The Living Mountain

Awoiska van der Molen, Fw:Books, RRP€30

The title of the latest work by van der Molen, and the accompanying musical score by Thomas Larcher in response to her images, comes from Nan Shepherd’s 1977 book of poetic prose. Shepherd was writing about the Cairngorms in Scotland; van der Molen was photographing in Tyrol, Austria. Her images carry a universality. The rich, monochromatic landscapes are devoid of any signs of humanity. The blacks are so deep you get vertigo the longer you stare into them.

Hip Hop Years, New York, 1982–1992

Janette Beckman, Café Royal Books, RRP£6

Janette Beckman moved to New York City in 1983 after beginning her career in the UK photographing music scenes for the likes of The Face and Melody Maker. She quickly found herself immersed in the city’s burgeoning hip hop scene, photographing pioneers like Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC and Salt’n’Pepa. It’s rare for Café Royal to venture out of the UK for one of its publications, but having previously published Beckman’s Mods and Rockers Raw Streets and Raw Punk Streets it feels like a natural move.


Issei Suda, Chose Commune, RRP€55

The latest imprint from this French-Japanese publishing house contains 78 unseen images by Suda, whose work is little-known outside Japan. Suda died (at the age of 78) just two months after Chose Commune agreed to work with him on this publication. Mostly taken on the streets of Tokyo, children and animals form a central theme. There’s an off-kilter humour to many of the pictures, and the sequencing and flow emphasises Suda’s predilection for the uncanny.

Borders of Nothingness: On the Mend

Margaret Lansink, IBASHO / the(M) Editions, RRP€70

In an attempt to understand her adult daughter’s decision to suspend contact with her, Margaret Lansink combines abstracted female nudes with grainy, unplaceable landscapes. The result is a surreal, psychological tension. In a number of images, Lansink uses Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with lacquer mixed with powdered gold; finding beauty and strength in that which is broken.

Keeper of the Hearth

Odette England, Schilt Publishing, RRP€60

2020 marks 40 years since the publication of Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, one of the most important philosophical works written on photography. In Keeper of the Hearth, Odette England has invited over 200 photographers, artists, writers and critics to respond to the unseen image of five-year-old Barthes and his mother, known as the Winter Garden photograph, that Camera Lucida centres around. It is an expansive book that asks questions about the nature of photography itself, its power to shape and transform memory. As curator Charlotte Cotton notes, it shows the “enduring capacity of Barthes’ writing to be a creative springboard for many.”

All this week, FT writers and critics choose their favourites — from politics, economics, science and history to art, tech, food and wellness. Novels, poetry and audiobooks feature too. Explore the series here

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