Photo books of the month: September

PhotoQ Bookshop picks of the month

A visualization of the secret stories of the Anansi in Suriname; an exploration of conflict and the River Magdalena in Colombia; a documentation of the impact of rapid-growth along the foot of the Great Wall of China; and a new take on the history of photography: discover the photo books selected this month by PhotoQ Bookshop’s manager Edie Peters.

The Untangled Tales by Michelle Piergoelam

The Untangled Tales offers a glimpse into the secret stories of the slavery period in Suriname, a former Dutch colony. These stories passed down from Africa to Suriname, and from generation to generation, as a way for slaves to share their thoughts without the slaveholder knowing what they actually meant.

Among these stories, we find secret handshakes; the story of the mythical spider Anansi, who was able to defeat the tiger with its cleverness and cunning; and handkerchiefs whose intricate folds contained hidden stories and wisdom that could only be read by those who had learned to.

Eddie Peters, PhotoQ Bookshop’s manager, says: “The book is actually a folder with fold-outs: beautiful photos of objects, plants, handshakes on the outside, and written stories on the inside. Great collaboration of photographer and designer Sybren Kuiper.

Michelle Piergoelam is an art photographer who creates visual stories based on cultural myths, dreams, and memories. In her work, cultural traditions, stories, and scenery are intertwined. 

Find out more and order The Untangled Tales by Michelle Piergoelam - €30,00 

Magdalena by Felipe Romero Beltrán

Political tensions and drug trafficking have hastened the armed conflict in Colombia with a death toll of over two hundred thousand. The River Magdalena has become a symbol of the memory of the conflict. Since the beginning of the conflict in the sixties, victims’ bodies have appeared in the river, thrown by guerrillas, paramilitary forces, and local mafias to eliminate all traces of evidence.

Magdalena by Felipe Romero Beltrán is an exploration of the concepts of conflict, the corpse, and the River Magdalena. The corpses that have surfaced in the river are signs and metaphors of a conflict that completely transformed its territory, conditioning the customs and funerary practices of the inhabitants of the area. Once their identity has been erased by the effect of the water, the bodies become undefined fragments of memory.

“Horrifying, yet poetic. Great photography, with an abrasive storyline underneath,” says Edie Peters about the book.

Felipe Romero Beltrán is a Colombian visual artist based in Madrid, Spain. He focuses on long-term projects that approach social issues related to political conflicts in Latin America and Spain. He is one of World Press Photo’s 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass participants.

Find out more and order Magdalena by Felipe Romero Beltrán, published by Ediciones Anomalas - €28,00 

Watering My Horse by a Spring at the Foot of the Long Wall by Xiaoxiao Xu

Watering My Horse by a Spring at the Foot of the Long Wall documents the impact of fast-growing China along the Great Wall. Xiaoxiao Xu met people along the foot of the historic site, a road trip of 25,000 kilometers. Along the way, Xu discovered that old traditions are gradually disappearing. Her work focused on the visual transformation of this process. From place to place she tried to catch a glimpse of the past.

Edie Peters says: “Avoiding the stereotypical photos of a tourist attraction, Xu shows us the daily life of people living in the surroundings of the Great Wall. Great documentary travel photography.

Born in Wenzhou in 1984 and living in the Netherlands since 1999, Xiaoxiao Xu is a photographer particularly interested in the surrealist aspect of life. She observes both East and West from a distance in order to understand her identity and the stories behind the world she lives in.

On Photographs by David Campany

Is it possible to describe a photograph without interpreting it? Can a viewer ever be as dispassionate as the mechanism of a camera? And how far can a photographer’s intentions determine responses to their image, decades after it was made? Rejecting the conventional recollection of photography that gives a heightened status to the ‘classics,’ On Photographs is a playful new take on the history of the medium by writer and curator David Campany.

This curation covers fine art prints, film stills, documentary photographs, fashion editorials, and advertisements, as well as anonymous photographers, photography pioneers, 20th-century talents, and contemporary practitioners. Each photograph is accompanied by Campany’s commentary, which strives to guide the reader in their own interpretation and understanding of the image itself.

David Campany is one of the best and most productive writers on photography at the moment. In his new book 'On Photography,' he creates his personal choice of photos dating from the mid 19th century to the present time. The concept is similar to recently published books on the medium: a photo accompanied by a textual explanation. Campany however avoids the 'usual suspects,' resulting in a collection of images you have probably not seen before.” - Edie Peters, PhotoQ Bookshop manager.

David Campany is a curator, writer, and managing director of Programs at the International Center of Photography, New York. He has contributed historical and critical analysis of photographs in over two-hundred published essays for high-profile monographs and museum exhibitions.

Find out more and pre- order On Photographs by David Campay - €34,95 


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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