Marieke ten Wolde's blog

Documentary photography, and other things interesting enough to bother you with

2012 Photo book lists

with one comment

I buy photo books. No I am not a collector of any kind, I guess I am just greedy. Not in general, just books. But I guess I spend less on books then some woman on shoes, and I am not thinking Imelda Marcos, so I tell myself it is OK.

Now I am very grateful the end of the year has passed, without doing too much damage to my bank account. When all the lists of ‘best 2012 photo books’ appear, I always feel the urge to see what I missed. This year though I did quite well, there were very few end-of-year surprises that I just had to have. Those however are not the ones I want point out, and don’t worry, I will not confront you with my list.

But it made me think, what would be the best photo books for me, what should be the criteria? I think it should be a book that tells a story or conveys an idea, a book that makes me think and triggers the imagination, a book that tells me something new or changes my view, that keeps on surprising me and providing new angles. And most of all it should be a book that inspires me to get my camera out and tell my own (photo)stories.

Well, if those are the criteria, the answer is: this year for me that book wasn’t a photo book and it was not even published in 2012. It is a book with a compilation of Ai Weiwei’s blogs.

Of course there is a connection with photography. For starters I bought the book during Paris Photo at Offprint Paris. I looked at it not only because Ai Weiwei receives a lot of international attention, but also because I saw an exhibition of his US photos in Berlin early 2012.

The blogs in the book were posted between 2006 and 2009 (when his blog was censured and deleted). Many of the blogs in the book are translated in English for the first time. He gives an insight into China, his ideas as a person and artist, he makes me laugh at times and always draws me in. His blogs makes me want to go back there, to understand more about that complex and fascinating country and most of it raises the desire to go back there and take pictures.

And in addition to all that the book also inspires me to keep on writing blogs, so it seemed very appropriate to write about it here.

And now it is 2013. No more looking back, onwards and forwards from now on! Start working on those 2013 lists….

Ai Weiwei’s blog. Writings, Interviews and Digital rants, 2006-2009
ISBN 9780262015219

Ai weiwei blog book


Written by Marieke ten Wolde

January 10, 2013 at 09:00

One Response

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  1. