Fascinating Subcultures

Hidden Islam

Hidden Islam

Nicoló Degiorgis

From the introduction by Martin Parr: Consider these facts. In Italy the right to worship, without discrimination, is enshrined within the constitution. There are 1.35 million Muslims in Italy and yet, officially, only eight mosques in the whole country. One consequence is that the Muslim population have accumulated a huge number of makeshift and temporary places of worship. These are housed in a variety of buildings including lock ups, garages, shops, warehouses and old factories. This shortage of places to worship is particularly acute in north east Italy – where the photographer Nicolò Degiorgis lives – home to many anti-Islamic campaigns headed by the right wing party Lega Nord. The dull images of the many and diverse buildings that house the makeshift mosques are printed on folded pages. You open up the gatefold to reveal the scenes inside the mosques, shot in full colour. The size of the gatherings varies, from large crowds who sometimes pray outside to a small room full to bursting, or to intimate groups of two or three Muslims. Degiorgis provides a fascinating glimpse of hidden world and leaves the conclusions about this project entirely in our own hands.

15m2 of Freedom

15m2 of Freedom

Angeniet Berkers

On just a few squatted terrains in The Netherlands there are people who choose to live trucks, vans or trailers. It is fascinating to see how these people ‘obtain’ their freedom because it isn’t always that easy to live this way. There isn’t so much space, the water isn’t always running, a toilet (compost toilet) usually is a little further down the road, you have to chop wood to heat the stove before having a little warmth etc… The daily life has a real different pace then that of us hasty city people. Most of the terrains have evolved into cultural breeding ground where festivals and concerts take place every year. In the Netherlands it’s a subculture that has become more and restricted because of the repressive policy of the government and project developers. It has become expected of everyone to live in a ‘normal’ way – in a house. It takes a lot of courage and persistence to choose an alternative way to live. The left activist scene in the Netherlands isn’t what it used to be. How different is this in Germany, where squatting never has been legal in the first place. Every big city has a couple of terrains where people live in busses or trailers. ‘15m2 of freedom’ is about the search for freedom and the constant paradox that follows with it. Will you get a sense of freedom when you reduce your possessions and throw away all excess baggage? Isn’t it just a ‘state of mind’ that allows a person not to care so much about what one ‘should’ do, or is ‘supposed’ to do. And what if the terrain you are living on is maybe going to be evicted?

Burning Down the House

Burning Down the House

A photographic study of Berliner graffiti writers

Norman Behrendt

“To be a writer is a big secret. It’s the biggest secret that I keep from my parents. You don’t tell many people, you only tell people who you can trust. There’s a big impulse to maintain secrecy.”
– Duko. <br> The photobook burning down the house offers an in depth look at Berlin’s graffiti writer scene for the first time. Against the backdrop of publicly accessible and non-accessible surfaces being continually written upon, a constant presence of the subject in the media in relation to the surveillance of public space, the increasing costs of removal on behalf of transport companies and the accompanying harsher penalties for graffiti offences, the author Norman Behrendt has over a five year period approached the subject of graffiti writing in his own way. Detached from stereotypes and with the conscious decision to forgo the depic-tion of graffiti, Behrendt aims to introduce the anonymous authors of Berlin’s public space and give a human face to the often-discussed subject of the illegal writing on the wall. Instead of accompanying the graffiti writers on their nocturnal adventures and photographing them in action at the scene of their work’s execution, Behrendt decided on quieter alternative – a portrait. The photobook burning down the house includes about 80 portraits of very differently operating graffiti writers. It consists of two different photographic portrait series. For the first series Behrendt met the writers with an analog medium format camera and a precise concept, which included two important questions: 1. In which location should the portrait be created? and, 2. How would the person like to reveal themself? For the second series Behrendt photo-graphed the writers with a Polaroid camera so that they were recognizable, and thus possibly identifiable, in the subway stations of Berlin. He then gave them back the Polaroid photo and asked their permission to use the image, so that it could be published. The resulting portraits testify in an illustrative way to the tense relationship between visibility and anonymity, between possible recognition and the accompanying possible identification by third parties, or, ultimate-ly, even the police. Finally, the book contains 76 interviews with the individual artists. It creates an intimate picture of the protagonists, which manifests itself in their answers to the questions of motivation, their own representation and their selected locations.

