This year’s iteration of The Photobook Lab is comprised of a curated reading room focused on long-term projects and investigative journalism. It features 20 classic and contemporary titles by Canadian and international artists and photographers tackling complex subjects through research, collaboration, and innovative forms of documentation. Many titles are self-published, or small-run editions by international independent presses, offering an array of global perspectives.
Inspired by Spanish artist Laia Abril’s exhibition in the main space of the CONTACT Gallery, A History of Misogyny Chapter Two: On Rape (2019), the reading room features Abril’s internationally acclaimed book, A History of Misogyny Chapter One: On Abortion (2017), which addresses intense issues surrounding women’s health and liberty through her unique form of photojournalism. War Sand (2019), by Donald Weber, brings together images, texts, and scientific data in collaboration with writer Larry Frolick and physicist Kevin Robbie to creatively explore the site of the D-Day invasion. David Hartt’s compelling and slightly eerie book Belvedere (2011) consists of photographs taken at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan, revealing a right-wing think tank that attempts to shift public policy and opinion further to the right. Enghelab Street | A Revolution through Books Iran 1979 – 1983 (2019), by Hannah Darabi, presents a well-mined variety of photographic and propaganda books published during the time when freedom of speech prevailed at the end of the Shah’s regime. Invasion 68 Prague (2008), by Josef Koudelka, includes nearly 250 images that document the Soviet-led invasion of Prague with text by three Czech writers, which together provide a nuanced examination of the invasion.
The Photobook Lab features a wide range of artists and photographers working in the medium, exploring timely and important subjects in thoughtful and innovative ways. It aims to be an interactive space where visitors can spend time reading books and discovering projects whose publications can be difficult to source. In conjunction with the reading room, a series of initiatives offer further insight into the ever-evolving nature of the photobook and its contribution to contemporary culture.
Supported by Dara and Marvin Singer