Good books deserve to be well-photographed, and there’s no one better to do this job than small publication fanatic Claire Cottrell. As well as being a photographer, film director, creative director, and editor, Claire is also the Los Angeles editor of Berlin-based Freunde von Freunden and founder of LA’s best art book shop, Book Stand. The shop specialises in “unique art books, independently published magazines, films and vintage publications,” things that Claire absolutely lives for.
Her top five is a beautifully shot collection of small, charming publications that she holds dear to her heart for the tiny details the creators put in specifically for people like her. I don’t know about you, but after seeing this I’d love to have a peek at the rest of her bookshelf, or maybe her home. I bet it’s full of treasures.
Here and There Vol. 10: the BLUE issue
In 2002 Elein Fleiss, editor-in-chief of Purple Journal, said "the moment I first saw it remains in my memory as an important event in the world of independent magazines.” Here and There is the magazine of one person, Nakako Hayashi and it’s remarkable. Each one takes a different form and layout. There’s always a simple theme like house and garden or the unexpected travelling issue or the BLUE issue. Hayashi sums it up by saying she decided to focus on “the blue hour that adds colour to our lives, while also dealing with the colour itself.” In Japanese and English, it’s charming, insightful, informative, beautiful and deeply profound. I found this volume at IKO IKO in Los Angeles.
COSMIC WONDER Light Source 3
COSMIC WONDER Free Press defines itself as “an open-ended book project that, like a diary, expresses the present state of cosmic wonder in printed form.” For this photo book of COSMIC WONDER’s third collection, four photographers described four scenes of everyday life as they splinter into light streams, catching the manifold reflections of universal love. Through the collections they pursued white magic – the spiritual freedom of love. I appreciate the reverence for beauty and imagination.
A Tale of Three Cities #2: The Homes Issue (London, Berlin, Paris)
I picked this up at do you read me?! in Berlin last fall. It’s a mix of essays, poetry and photography depicting London, Berlin and Paris. Midway through the book there’s a series of photographs of found flowers paired with poetic stories that are a few lines long. One pressed violet flower is tucked between the pages in a small clear envelope.
Alexandre Thumerelle: Bon Voyage
This is written by the owner of Ofr., an enchanting book shop in the Marais in Paris that specialises in beautiful books and ideas. Bon Voyage is exactly what the title tells you it is – beautiful images that capture the life and light in Crete along with a lyrical look at a way of life that inspires health and happiness. Alex writes of the sun and the sea, of wild herbs for tea, of vitality, long walks and planting trees. He then writes of bringing it all back to Paris. It’s a very personal book. From the heart and for the spirit.
Jordan Sullivan: Natural History
Jordan is a rare talent. He is as good a photographer as he is a writer. He combines image and text in a sublime and intimate way. He believes very much in the tangible and the energy something holds when it’s been made by hand. Natural History is a set of books he made in 2012 after a show by the same name. He describes it as “climbing trees of ash to heaven.” The handmade edition of 15 was then published by Pau-Wau Publications. The photographs are all originals, as are the collages, prints and drawings. He painted or wrote on each page and pasted dried flowers by hand. No two copies are alike. It’s a beautiful representation of the book as a work of art. It shows the possibility of the artist’s book as a medium.