Photobook Quartet

The Photobook Quartet and its documentation is only available in German!

Photography is considered the leading medium of our time. But there is hardly a culture of discussion and argument ABOUT photography as is taken for granted in literature, music, film or theater. Based on the "Literary Quartet", Damian Zimmermann and Nadine Preiß (both Photoszene), Markus Schaden (The PhotoBookMuseum), Wolfgang Zurborn (Lichtblick School), Oliver Rausch and Frank Dürrach (both Fotoakademie-Koeln) as well as a changing guest discuss four photo books live and in front of an audience, sometimes lovingly and benevolently, sometimes meanly and maliciously, their heads hot. The events will be recorded by FotoTV and then put online. The Photobook Quartet+ is a format of the Internationale Photoszene Köln. The first event took place within the framework of the Photoscene Festival 2014 at the Museum of Applied Arts Cologne (MAKK), followed by the Photobook Quartet+ as a guest in the art spaces of the Michael Horbach Foundation, the Forum for Photography, the Zephyr in Mannheim and during the Cologne Art Book Fair 2015. Guests of previous editions were Renate Gruber, Claudia Dichter, Alexa Becker, Katja Stuke, Thekla Ehling, Erik Kessels, Bettina Flitner and Dr. Anja Schürmann.

All previous editions of the Photobook Quartet+ can be seen as Video+ on our Vimeo channel, the latest videos are also shown here. But only in German language!

The Photobook Quartet+ last took place on 3 June 2022 in cooperation with Dr Anja Schürmann (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen). Together with her, Frederic Lezmi (The PhotoBookMuseum) as well as Frank Dürrach and Oliver Rausch (both Fotoakademie-Koeln) presented and discussed four new photo book releases.

The four books presented were:
Jonas Bendiksen: The Book of Veles
Florian Bachmeier: In Limbo
Federico Estol: Héroes del Brillo
Bieke Depoorter: Agata

The video will follow shortly!

Previous issues:

Lois Hechenblaikner: Ischgl
The Photo Book Quartet was invited by Dr. Anja Schürmann to the KWI Essen to discuss the book "Ischgl" by Lois Hechenblaikner. Hechenblaikner has been photographing the negative effects of mass and party tourism in his homeland for almost 30 years. Because the après-ski resort of Ischgl has become synonymous with the failure to combat the corona pandemic and with the completely uncontrolled spread of the virus halfway around the world, Hechenblaikner and the Steidl publishing house have published the photo book, which shows the excesses in this resort very clearly and strikingly. Dr. Anja Schürmann, Oliver Rausch, Frank Dürrach, Nadine Preiß and Damian Zimmermann discuss the book.

Salvatore Vitale: How to secure a country
In this edition of the photo book quartet, Frank Dürrach presents the book "How to Secure a Country" by Salvatore Vitale about the numerous measures his adopted country Switzerland takes to protect the country from various dangers such as uncontrolled immigration, epidemics, wars or environmental disasters. Oliver Rausch, Nadine Preiß, Damian Zimmermann and the host Dr. Anja Schürmann will discuss with him.

Yann Mingard: Everything is up in the Air, thus our Vertigo
Dr. Anja Schürmann presents the book "Everthing is up in the Air, thus our Vertigo" by the Swiss Yann Mingard. In eight interconnected chapters, it deals with the Anthropocene, i.e. our current age since industrialization, in which humans have become the most important factor influencing the Earth and its biological, geological and atmospheric processes.

Sohrab Hura: The Coast
Nadine Preiß presents the book "The Coast" by the Indian Magnum photographer Sohrab Hura. In addition to the often colorful photographs flashed out of the darkness of often surreal, brutal and disturbing, but sometimes almost fairy-tale and dreamy situations, the second special feature of the book is the layout: in the main part of the book, each photograph is shown twice and each time juxtaposed with a different photo. This creates a very idiosyncratic dynamic that defies clear legibility. Frank Dürrach, Oliver Rausch, Damian Zimmermann as well as Dr. Anja Schürmann will discuss with her.

Tyler Mitchell: I can make you feel good
In the photo book quartet for the "Photoszene United 2021" festival, we invited two special guests: Cologne-based photography expert Simone Klein and Berlin-based publisher and photo bookseller Thomas Gust. Together we talk about the US shooting star Tyler Mitchell and his very successful book "I Can Make You Feel Good", which was published to accompany the exhibition of the same name at Foam in Amsterdam. Mitchell was the first black photographer to shoot a cover for Vogue and is currently considered one of the most successful (fashion) photographers ever.

Carolyn Drake: Knit Club 
In the photo book quartet for the "Photoszene United 2021" festival, we invited two special guests: Cologne-based photography expert Simone Klein and Berlin-based publisher and photo bookseller Thomas Gust. Together we will talk about the new book "Knit Club" by the American Magnum photographer Carolyn Drake. It was created through her collaboration with an enigmatic group of women who call themselves the "Knit Club" and who are a mixture of a gang, a mystery cult and a group of friends bound together by secrets.

Gabor Arion Kudasz: Human
Simone Klein presents the book "Human" by Hungarian photographer Gabor Arion Kudasz. His subjects include human behavior, mechanisms of memory and the environment, and for "Human" he was awarded the Capa Grand Prize. The starting point for his project was a commission from the Austrian company Wienerberger AG, which produces clay building materials and has its own collection of contemporary photography.

Christina de Middel: The Perfect Man
In this episode of the photo book quartet, Nadine Preiß has presents the book "The Perfect Man" by the Spanish artist Cristina de Middel. The starting point is the film "Modern Times" by Charlie Chaplin: De Middel reflects on the peculiar idea of masculinity in India and establishes a relationship between man, machine and work. The other panelists this time are Thomas Gust, Simone Klein, Frank Dürrach and Oliver Rausch.

Joel Sternfeld: American Prospects
Due to the Corona crisis and the event ban, we have moved the planned Photobook Quartet for the opening of the Photoszene Festival 2020 into virtual space. Together with our guest Celina Lunsford from the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, we (Frank Dürrach, Oliver Rausch, Nadine Preiß and Damian Zimmermann) took part in this Zoom webinar from our living and working rooms and the first thing we discussed was Joel Sternfeld's classic "American Prospects", newly published by Steidl.

Reng Hang
This time, the Photobook Quartet discusses the book "Ren Hang" by the Chinese photographer of the same name, who took his own life in 2017 at the age of only 29. Although his career as a photographer lasted only six years, he was one of China's most controversial contemporary photographers. His trademarks included transgressing moral and social taboos and showing his friends mostly naked and in more or less sexualised postures and absurd, provocative stagings.

Elinor Carucci: Midlife
Celina Lunsford has brought along the new book "Midlife" by Elinor Carucci for this episode of the photo book quartet. It can be seen as a kind of sequel to her first photo book "Closer" from 2002. This time we again see her and her family in very intimate, partly staged moments, only this time she is no longer the young daughter, but now has two children of her own and sees her parents, her husband and herself ageing.

Translated with (free version)

Issei Suda: Fragment of Everyday Life
This time Celina Lunsford, Frank Dürrach, Oliver Rausch, Nadine Preiß and Damian Zimmermann discuss the photo book "Fragment of Everyday Life" by the Japanese photographer Issei Suda, published by Seigensha shortly before his death. It brings together several series Suda shot in the 1980s and 1990s - including "Spot", "Normal Life" and "Elegy".