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Monthly Design Review - January 2019

This month features the results of a recent weekend in Berlin, where I visited book stores and dug through crates at some book sales events. Here are the uncovered gems, to inspire us all for the new year:


STRANGER IN POLAROID (Otto Grokenberger, 2018)

in 1984 German producer Otto Grokenberger collaborated with Jim Jarmusch on the film "Stranger Than Paradise". 32 years later he re-discovered in his attic two unmarked boxes of Polaroids from the film’s set and production. These are the only color photographs that exist of the film locations, sets, actors, and costumes.

Buy the book here.


STAGED CONFUSION (Boris Becker, 2016)

The German photographer Boris Becker, one of the prominent representatives of the Düsseldorf School, became known for his photo series of bunkers, apartment buildings, and bridge constructions in the 1980s.

In this book, accompanying a 2016 exhibition, Becker investigates different forms of chaos in interior and exterior spaces. He documents varied spaces across countries and continents - construction sites, excavations, rooftops, workshops, sweatshops, and kitchens - featuring the beauty of the mundane, sometimes unexplained world surrounding us.

Buy the book here.


EDGES (Harry Gruyert, 2018)

Belgian photographer Harry Gruyert, a Magnum member, presents an extraordinary collection of images exploring the edges where land meets oceans, seas and rivers. Photographed in locations such as Israel’s Dead Sea, the Mali River in Niger, the North Sea of Iceland, South Korea and Biarritz, the images compare and contrast various points of meeting.

Gruyert's camera, as always, creates lush and rich images. The blue of the sea is ever-changing, as is the scenery and the quotidian moments captured by this talented photographer.

Buy the book here.

Read an essay by the American sculptor Richard Nonas, “Blurred Boundaries” on Gruyert's "Edges" here.


CHRONOPHAGIA (Robert Polidori, 2014)

"Chronophagia" is a collection of photos from Robert Polidori's many projects, some well-known and some rarely. Selected by the photographer, the images reflect Polidori's deep commitment to exploring colors and textures, as well at the psychological aspect of things left behind.

Buy the book here.


ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG - Photographs 1949-1962 (Schirmer/Mosel 2011)

Robert Rauschenberg's engagement with photography began in the late 1940s at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Over time Rauschenberg maintained a practice of photographing friends and family, documenting the evolution of artworks and his travels around the world. The book includes portraits of friends such as Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, Merce Cunningham and John Cage, as well as studio shots, photographs used in the Combines series, silkscreens, photographs of lost works and works in progress.

Purchase the book here.



This collection of photographs, taken during Wim Wenders' extensive travels and while location scouting for his films, convey his constant search for moments of beauty and wonder. From vast empty landscapes to street fronts in populated cities, Wenders poetically documents the transient nature of time, as well as history and the idiosyncrasies of different places - villages and landscapes of the United States and Havana, the forests and temples of Japan, the coast of Galilee and the endless roads of the deserted Australian outback.

Buy the book here.

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