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    11 Edgy New Photo Books That Will Make You Look (and Think) Twice

    The latest provocations from Annie Leibovitz, Nan Goldin, Brian Ulrich, and others who document the bizarre, the bygone, and the adorable

    ANNIE LEIBOVITZ
    Steve Martin, Graydon Carter, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Paul Roth
    TASCHEN Books
    Price: $2,500

    There have been plenty of Annie Leibovitz books over the years, but this one might top them all. So big it comes with its own stand, Annie Leibovitz covers the span of her career, from her gritty work at Rolling Stone to the polished portraits for Vogue and Vanity Fair. Embedded in its pages is a history of pop culture, from Queen Elizabeth II to Lady Gaga, from Richard Nixon to Tony Soprano.

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    Annie Leibovitz, Nicole Kidman and Baz Luhrmann, New York City, 2008.

    ©ANNIE LEIBOVITZ/TASCHEN.

    NAN GOLDIN: EDEN AND AFTER
    Phaidon
    Price: $100

    Nan Goldin’s photos have not always been rated PG-13, but children have been a long-running presence in them. Collected here are more than 300 images of exuberant and mischievous kids — the children of her subjects, who double as her close friends. Frank and open, the naked toddlers and moody adolescents are as comfortable as their parents were revealing themselves to Goldin’s camera.

    Left: Nan Goldin, The cow girl, Providence, RI, 1991. Right: Nan Goldin, Ulrika, Sweden, 1998.

    ©NAN GOLDIN.

    THE WAITING GAME
    Photographs by Txema Salvans, text by Martin Parr, John Carlin
    Editorial RM
    Price: $61

    Posing as a surveyor, Barcelona-born photographer Txema Salvans spent six years secretly recording the women who work as roadside prostitutes along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, where the work is legal. Dressed sometimes only in lingerie, the women sit on folding chairs or crumpled on the curb in the brutal sun in a series that offers a harsh picture of a desolate life.

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    Txema Salvans, Murcia C-3223 2010.

    ©EDITORIAL RM.

    MEMORY CITY
    Photographs by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb
    Radius Books
    Price: $60

    Rochester, in upstate New York, has been the home of Kodak since the company’s start in 1888. When it declared bankruptcy in 2012, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb decided to use film made by the company to shoot the city. For the project, Webb used his last rolls of Kodachrome, the famous but now-discontinued film, developing it as hazy black and white since its special color process is no longer available. The results look like any struggling but hopeful city, quiet but proud.

    Alex Webb, Dance Hall, Lake Ontario.

    COURTESY THE ARTISTS AND RADIUS BOOKS.

    BRIAN ULRICH: CLOSE OUT—RETAIL RELICS AND EPHEMERA
    Edited and with introduction by Ashley Kistler, text by Will Steacy
    Interview by Ashley Kistler
    VCUarts Anderson Gallery
    Price: $20

    Brian Ulrich has made consumerism and its discontents his subject for the last ten years, photographing failed malls and scenes from thrift stores. Here for the first time is Ulrich’s collection of ephemera that relates to the same topic. From pictures documenting 1950s prosperity found in a defunct newspaper archive to an electric sign from a closed mall in Texas, these artifacts tell a compelling American story.

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    Brian Ulrich, Jewel Food Store, Lake Meadows Center, Chicago, 1954.

    COLLECTION OF BRIAN ULRICH/COURTESY VCUARTS ANDERSON GALLERY.

    TOUCHING STRANGERS
    Photographs by Richard Renaldi, introduction by Teju Cole
    Aperture
    Price: $45

    At first glance, there’s something unsettled about the men and women in Richard Renaldi’s casual double portraits. Although the poses suggest closeness—hands intertwine and arms drape over shoulders—his subjects hold their bodies carefully. Collected here are photos taken since 2007, when Renaldi began approaching strangers on the street and asking them to interact. The results are tender testaments to the power of intimacy.

    Richard Renaldi, Vincent and Charles, 2012, Los Angeles, CA from Touching Strangers (Aperture, May 2014). ©RICHARD RENALDI.

