LFI Special: Photo Books

December 14, 2023

Leica classics and book recommendations: the LFI editorial team has made a selection from among the wealth of new publications.
Once again, we would like to end the year by introducing a selection of newly-released publications. These are books that have caught our attention, but have not yet found a place in the LFI magazine or a blog. On this occasion, we are presenting six photo books – predominantly by Leica photographers, or dedicated to classic Leica photographers, whose work has appeared in special monographs or exhibition catalogues. They include: New York photographer Phil Penman; a visual homage to Inge Morath by Kurt Kaindl; a comprehensive picture biography about Josef Koudelka; a friendly glimpse into the work of Ernst Haas; and two books complementing exhibitions about Mary Ellen Mark and Ernst Scheidegger. With these recommendations, we are inviting you to enlarge your own personal photo library, or discover ideas for your gift list. The editorial team hopes you enjoy reading our introductions to them.
Ulrich Rüter

Kurt Kaindl: After Work. In the Home of Inge Morath+-

Kaindl_1_Cover_Im Haus von IM
108 pages, 84 black and white pictures, 27 × 19 cm, German/English

A personal tribute in honour of the centenary of the distinguished Magnum photographer Inge Morath (1923-2002). From 1990 until her passing, Austrian photographer Kurt Kaindl (born 1954) and his wife, author Brigitte Blüml-Kaindl, visited Morath at her property in Roxbury, Connecticut, about twice a year. This is where she lived and worked with her husband, Arthur Miller; and where numerous photo books and exhibition concepts were devised, together with Fotohof publishing company. Over the years of collaboration, and shortly before the house was closed in 2018, Kaindl documented the special atmosphere in the place. The precious time they spent together was reserved for intense discussions about photography, so that Kaindl only ever captured his black and white motifs after each encounter. And the shots were not of tidy interiors, but rather of rooms where it appears as though Morath has just walked out. (Fotohof-Edition, volume Nr. 359)

Josef Koudelka: Next. A Visual Biography by Melissa Harris+-

352 pages, 282 images, 18.5 x 24 cm, English

He is considered a bit of a loner, but his work defines him as one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. Until now, no one had been so close to the Czech Magnum photographer (born 1938). In this first comprehensive look at Koudelka's life and work, author Melissa Harris explores his sixty-year obsession with the medium: from his early interpretations of Czech theatre, all the way to his long-term project about Roma culture in eastern Europe; from his legendary reports on the Soviet 1968 invasion of Prague, to the loneliness of exile and the often devastating consequences people had on the landscape. For nearly a decade, Harris spent hundreds of hours interviewing the artist and talking with his friends, family, colleagues and co-workers around the world. This cleverly-narrated and richly-illustrated biographic photo book offers revealing insight into Koudelka's artistic development, within the context of his life story and his approach to his work. (Aperture)

Phil Penman: New York Street Diaries+-

224 pages, 195 black and white pictures, 27.5 x 34 cm, English/German

Anyone who visits the LFI Online Gallery regularly will have surely noted his photographs of New York. Born in Great Britain in 1977, and currently living in New York City, Penman has been capturing black and white images of his home town for the past 25 years. Exciting geometrics, the interplay of light and shadow, chance encounters and precise compositions: his unmistakable style documents the people and architecture of the metropolis, capturing both its glitz and glamour, and, at times, its shabbiness. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, he has preferred to find moments of calm, and a certain melancholy – in particular on those occasions when the great snowstorm or the corona lockdown presented a completely transformed urban setting. The photographer is an impressive master at depicting the city in its most sensitive moments, and always manages to surprise even the greatest connoisseurs and lovers of the Big Apple. (teNeues

Inge Bondi: Ernst Haas. Letters & Stories+-

160 pages, 57 colour and b/w images, 16.6 x 23.4 cm, English

A very personal book of photos and texts that covers the long-standing connection between Magnum photographer Ernst Haas (1921-1986) and Inge Bondi. Many books could be written about Bondi, alone, and her role at Magnum. The 98-year-old author was born in Berlin, and joined the Magnum office in New York in 1950, working closely with the photographer over the following twenty years. Only a few female employees enjoyed this kind of insight and interaction with the very different photographers who still epitomise the image of the legendary cooperative during its founding phase. With thirteen chapters and an epilogue, the book includes letters, poems and diary entries, unpublished till now, that convey Bondi's personal memories of Haas. And, of course, it includes a selection of wonderful pictures by the Austrian photographer, who became a full member of the agency in 1950, and was also its president at the end of the fifties. (Damiani)

Mary Ellen Mark: Encounters+-

232 pages, 204 pictures, 24 x 30 cm, German and English

Mary Ellen Mark, Encounters
Her work is considered one of the most influential contributions to American photojournalism. The photo book, complementing the retrospective currently on display at the C/O Berlin exhibition space, offers exciting insight into her most significant series and projects. Her multi-award-winning work, produced in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia, was published regularly in distinguished magazines and newspapers. It has also been given an afterlife in the form of books, which were to make the photographer's direct and empathetic imagery famous. With great awareness and sensitivity, her personal projects and commissioned works primarily captured the lives of marginalised groups. Whether her subject was street kids in Seattle, psychiatric patients in Oregon, or prostitutes in Mumbai, her often long-term – in some cases over a number of decades – projects continue to exemplify, to this day, a documentary photography guided by humanistic ideals. (Steidl)

The exhibition at C/O Berlin runs until January 18, 2024.

Ernst Scheidegger: Photographer+-

248 pages, 12 colour and 168 b/w images, 23 x 30 cm, German and English

Photographer, artist, picture editor, publisher, gallerist: a new monograph dedicated to the important Swiss Magnum photographer (1923-2016) has appeared on the occasion of his centenary, and complements a retrospective being held at the Kunsthaus Zürich. The photo book, published by the Foundation Ernst Scheidegger Archive, presents many pieces unpublished till now. These include artist portraits in particular; but also early works that received little exposure at the time. Scheidegger studied at the School for Arts and Crafts in Zurich. He attended the photography classes run by Hans Finsler, where he met Werner Bischof and later became his assistant. Starting in the fifties, Scheidegger produced numerous international reportages, of which only excerpts are presented in this new photo book. The enterprising photographer was picture editor of the weekend supplement of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (newspaper) from 1960 to 1989. He founded his own publishing house in 1962, and co-founded the Scheidegger & Spiess publishing house in 1997. This book offers an exciting glimpse into the life of the multi-talent. (Scheidegger & Spiess)

The exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich runs until January 21, 2024.


LFI Special: Photo Books