie Peters says: “With historical documents, re-enactment photographs as subtle as portentous, and well-chosen quotes from oral history accounts, Soumya Sankar Bose tells the story of an almost forgotten massacre. He proves you can show an event without having been there, thus expanding the power of photography. Storytelling at its best: relevant subject, good photography, magnetic attention span, and perfect text-photos ratio.”


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Soumya Sankar Bose is an Indian documentary photographer. In his practice he uses photography, archival material, text and film to explore desire, identity and memory. He was one of World Press Photo’s 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass participants.

Find out more and order Where the Birds Never Sing by Soumya Sankar Bose, published by Red Turtle Photobook - €57,00

To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes

To Make Their Own Way in the World is a profound consideration of some of the most challenging images in the history of photography: fifteen daguerreotypes of Alfred, Delia, Drana, Fassena, Jack, Jem, and Renty—men and women of African descent who were enslaved in South Carolina. Photographed by Joseph T. Zealy for Harvard professor Louis Agassiz in 1850, they were rediscovered at Harvard’s Peabody Museum in 1976.

This multidisciplinary volume features essays by prominent scholars who explore such topics as the identities of the people depicted in the daguerreotypes, the close relationship between photography and race, and visual narratives of slavery and its lasting effects. With over two hundred illustrations, including new photography by Carrie Mae Weems, this book frames the Zealy daguerreotypes as works of urgent engagement.

“This book is about the lives of the people who were portrayed, about slavery, the relation between photography and racism, and many other urgent themes. This is what a (art) history book should do: explaining contemporary tensions on the basis of events from the past.” - Edie Peters.

Death in the Making by Robert Capa

Death in the Making is a reprint of the original book published in 1938. With images by Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, this book was a tribute to the men and women, civilians and soldiers alike, who were fighting in Spain against Franco’s oppressive and fascist insurrection.

This new publication replicates the original layout by photographer André Kertész, the original caption text by Capa and preface by writer Jay Allen, with improved image quality of the first edition. It also includes an essay with new information about the making and the reception of the original book and a complete checklist identifying the author, location and date of each image. One of the most significant revelations is that Death in the Making contained unattributed photographs by Chim, later known as David Seymour, friend and colleague of Capa.

“The quality of this reprint of Robert Capa’s book is great. The choice of paper and printing draws us back to the period when storytelling in photo books was born. Interesting for everybody who is interested in the history of photojournalism, the civil war in Spain, and the work of Capa,” says Edie Peters.

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Robert Capa was a Hungarian-American war photographer and photojournalist as well as the companion and professional partner of photographer Gerda Taro. He is considered by some to be one of the greatest photojournalists of the 20th century.

Find out more and order Death in the Making by Robert Capa, published by Damiani - €44,95

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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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