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Stephanie H. Tung on Xu Yong Negatives

I don’t expect to be reaching for my iPhone when I open a book. Yet Xu Yong’s Negatives instructs me to do just that, in order to interact with its dark, eerie images through the phone’s lens. A quick change of settings inverts the colors on the screen, and the images in this slim volume burst to life. Suddenly, photographs of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests seem much closer to the present. Negatives revisits some of Xu’s earliest, unpublished material from the beginning of his career: photographs of young protestors in the square, just before Chinese troops opened fire on…

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Design Books to Know

Designers and critics share the books that have inspired their work

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Editor’s Note

Editors’ Note Photobook Review Fall 2015
Arthur Herrman and Jeroen Kummer

Halftone

One Plus One Is Three: A Conversation on Collaboration

Taco Hidde Bakker Many good photobooks result from sustained, long-term collaboration—the kind that goes much further than just calling in a designer to make the finishing touches. An initial concept can be carried beyond the horizon of what an artist or photographer might have fancied on their own, with surprising results that could transcend individual authorship. Editors, typographers, graphic designers, or other photographers may act as collaborators and valuable sparring partners, for everything from determining sequence to designing layouts—delivering valuable input during the process and, in a sense, becoming authors in their own right. However, there are compromises to be…

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Rahaab Allana on Laura El-Tantawy In the Shadow of the Pyramids

A photobook is most immersive when it arouses an awakening in the reader—and In the Shadow of the Pyramids, Laura El-Tantawy’s instinctive, four-year journey through the crowd at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, is a riveting, intimate, and spatially engaging testimony. A compact yet densely designed book that alternates between full-bleed images and smaller photos centered on the page, it features family snapshots from El-Tantawy’s past alongside her own photographs—constantly suggesting departure, rupture, and the return to her hometown, Cairo. Skillfully unmasking the fragments of the city, the book’s Japanese-bound pages conceal the photos’ dates inside their folds; the images see El-Tantawy…

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The PhotoBook Review is a publication dedicated to the consideration of the photobook—focusing on the best photography books being published, from the coffee-table book to the handmade artist’s edition, and on creating a better understanding of the ecosystem of the photobook as a whole.

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