Best of 2018: Emilie Lauriola, Le Bal Books

Joanna Piotrowska’s Frantic, published by Humboldt Books
Both appealing and slightly disturbing, Joanna Piotrowska’s incisive images always manage to unlock paths for reflection and introspection whenever I look at them. Published by Humboldt Books, Frantic showcases a staged series of shelters built inside various homes with objects and materials found in each place. Focused on familial structures and their dynamics, the polish photographer explores the gestures of intimacy, power, defence and anxiety with subtlety and a high sense of visual tension.

From Frantic © Joanna Piotrowska

Fw:Books /POST Return to sender project
This joint project between Dutch publisher Fw:Books and Tokyo based bookshop POST gathered together ten never opened packages all containing books – undeliverable and returned to the Fw: office for different reasons – which were then put back on sale without any indication to the customers buying it as to what it contained, except that all books within the envelopes were sold out titles of the publisher. An inventive and sensitive idea which I’ll admit I would have loved to have had myself!

Michael Schmidt’s Waffenruhe, published by Walther König
I was thrilled that König Books republished this masterpiece of photography, for the first time and for an affordable price! Originally published in 1987 by the German photographer, it’s a striking work, translating through dark landscapes, forms and portraits all the rawness of 1980s Berlin.

Spread from Waffenruhe © Michael Schmidt, published by König Books

Solitude of Ravens Instagram feed
Every week, the secretive Japanese photography enthusiast Solitude of Ravens pulls a few books from his extensive collection of Japanese books and magazines and presents each one in a series of detailed posts. Ranging from the rare and collectible to new and affordable publications, this Instagram account is ruled only by its owner’s personal mood and taste rather than a fashion for so called “must have” photography books. Expect lots of black-and-white photography, melancholy, old Japan and, if I have to be honest, also a fair amount of rope bondage.

Benoit Grimbert’s Nuclear Winter, published by Bartleby & Co
Following on from his intimate research projects on Ian Curtis (Lips that would kiss) and David Bowie (Neuköln), French photographer and music history fanatic Benoit Grimbert has taken on the iconic, mysterious singer Nico and her time in Manchester, retracing her steps in a series of ghostly pictures, with the help of documents, her personal diary and her son Ari’s book. Published by Bartleby & Co in an edition of 10 artist books, Nuclear Winter is a highly researched project which was launched at Le Bal during an epic night and came with a separate collector’s edition of 49 original objects, vinyls, rare magazines and photos all linked to Nico. A must-see book for all the fans.

Nuclear winter © Benoit Grimbert, published by Bartleby & Co