PhotoBook exhibition – curating in progress

I was recently invited to submit a curatorial proposal for a photobook exhibition based on the thematic subject of “work”, which is an interesting word as well as subject for photographers. Idea is tap into the history of photography in recent years, reinterpreted through a great deal of attention to differences and changes of the languages of photography and contemporary work.

As stated by the exhibition director;  

What remains of “20th-century” work? Its “vision”, which was often also mythological, full of physical exertion and large masses, has changed and in many cases endures alongside more sophisticated, often solitary, technological kinds of work that are frequently difficult to transform into visions. How do these old visions marry the new ones? What unites them? Perhaps some of the answers to these questions contain a global vision of the world and a vision of photography that we consider the most effective tool for the analysis of contemporary society and its languages.

A study of work is therefore also an investigation into identity.

My goal is to bring together 25 – 30 photobooks by contemporary photographers who explore and investigate this multifaceted and complex theme. To add a further layer to the exhibition, I am asking the photographers to select and re-photograph a two page spread from their book in which we will exhibit the prints of the interiors of photobook on the walls surrounding the photobooks.

As examples of those which are on my short of photobooks are Melissa Shook’s My Suffolk Downs, Ron Jude’s Lick Creek Line, Clayton Cotterell’s Unarmed, Thijs Helenfeld’s Men at Work, Christian Paterson’s  Redheaded Peckerwood, Rania Matar’s A Girl in her Room, Bertil Nilsson’s Undisclosed, Rob Hornstra’s Sochi Singers, Gina LeVay’s Sandhogs, Andy Freeberg’s Guardians, Beth Dow’s In the Garden, Lauren Burke’s Birth of a Statesman, Dan Nelken’s Till the Cows come Home, Chris Shaw’s Life as a Night Porter, Pierre Bessard’s Wuhan Boiler Company Workers, Susan Anderson’s High Glitz, and Louie Palu’s Cage Call.

Please leave a comment about any photobooks that you think deserve consideration and if possible include a link to the book and its interior images.

Best regards, Doug


22 thoughts on “PhotoBook exhibition – curating in progress

Add yours

  1. The Altogether by Chris Coekin, Bureaucratics by Jan Banning, Pleine Mer by Jean Gaumy, Ama by Nina Pope (women fishing abalones for a living), Seacoal by Chris Killips (also by Chriss Killips: Pirelli Works)
    Permanent Error and Nollywood by Pieter Hugo (and speaking of the strange industry of movies why not include The Valley by Larry Sultan?), Terres Foulées by Jacques Borgetto (on horse jockeys), Infidels by Tim Hetherington (soldiers) …

  2. Hi Doc, I am checking into Jean’s photobook, also a suggestion by Patrick as well, thanks!

  3. Hi Joao, I was already checking Salgado”s book, and thanks for the confirmation that this should be a photobook for consideration, thanks!

  4. Hi Patrick, I just acquired Coekin’s “The Altogether”, which I am short-listing and I expect to review on this blog shortly. I am currently investigating Killip and Banning, but now recall Pope, which I need to check-out and I was not familiar with Borgetto. Right on with Hugo, so now which of the two? Thanks!

  5. photobook – The Color of the Kapok Blossom: Occupational Injury Victims – Taiwan Photographer Ho Jin-Tai

    book cover

    Taiwan Photographer Ho Jin-Tai was won the 5th International photography award of Polaroid, USA.

    This photobook was described the occupational injury of Taiwan Workers.

  6. China Photographer Mr Hou Deng-Ke, Wheat-Hands, photobook

    book cover

    This photobook will be listed into the new photobook of the Chinese Photobook. Now there is a documentationary photography award is using his name Hou Deng-Ke as meantioned in Beijing, China, such as W. Eugene Smith award.

  7. In 1993 Hans van der Meer (a Dutch photographer internationally best known by his books on football fields) published a book called “Werk”. A documentary style book, black and white photography with the subtitle “produktiebedrijven gefotografeerd”(Production companies photographed) You can find picturee of this book here;

  8. Ruud, thats for the suggestion for van der Meer, but I am considering only recent publications for this exhibition, but agreed that his “Werk” is interesting. Thanks!

  9. Hi Duc, I am attempting to contact Cristina de Middel about The Afronauts, a wonderful combination of humor and story telling. Thanks!

  10. Hi “Whale”, do you have a contact for Ho Jin-Tai as I would like to find out about the availability of his photobooks? Thanks!

  11. Ho Jin-Tai the occupational injury of Taiwan Workers.

    some pictures of the occupational injury of Taiwan Workers, from Taiwan Photographer Ho Jin-Tai’s flickr site.

    DA04010-A-18吳明政Occupational Occupational_Injury

    Both of photobooks are still finding out in Taiwan bookstores except the shadowed life photobook.

  12. Greg Halpern, “Harvard Works Because We Do”, ; George Hashiguchi (Hashiguchi Jōji), “Work”=”Shoku”, (out of print but, at least in Japan, easily and cheaply available); Kazuma Obara, “Reset: Beyond Fukushima” (I haven’t seen this yet and only know of it via the web); Valeria Mitelman, “Circus” (she also has a little book of this series). Surely there should be many more books though. (Are there really no books of the photography of Claudio Cambon, Shahidul Alam, Pierre Torset or others of ship breaking in Bangladesh? Not that ship breaking is limited to Bangladesh.)

    1. And more:

      1. When you mention Dan Nelken’s “Till the Cows come Home” you remind me of Chris Steele-Perkins’ “Northern Exposures”, which may be something like a British equivalent. (I know “Northern Exposures” but, other than from web pages, not “Cows”.)

      2. Juliana Beasley, “Lapdancer”. There’s a description and samples within (all Flash). It’s in this list so you know it’s good.

      3. Dana Popa, “Not Natasha”; see

      4. Robin Maddock, “Our kids are going to hell”. About police work in one area of London. (And/or about victimization, and more.) See and

      5. Unpaid work: Andy Freeberg, “Guardians”,

      Hmm, what I can’t come up with is an example of a book about the 21st-century near-equivalent of either C. C. Baxter or Fran Kubelik in “The Apartment”.

  13. Hi Doug,
    Another suggestion: a small book done last year by Ferdinando Scianna for Fratelli Rossetti (shoemakers) : Masters’ Hands (you can download the pdf from the compay’s website or ask them for a copy of this small book that was available in some shops last year).
    Patrick Maille

  14. Thank you all. Great suggestions! Currently working on Dana Pope’s “Not Natasha”, I already have and suspect I will select Andy Freeberg’s “Guardians”, I check with Greg Halpern and his “Havard Works Because We do” is out of print, and now following the numerous links you provided. Wow! Trouble is I am now running out of time to make my final selection. I hope to make the announcement soon!

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