This year, the French newspaper Libération, founded in Paris in 1973 by French existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre and journalist Serge July, published the top 10 photography books of 2017. The list included two books printed at the KOPA printing house: Bleu by Alix Marie and Man Next Door by Rob Hornstra.
Alix Marie is a young French-born artist currently based in London, working across the mediums of photography, sculpture and installation. Her creative work focuses on our relationship with our bodies and their representation.
Bleu is Alix Marie's first book, revealing the parallels between skin and photography: the surface and fragility as well as the secrets and taboos related to this subject. Marie's creative style combines sculpture, photography and installation art. Her work explores our relationship with our bodies through objectification, fragmentation, magnification and accumulation.
In this case, a photograph is primarily considered an object and is studied through the prism of materiality, touch and three-dimensionality. Thanks to the use of artistic paper, varnish and laminate, Blue catches the attention, inviting us to touch, explore and be absorbed by it. The book has also joined the library at the Tate Modern.
Bleu was released in a limited edition of 300 copies.
44 pages, print and lamination + PVC cover.
Rob Horsntra is a Dutch photographer mostly working on long-term documentary photography projects in the Netherlands and around the world. He has several books and albums under his belt, as well as publications in various international magazines, and has participated in numerous exhibitions. Four times a year, the artist also runs a popular live talk show about photography books in Utrecht.
Man Next Door is a photography book documenting the life of Rob's neighbour Kid. Kid was only 42 when he was found floating in a Utrecht canal. While still alive, Kid swept his and the author's shared porch, put out the garbage and kept an eye on things when Rob was away. Kid couldn't read very well, so Rob helped him with his post and lent him his phone for calls. Occasionally, Kid would briefly disappear, having to serve a sentence for some minor offence. Hi life was tumultuous; he struggled with alcohol and drug addiction and he was banned from seeing his son.
The book is based on Utrecht police reports. The family photos included in the book come from Kid's personal albums. The design was developed by Sybren Kuipen. The book takes a closer look at the marginalisation of the working class, offering a rare chance to get an insight into these people's lives through the author's photographs, family snapshots and police reports. What emerges is a startling portrait of Kid's multiple personalities, inevitably raising the question: How well do we know the people who live next door?
Self-published; hardcover; 96 pages, 54 colour photographs, format: 24.2x29.1 cm.
More information on Libération's top 10 list of photography books here.