5 Photobooks to Read This Summer

5 Photobooks to Read This Summer

A selection of this season’s must-read publications respond to key contemporary themes of post-truth, race and gender. Through self-portraiture, documentary and fine art practice, each insightful book unearths an aspect of contemporary life, revealing the experiences of women, the impact of the media and the realities of the everyday.

Thomas Demand: The Complete Papers, MACK Books

Comprising primary texts and a comprehensive selection of images, this publication tracks Demand’s (b. 1964) extensive oeuvre. The sculptor and photographer’s innovative practice investigates ideas of truth and artifice, as each composition is meticulously crafted from paper, offering an uncanny imitation of life. Published in September.

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, Aperture

100 self-portraits from visual activist Muholi (b. 1972) reflect the personal and collective experiences of black women. She notes: “I am producing this photographic document to encourage people to be brave enough to occupy spaces, brave enough to create without fear of being vilified… To teach people about our history, to re-think what history is all about, to re-claim it for ourselves.” Published in July.


Thomas Wrede: Sceneries, Kehrer Verlag

Occupying the boundaries between real and surreal worlds, Wrede’s (b. 1963) constructed compositions question the fidelity of photography through model sets in miniature. Bringing together celebrated series such as Domestic Landscapes and Die Vögel stehen in der Luft und schreien, Sceneries reproduces various topographies, remaining interested in how nature is presented within today’s media.

Viviane Sassen: Hot Mirror, Prestel Publishing

Looking back at a decade of work, this mid-career retrospective focuses on Sassen’s (b. 1972) fine art practice, bringing together new collages and unpublished photographs. By drawing on the influence of Surrealism, the collection unearths her otherworldly, uncanny   approach which uses unexpected juxtapositions and an engagement with light, shadow and vibrant hues. Published 23 July.

All about Saul Leiter, Thames & Hudson

Accompanied by insightful quotes from the artist, this selection of over 200 works comprises a multiplicity of genres. Revealing how Leiter (1923-2013) employed a painterly approach to street photography, advertising and fashion, Thames & Hudson’s paperback draws a portrait of his unique vision through bold and colourful compositions. Published in July.

1. Stadt am See, 2018 © 2018 Thomas Wrede, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.
2. Thomas Demand, Gangway, 2001.

3. Zanele Muholi, Thembeka II, London, 2014
4. Nordamerikanische Felsenlandschaft mit Kakteen, Bottrop-Kirchhellen, 1997 © 2018 Thomas Wrede, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
5. For DeLaMar Theater, photo © Viviane Sassen
6. Saul Leiter: Soames Bantry, Harper’s Bazaar, ca. 1963. © Saul LeiterCourtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York. Aus der Ausstellung “Saul Leiter-Retrospektive”, Deichtorhallen Hamburg 2.2.-15.4.2012.