Photo books of the month: July

PhotoQ Bookshop picks of the month

From insights into the life and beliefs of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon to a philosophical interpretation of the changing landscape around the deserted Fukushima, and from an examination of Spain’s vacationers sunbathing among post industrial sceneries to the stories of six Lithuanians who were deported to Siberia under the Soviet regime, PhotoQ Bookshop manager Edie Peters shares his four recommended photo books of the month.

Secreto Sarayaku by Misha Vallejo

In Secreto Sarayaku, Ecuadorian photographer Misha Vallejo documents the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and explores how their belief systems mediate their relation to their habitat.

The Kichwa’s ancestral conception of the Kawsak Sacha, or living jungle, affirms the sentience and interconnectedness of the forest, and recognizes that what affects one affects all. Accordingly, the Kichwa take from the jungle only what is necessary for survival. They also believe that they are assisted in the protection of their homes by beings known as Sacha Runakuna. Today the Kichwa are using technology such as the internet to expand their message of jungle conservation.

“In portraits and landscapes with mesmerising colors we get a respectful view of daily life as well as the life vision of the indigenous Kichwa people of Sarayaku. Supreme beings, the immense rainforest and traditions are what we recognize, while Macbooks and KISS t-shirts show their connections with the 21st century.” - Edie Peters, PhotoQ Bookshop’s manager.

Misha Vallejo is a photographer based in Quito, Ecuador, whose work lies between documentary and art photography. He has worked as a freelance photographer and videographer since 2010 and is a member of the photography collective Runa Photos since 2012.

Find out more and order Secreto Sarayaku by Misha Vallejo, published by RM - €30,00

Tree and Soil by Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

After the nuclear disaster in 2011, Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong photographed and filmed the changing landscapes in the closed zones around Fukushima, Japan, over a period of five years. Tree and Soil combines their photography with historical material from naturalist and explorer Philipp Franz von Siebold’s collection of artefacts, plants, animal specimens and woodblock prints.

In the book, Knoth and de Jong underline the beauty and value of nature, connecting the past and present by documenting and interpreting the transformations of the deserted landscapes around Fukushima.

Edie Peters says: “This is a great example of a photo book designed as an object. The starting point is the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Yet, the approach of the authors – showing nature instead of people and Japanese cultural objects – results in an inspiring philosophical stream of thoughts about our attitude to our environment."

Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong are a Dutch visual storyteller and documentary maker duo based in Amsterdam. Through their work, they experiment with the diverse possibilities of narrative formats, combining the realism of documentary with the more abstract and conceptual qualities within the visual arts.

In the World Press Photo Livecast #3: The Photo Book, Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong will speak about the creation process of their photo book. Books that have been ordered will be signed by them. The number of copies is limited.

Find out more and order Tree and Soil by Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong, published by Hartmann Projects - €45,00

Perfect Day by Txema Salvans

In Perfect Day, Txema Salvans photographs Spain’s holiday-makers in postindustrial landscapes. Sunbathers congregate in car parks, swimming pools are nestled between buildings, and cranes and cooling towers loom over beaches. In these surreal, banal and humorous scenes, the photographer reveals how the pursuit of leisure persists in spite of the pressures of the built environment.

Although many of these photographs were made near the sea, the sea itself remains invisible. Instead, we see what the images’ subjects want to turn their back on. Beneath the surface, are questions about class, national identity, and the politics of space.

“This book shows a merciless portrait of Spanish tourism with sunbathers in a background of concrete resorts or industrial activity. Quite painful for a lover of the mountains and rocky coastline of northern Spain as I am. Mercy is a great human gift, but without it the photographer delivers a razor-sharp portrait of his country,” says Edie Peters.

Txema Salvans is a Spanish photographer. For the past twenty years, he has developed a documentary approach outside conventional photojournalism, his work and photo essays balancing critical thinking with a poetic sense of humour.

Find out more and order Perfect Day by Txema Salvans, published by Mack Books - €40,00

Siberian Exiles – Part 1 Lithuania by Claudia Heinermann

Since 2016, Claudia Heinermann has been working on the trilogy Siberian Exiles, a project about the deportations from the Baltic States to Siberia that happened under the Soviet regime. This first part of the trilogy focuses on the experiences of six Lithuanian survivors who were deported as children to the Laptev Sea above the polar circle.

Siberian Exiles – Part 1 Lithuania is a journey through history and has become a story about oppression, abuse of power and crimes against humanity. It is also a story about people who refused to be broken and to give up their identity and culture. It is about the human will to survive and human resilience.

“This is the first publication of three and it already counts five books in a slipcase. The size might be overwhelming, but through the choice of telling the stories of six individuals we are granted personal contact to a story of all times: people who get caught in the cruel power struggles of world history.” - Edie Peters.

Claudia Heinermann is a German documentary photographer engaged in long-term observational documentary projects with an emphasis on 20th century historical topics and the consequences of war and genocide.


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 the book store.

Thousands of photo books are available on the PhotoQ Bookshop’s online store. The physical shop is open at the World Press Photo House in Amsterdam’s Westerpark on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 - 18:00.