The Books: Winter’s Tales
- As the cold weather sets in, we cosy up with a new selection of book titles from Magnum photographers and award-winning chefs…
Photography Shona Wass
“A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot.”
— Alan Bennett
A Work In Progress –
by René Redzepi
Stacked and tied with a yellow band parcel tie, this trio of volumes by Noma’s award-winning head chef René Redzepi is presented as a gift. The detail couldn’t be any more fitting. A Work in Progress is a veritable treat, as through Redzepi’s personal journal (written every day over the course a year, recording the restaurant’s ongoing battle with the severe Nordic weather, and its ritual decimation of their produce) you gain an unprecedented insight into the mind and workings of arguably the best chef in the world. Through Redzepi’s ongoing questioning of ‘the creative process’, you meet a man who is as interested as he is interesting, humorous and humble in his appreciation of food and of life.
If the 205 page journal is the main course of this collection, then its appetiser is the playful notebook of snapshots, candidly taken in the kitchen of Noma. The plat de résistance is a hundred page collection of new recipes, organised by month and accompanied by stunning
photographs by Ditte Isager that stimulate more than just the taste buds.
In terms of design, the collection is elegantly presented. Tactile covers in shades of green and interiors marked by clean lines and elegant typography reflect the modern approach Redzepi takes with his inventive treatment of Nordic food.
Betty Wood is Port’s deputy online editor
by David Vann
William Heinemann Random House
David Vann is an author whose interest often lies in the action and consequence of violence. His first novel, Legend of a Suicide, forensically examined the recriminations of such an act and in Goat Mountain, his fourth, he sets out to describe the murder of a man by a young boy whilst out hunting with his family on the titular eminence. The terseness and simplicity of the prose inevitably invites comparison with Cormac McCarthy, but Vann is nonetheless a compelling voice in American literature. Though in his attempts to confront notions of masculinity – more often than not bound up in the imagery and rhetoric of violence – it might appear to some that he’s overly influenced by those who have preceded him, this is nonetheless an original, affecting work from a writer who stands apart.
Jolyon Webber is Port’s porter editor
by Dieter Leistner
Huge tower blocks and grand but empty spaces, oversized statues and lots of uniformed men, grey curtains and beige clothes. It could be Moscow in 1986 or East Berlin in 72. Or North Korea in 2013. Whereas most other Communist states, at least the high profile ones, fell in the late 80s, early 90s, North Korea is still going strong. Now, under the leadership of Kim Jung-un, the state continues to keep its neighbours – and the rest of the world – on its toes. Seoul and South Korea has, since the country was divided in the 50s, bore the brunt of North Korea’s aggressive unwillingness to conform to a democratic lifestyle. Like in Berlin, when the wall went up, families are still divided, living on different sides of the border. But they’re one people sharing history, customs and traditions… and they used to enjoy the same religion, rights and sense of freedom.
If you were to photograph similar places, occasions and people in the two Korean states – like Dieter Leistner has done in his photo project Korea Korea – you’d see the same people living different lives. As a German, Leistner knows all about living in a divided country or city. And although there are major differences between East/West Berlin and South/North Korea, you can tell that Leistner understands the effects of abruptly cutting ties and dividing territory.
The NK images were taken in 2006, when Leistner was given access to Pyongyang, and the SK ones were added when, in 2012, the architecture photographer found himself in Seoul, looking at similar spots. Shot in a park, on the tube, in shops or people just getting on with their lives, the book shows two sides of the same life.
David Hellqvist is Port’s online editor
Sergio Larrain – Vagabond Photographer
edited by Agnès Sire
Thames & Hudson
Were you to meet late Chilean photographer Sergio Larraine in the ether, he’d likely argue that he did much of his true travelling, transcendentally, in later life. Forsaking photo journalism for spiritual pursuits in the early 70s, the term ‘vagabond’ can only be applied, really, to a prolific and influential period from the mid 50s to the mid 60s, when, as a freelance and later a member of Cartier-Bresson’s Magnum agency, he captured craggy realism on the streets of Santiago; the bustle of late 50s London and, in his most audacious and daring scoop, a snap of elusive Mafia boss Giuseppe Russo destined for the pages of Life and Paris Match. This extensive tome containing 200 photographs and assorted personal documents serves as a timely reminder of his trailblazing talent, which he chose to exercise sporadically and only in a pure “state of grace” to accompany his writing, during the period of “internal exile” which lasted until his death in 2012.
Tom Jenkins is Port’s online editorial assistant
by Francesco Franchi
For anyone with the faintest interest in the current state of newspapers, graphic design or branding – there is a new book that may need to be added to that handsome bookshelf. Francesco Franchi has delved deep into the role of the graphic designer in his book Designing News published by Gestalten, with more ambition than any other book on the subject for a long time. Not only has the author selected some of the best examples of graphic and information design (as you would expect) he’s also done his research. The range of quotes and references go from the modest designer to company president.
Aside from asking the modern designer to know the finer points of type, Franchi is expecting him/her to think as much as an editor, publisher, brand manager or CEO. The book emphasises the possibilities of the designer in any context as a vital conduit between brand and consumer – to bring clarity, identity, consistency (and all those magic boardroom words) to a brand’s message. Designing News also whole heartily embraces the digital world, and the role of the designer within that: Smart phone vs tablet sales, consumer magazine and newspaper figures, advertising revenues and so on… Indeed I could go on, but I suspect you’d have more fun sipping a glass of fine Italian red with the book in hand…
Kuchar Swara is Port’s creative director
by Colin McDowell
Colin McDowell has produced an archive cataloguing the relationship the human body has had with the way it’s clothed, dating back to Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel right through to modern day in his largest book to date, The Anatomy of Fashion published through Phaidon. McDowell relates through an array of categorised photographs, illustrations, paintings and advertisements the power and significance of what we wear or what we don’t wear can have on our identity. From ‘Head to Waist’ and then from ‘Hips to Feet’, no bits have been left out not even the naughty ones.
Alex Petsetakis is Port’s fashion editor