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In this second instalment, the editorial team is continuing with its selection of book recommendations, to give the great diversity of photo books and publishers available broader exposure at the end of the year. Today's presentation, once again, takes us all over the world on a journey of discovery. The photographers have compiled compelling and touching moments that capture our present times. Discover impressions from Cuba and Africa; pictures taken in Lebanon and the USA; Frankfurt Airport, empty of people; and busy contemporary life on the streets of Los Angeles.

We hope you will enjoy expanding your own photo book collection, or offering these wonderful and exciting books, as gifts.
© Michael Dressel
Michael Dressel, Los(t) Angeles. Texts by Matthias Harder; interview by F. Scott Hess with Michael Dressel. 176 pages, 106 black and white images. 24 x 31 cm. German/English. Hartmann

Michael Dressel, Los(t) Angeles

It seems like everyone here is dreaming of Hollywood: the German photographer (born 1958), who has lived in Los Angeles for many decades, has captured the most unusual characters, crazy forms of self-expression, and bizarre costumes on the streets of the city. After all, if your talent is not enough for a great acting career, you can simply indulge your passion in a mundane urban setting. Dressel also looks behind the scenes of all the glamour, using strong black and white imagery to tell the fateful stories of people on the streets. Poverty, age and infirmity are not, in fact, part of the plan in this beautiful world of illusion. With an empathic, but also relentlessly honest eye, he has produced a kaleidoscope of pictures that speak of hope and self-stylisation, as well as the harsh realities of the darker side of Los Angeles that cannot be ignored. The title defines the content of the book.
© Figueredo
Figueredo, Los Cubanos. Searching for Cuba's Soul. 176 pages, 82 black and white pictures, 20.3 x 25.4 cm. German/English. dpunkt Verlag

Figueredo, Los Cubanos. Searching for Cuba’s Soul

Insights and stories from a personal perspective: the German photographer, Volker Figueredo Véliz (born 1953) has come to know and love the Caribbean island – not just as a holiday-maker, but by spending a large part of his life in Havana. Equipped with a Leica, he has photographed moments that are typical for Cuba, yet rarely seen by tourists and visitors. Through his family connections  – he is married to a Cuban – it was much easier for him to gain the trust of people. This gave him access to a world behind the scenes of the vacation destination, and wllowed him to capture scenes from people's everyday lives, and the lives of their friends. The photographer opted very deliberately for black and white imagery, which may well be one of the reasons the powerful portraits are not easily forgotten.
© Mario Marino
Mario Marino, Faces of Africa, with texts by Ulrich Rüter and Roland Knauer. 256 pages, 164 black and white and 31 colour pictures. 28.2 x 34.5 cm, German/English. teNeues

Mario Marino, Faces of Africa

Born in Austria in 1967, the German-based photographer considers that travel and photography are quite inseparable. On eight journeys, taken between 2011 and 2018, he explored fascinating locations in Africa, which are known as the cradle of humanity. In the south west of Ethiopia, he photographed the Boorana-Oromo and Arbore ethnic groups; the Karo, Mursi and Surma; and the Hamar. In Samburu County in northern Kenya, he also produced impressive portraits and series, which speak of the people's daily lives and rituals, as well as special moments. The aesthetics of the photographer's pictures thrive on formal rigour, especially in the intense portraits, but he also developed a strong narrative style in the series taken in Kenya. The images reveal a traditional world that is undergoing rapid change, and which will no longer exist in its current form in a few years' time.
Rayven, Miami Beach, Florida © Rania Matar
Rania Matar, She. Texts by Mark Alice Durant and Orin Zahra. 184 pages, 83 colour pictures. 29.2 x 34.3 cm. English. Radius

Rania Matar, She

Beautiful, lively and multi-faceted: this is the way the artist portrays the women she places in front of her camera. They are playful, yet self-confident; gentle, yet strong; curious and daring. Matar was born in Lebanon, and she has been living in the USA, since 1984. Her pictures have been taken in travels from Florida all the way to Beirut, and reflect experiences of leaving home, or of the transition to young adulthood. She dedicates her artistic work to exploring questions of personal and collective identity, by photographing the realities of life and adolescence of women. During the creative process, each of the young protagonists portrayed becomes an active participant: their portraits dominate the settings; yet, space is also given for their everyday stories and their personal environments. Matar's impressive images reveal the beauty of her subjects – their age, their individuality, their physicality and their secrets.
© Marc Krause
Marc Krause, Frankfurt Airport. Text by Florian Siebeck. 80 pages, 57 colour pictures. 20 x 30 cm. German/English. Kettler

Marc Krause, Frankfurt Airport, April 2020

Airports are not places you would usually choose to linger in for a long time. During the early days of Corona, the wheels normally in motion at Frankfurt Airport came to a standstill. When the Frankfurt photographer (born 1986) visited the airport in April, 2020, with his analogue camera, the place was not, in fact, completely closed down: even so, everything appeared to have come to a halt; there was no hectic hustle and bustle in the terminals; the runway was empty. In this unusual quiet, Krause turned his eye towards things and details that are often overlooked: special features of the architecture; items left behind by travellers; the interplay of light and shadow. He offers a fascinating glimpse into a seemingly surreal world. The photo book is a document of these times that is both disturbing and accomplished, and leaves the reader with a sense of being caught between melancholy and hopeful longing.
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