Night and Day

Night and Day

David Armstrong

Night & Day brings together a selection of iconic Kodachrome pictures from David Armstrong's archive of the late 70's and early 80's New York scene. The images illuminate an intimate and carefree epoch of innocent-bohemian wilderness -a time just before the tumultous 80's. Dispersed through out the series are images of generation of youngsters which changed culture - including Rene Ricard, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jean-Michel Basquait, John Waters to mention a few. Vernacular yet with a undeniable ability to capture and create timeless images, David Armstrong's Night & Day tells tales of a bygone era. The book contains 110 images, including a facsimile of an original poem typed out in 1979 by Rene Ricard. We also tracked down Rene to design the cover of the book and have a conversation between David Armstrong and Jack Pierson!

Do You Believe in Magic?

Do You Believe in Magic?

Jude Star

'Do You Believe in Magic?' is an intimate visual exploration of the psychedelic festival culture of British Columbia, Canada. Toronto based photographer Jude Star immerses himself in this unique subversive culture where weirdness and self-exploration is intentionally cultivated and celebrated through consciousness altering substances and activities. All photos are taken on 35mm colour negative film.

The Mecca of Coney Island

The Mecca of Coney Island

Fabrizio Albertini

"In the opening scenes of the first ‘Rocky’ (1976), Balboa is always holding a handball ball. For the aspiring boxer, a perfect archetype of the crude and penniless hero and destined to achieve the ‘American dream’, that is probably a simple exercise to train reflexes and a form of escapism from the problems of a difficult life. A game reminiscent of childhood, that contrasts with his bully appearance, highlighting a more sensitive side. I don’t know if the characters portrayed by Fabrizio Albertini have the same desire for social advancement or the same sensibility of Sylvester Stallone, but I see in them a certain kind of swagger, an attitude of defiance. Yet they didn’t seem very young and they appear to belong to different social classes, although giving the idea of a community, with its own rituals.It also takes little to play: an open space and a concrete wall to bounce the ball on. A game that can get pretty darn serious. You’re in a place where for 50 years the best players have been meeting, the ‘Kings of Coney Island’, to see who is the champion of this exciting challenge, demanding and at times brutal, very similar to boxing if it wasn’t for the ball. Maybe that’s why many of them behold the ‘eyes of the Tiger’… Welcome to Coney Island. Welcome to Mecca!" –Andrea Botto

Sorry for Damage Done

Sorry for Damage Done

Vincent Wittenberg

The starting point for this project was the discovery of a massive database of photographs made by cleaning companies in Eindhoven, a city in the Netherlands known for its industrial heritage, including the Philips factories. Between 2007 and 2013, these companies were commissioned to remove unauthorised images from municipal property in the city’s public space. As evidence of their work, they photographed each site twice – before and after cleaning – which resulted in a huge archive of 50,000 images. Often, the dull images are unintentionally exciting and amusing, or contain a fascinating play between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ states. Sometimes one can wonder about the need for cleaning when the results are not necessarily an improvement of the old situation. But luckily, one can also find severely degraded locations being neatly refurbished. When the authors, Vincent Wittenberg and Wladimir Manshanden, stumbled upon this bizarre collection, they immediately appreciated its historic value. The database is a meticulous seven-year inventory of the graffiti and sticker culture in Eindhoven and exposes the city’s struggle with the ambivalence of combatting vandalism versus embracing subcultures. It also documents urban space as a territory where a wide range of people leave their mark. Sorry for Damage Done represents three percent of the entire database: more than fifteen hundred chronologically ordered photographs of graffiti and their ‘cleaned-up’ counterparts. Including the essay The Destruction of Non Art by Christian Omodeo, who reflects on the debate on the dividing line between art and vandalism.

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