Five Books Not To Miss At Arles Book Fair 2023

Here's our staff pick in-between the tables of this year's France Photobooks fair in Arles.

Anatomy of an Oyster by Rita Puig-Serra, Witty Books

Anatomy of an Oyster is a journey into the past – a path backwards to revisit places from the author’s childhood that help contextualise her present. It traces a story of violence, revision and integration from the abuses she suffered in her family as a child. It is, above all, an attempt to tell what needs to be told; a way of telling what could never be revealed to a now absent mother. And, at the same time, a way of telling it to herself. The pearl, which is an oyster’s autobiography, is the result of this exploration: a search carried out to find it, assimilate it, and finally remove it”.

Better in the Dark Than His Rider by Francesco Merlini, Départ Pour l’Image

"Born out of a reflection on the nature of images and their nocturnal vocation, Better in the Dark Than His Rider is both a fable and a survival guide. The work by Francesco Merlini reveal the unique perspective of someone who, like a sleepwalker guided by ghosts, seeks for something nameless. The selected sequence of pictures unravels around the transitional stage between wakefulness and sleep, engaging with hypnagogia as a sensory yet dreamlike mode of semiconscious representation. Thanks to imagination, the dream matter turns into the mind’s real object again”.

Forage by François Jonquet, VOID

My family resembles an archipelago composed of five islands interconnected by underwater foundations. I have a sense of being both with and beside these islands, observing them from an external perspective. Maintaining a certain distance allows me to photograph them. But deep down, I yearn for that distance to diminish. The debut book by François Jonquet, captures the essence of everyday moments, infusing them with a raw and almost vernacular quality”. 

Atlantic Cowboy by Andrea Gjestvag, GOST Books

“Photographer Andrea Gjestvang journeyed to the Faroe Islands to document the impact of a shortage of women on the territory. Her project, created over 6-years, depicts the traditional man—the Atlantic Cowboy—and the geographical and social periphery he inhabits”.

Algues Maudites, a Sea of Tears by Alice Pallot, AREA Books

“The proliferation of green algae on the coasts of Brittany has become a major environmental issue. For many years now these "algues maudites" have invaded the coastline. Alice Pallot integrates the notion of anticipation into the photographic medium by capturing a natural phenomenon: the reality of anoxic environments, in which we could not survive as human beings and by imbuing them with a science-fictional imagination”.

© Rita Puig-Serra, Anatomy of an Oyster
i

© Rita Puig-Serra, Anatomy of an Oyster

© Francesco Merlini, Better in the Dark Than His Rider
i

© Francesco Merlini, Better in the Dark Than His Rider

© François Jonquet, Forage
i

© François Jonquet, Forage

©Andrea Gjestvag, Atlantic Cowboy
i

©Andrea Gjestvag, Atlantic Cowboy

© Alice Pallot, Algues Maudites
i

© Alice Pallot, Algues Maudites