das buchlabor
über bücher
und fotografie


Paris Mortel – Retouchè

The book Paris Mortel - Retouchè is published in 2013 by Van Zoetendaal Publishers. It is a exquisite work-up of a rare and wonderful photobook Paris Mortel from the early 1960s from the Dutch photographer Johan van der Keuken. A book about a book, meticulously researched by van Zoetendaal, prepared with excellent typographic design and published in a advanced form of the book medium. He presents a selection of Van der Keukens photographs in a classic image layout within exquisite print quality. He presents to us reproductions of the first marquette from 1958, designed by van der Keuken itself, and bound from original photo paper prints in 24x30cm size as unique form without text content, now here shown on gray background. And he presents reproductions of the 1963 printed edition of the book Paris Mortel  consistently shown even with the endpapers. This book was a small print run for the publisher C.Boers as their gift and is accordingly rare and highly sought after. It is one of the most interesting photographic publications of this time, so is considered van Zoetendaals book a late tribute to Van Der Keukens work.


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Barents Lessons: Teaching and Research in Architecture 

The book “Barents Lessons: Teaching and Research in Architecture” represents the results of a research project under the direction of Prof. Harry S. Gugger (LaBa) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne EPFL to the thesis of urban habitat in the Northern Ocean. The book combines complex graphs, illustrations, photographs, text and cartography in a impressive mixture.Various types of paper, foldout tableaux, poster as cover and a register is used for the organization of the complex structures. For me it is the most interesting book of the year 2013 in the section ‘science books’ in our research project. It also got many awards, such as among the “best Swiss books”, “best German books” and also among the “most beautiful books in the world” each to be there in selection of the final ten.  The book was hopelessly out of print immediatly after its release. In the meanwhile the book has got a successor from the same source: “Swiss Lessons” also published by Park Books with same design studio: Typography Cabinet, Basel.


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Gilles Peress – The Silence

The book ” The Silence” of the Magnum photographer Gilles Peress is his third published project as book media. After ” Telex Iran “, a landmark journalism and media work and after ” Farewell to Bosnia” , this book was published in 1995 right after the end of the war in Rwanda in 1994. This marks the twentieth year of remembrance on these days, so it makes sense to refer back to this unique book again. In unyielding near manner and with immediacy Peress makes us to experience those affected in refugee camps and supplements these with images of evidence recordings of the incredible happened. In just three months, 800.000 people were slaughtered with machetes. ” The Silence” tells its content exclusively on double-sided black and white photographs, black on inked paper – white color is exclusively reserved for the few headlines that divide the generous photo spreads in three chapters with biblical titles. As own part, independently printed and bound on blue paper, a listed chronicle of the genocide in the early summer of 1994 is enclosed.
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James Nasmyth, James Carpenter – The Moon

The book from James Nasmyth and James Carpenter – with full title ” The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World , and a Satellite.” – has been published first in 1874 by John Murray Publishers, London. This book, presented here in the second edition from 1885, shows photographic images of craters and landscapes of the moon’s surface together with a attempted  theorem on their physical development. At a time when the exact observation of the lunar surface with telescopes was only visually and insufficiently possible, the two scientists did use the modern technical medium photography and its relation to reality in order to achieve the utopia of a realistic image. They formed detailed large-scale vaulted plaster models after drawings allowed by observing the surface. Photographs of these models with a large-format plate camera at correspondingly steep sunlight have been made to achieve a perfect technical realist illusion of authentic moon photographs. In the book the grid-free woodburytype print technic was chosen, enabled the typical appearance of photographic paper in contrast and tonal range, even if this was applicable only in modest print runs. This technically complex and qualitatively unique solution is a very important aspect that has made ​​the incredibly realistic illusion of the  ”moon pictures ” possible. Later editions of this book have been realized with heliogravure printing never could create this perfect illusion. It took until the 1960ties of the 20th century and the Lunar Orbiter images ( presented here as well as NASA publication ), till this incredible work has been confirmed with real photographs of the moon surface. The work of Nasmyth has got honored with name “Nasmyth” for one of the moon craters.


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