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Once again, we would like to present an end-of-year selection from the abundance of recent publications: books that have caught our attention, but that have yet to find a place in our LFI magazine or on the LFI blog. Despite all the challenges in the publishing industry, the number of ambitious book projects seems to continue to grow. Just like last year, there are classics and new discoveries, a diversity of topics, and exciting visual languages. We invite you to use our suggestions as an impetus to expand your personal library, or to make additions to your gift list.
Jonas Burgert (Room Of Ideas), Berlin, 2019 © Olaf Heine, 2022
224 pages, 100 black and white pictures. English, 20 x 30 cm, Prestel. Heine's pictures are on display at Camera Work in Berlin, up until February 4, 2023.

Olaf Heine, Human Conditions

So much more than just celebrity photography: time and again in recent decades, the German photographer (born 1968) has managed to produce intense and humorous eye-catchers, while also eliciting new and often unusual facets of self-dramatization from the celebrities he portrays. This splendid, black and white photo book presents a selection of his encounters with musicians, actors, writers, visual artists and athletes, from the years 2000 to 2022. The compilation is made up of exciting eye-level portrait sessions, which also allow viewers to explore rich variations within the genre. Or, as the painter Jonas Burgert says when describing his path to a painting: "It is the attempt to change the criteria of our accepted template." Heine achieves just that with surprising  diversity.
Frank Dingel and Karsten von Kuczkowskie, Berlin 2012 © 2022 Anne Schönharting
160 pages, 85 colour pictures. German/English, 27.5 x 35.5 cm, Hartmann Books. With texts by Inka Schube

Anne Schönharting, Habitat Berlin-Charlottenburg

“Oh Charlottenburg,” some may well say with a sigh. The “old” West Berlin: a little staid, often dignified, often quirky; this is where old money meets nouveau-riche immigrants. How does the Berlin photographer (born 1973) always manage to get a glimpse behind the stately facades of old buildings? In a long-term project created over the last ten years, it is not arrogant self-promoters that we find in House & Garden settings. Instead, the pages of this large-format photo book are filled with very quirky characters: people, couples, families who have often turned their apartments into stage-like spaces. The subtle portraits and the photographer's careful staging, speak of the obstinacy of those featured, their passion for owning and collecting, and a great diversity of family and life concepts – tuned with a fine sense of humour.
Untitled, © Anthony Blasko
120 pages, 59 colour pictures. English, 30 x 23, Stanley/Barker.

Anthony Blasko, Strawberries Florida

Warm, golden light falls over the protagonists and scenarios. The American photographer's decision to shoot only as the sun was setting, proved to be spot on. Despite the diversity of the people depicted, as well as the loud and brash atmosphere, everything adapts very softly to the evening mood. It makes sense that the cover shows just one strawberry painted by Shaun Morris, because we are joining the photographer at the traditional Plant City Strawberry Festival in Florida. A traditional, eleven-day event that dates back to the 1930s, it focuses on “preserving and enhancing the agricultural and historical heritage of the strawberry in Florida”. Blasko has been returning to the Strawberry Festival since 2013 – for him it has now become nostalgically timeless.
Carson City VI, Vårgårda, Sweden, 2016. From the series 'The Potemkin Village' © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022
144 pages, 164 colour photographs. German/English, 24 x 30 cm, Kehrer. Texts by Verena Kaspar-Eisert and Christoph Schaden. The exhibition is on display at the Kunst Haus in Vienna, up until February 12, 2022.

Gregor Sailer, Unseen Places

The world shown in this book is devoid of any people. Yet, at the same time, we discover clear traces and changes resulting from the impact of human civilisation on the environment. Hidden, forgotten and unseen places are of particular interest to the Austrian photographer (born 1980): he is on the trail of complex political, military, and economic distortions of the landscape and of architecture. In recent years, this has taken him to remote corners of the world, with his analogue medium and large-format cameras – to Potemkin villages, to strange, inhospitable and dystopian places. The "unsettling balance" that is typical for the photographer's work is spread out in the photo book that accompanies his retrospective exhibition, with seven series taken over the last twenty years. A disturbingly aesthetic look at the state of the world.
Relationships, Vilnius 1960 © 2022 Antanas Sutkus
152 pages, 160 black and white pictures. English/German/Lithuanian, 23. 5, x 26.5 cm, Steidl. Issued by Thomas Schirmböck, with a text by Johanna Adroján.

Antanas Sutkus, Street Life

The quartet is now complete: in recent years, the work of the Lithuanian photographer (born 1939) has been published in various formats. The latest photo book is dedicated to pictures taken on the streets of Lithuanian, between 1959 and 1977. Back then, the country was still part of the Soviet Union – yet none of the officially-prescribed imagery of that time appears in the photographer's sensitive pictures. No propaganda – nothing. Quite the contrary, the photographer deftly evaded it, strolling through the streets as an empathic observer of the daily life of a controlled society. He took pictures of passers by, couples, people waiting – and, time and again, children. The streets and squares created the framework within which Sutkus captured small moments of individual happiness. Today more than ever, his humanistic images are a testimony to an era.
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