    Richard Renaldi, Vincent and Charles, 2012, Los Angeles, CA.

    ©RICHARD RENALDI.

    DANIEL SCHUMANN: INTERNATIONAL ORANGE
    Edited by Daniel Schumann, Christof Kerber
    Kerber Verlag
    Price: $51

    In Daniel Schumann’s cheery photos, life in San Francisco takes on an idyllic cast. Among pastel views of the city’s street grid are upbeat portraits of LGBT families of diverse races. While the lives pictured here are unremarkable to many, Schumann, who moved to the city from Germany as a Fulbright scholar, found the city’s embrace of difference to be exciting, and this book continues the work exporting San Francisco’s famous acceptance.

    Daniel Schumann, David and Peter, 2013.  ©DANIEL SCHUMANN.

    Daniel Schumann, David and Peter, 2013.

    ©DANIEL SCHUMANN.

    TOY STORIES: PHOTOS OF CHILDREN FROM AROUND THE WORLD AND THEIR FAVORITE THINGS
    Photographs by Gabriele Galimberti
    Abrams Image
    Price: $25

    In Dallas, a boy stands among his fleet of tiny airplanes; a girl in Port-au-Prince sits with her single doll and its four dresses in a room built by an NGO. For almost two years Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti photographed kids around the world with the objects they cherish. Though their circumstances are varied, children in these photos share an imagination that brings an array of colorful plastic to life.

    Gabriele Galimberti, Maudy, 3 Kalulushi, Zambia from Toy Stories: Photos of Children from Around the World and Their Favorite Things, published by Abrams. COURTESY GABRIELE GALIMBERTI/INSTITUTE.

    Gabriele Galimberti, Maudy, 3 Kalulushi, Zambia.

    COURTESY GABRIELE GALIMBERTI/INSTITUTE.

    PUNKS
    Essay and photographs by Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon
    GOST Books
    Price: $34

    Knorr and Richon’s images of the London punk scene are seductive and repelling, sometimes in the same shot. Made as a collaboration when both were students in 1976 and ’77, the graphic black and white shots show glamorous and scruffy youth with artful hair and piercings, occasionally covered in swastikas.

    From PUNKS by Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon. ©KAREN KNORR AND OLIVIER RICHON. COURTESY GOST BOOKS.

    A 1977 photo shot in London, from PUNKS.

    ©KAREN KNORR AND OLIVIER RICHON. COURTESY GOST BOOKS.

    DOLCE VIA: ITALY IN THE 1980s
    Photographs by Charles H. Traub
    Damiani
    Price: $48

    Charles H. Traub’s work as a street photographer depends on the small gestures and ironies of public life. In these lush pictures, taken from Milan to Marsala, vivid and showy Italians enjoy their country, from a family wearing tiny Speedos and posing contrapposto like statues to a woman in a ruffled polyester shirt, sunning herself in a piazza.

    Charles Traub, Milan, 1981 from Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s. COURTESY CHARLES H. TRAUB/DAMIANI.

    Charles H. Traub, Milan, 1981 from Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s.

    COURTESY CHARLES H. TRAUB/DAMIANI.

    THE OLDEST LIVING THINGS IN THE WORLD
    Rachel Sussman, essays by Carl Zimmer and Hans Ulrich Obrist
    University of Chicago Press
    Price: $45

    A bulbous green blob of flowering plants in the Chilean desert and a “living fossil” in Namibia that resembles a collapsed sea monster—these are a few of the organisms Rachel Sussman photographed for this fascinating book. Since 2004, Sussman has worked with biologists to record specimens around the world that range in age from two to a hundred thousand years old. The stately pictures of ancient trees and prehistoric grasses are a reminder how different a single lifetime can be.

    Rachel Sussman, La Llareta #0308-2B31 (2,000+ years old; Atacama Desert, Chile), from The Oldest Living Things in the World. ©RACHEL SUSSMAN.

    Rachel Sussman, La Llareta #0308-2B31 (2,000+ years old; Atacama Desert, Chile).

    ©RACHEL SUSSMAN.

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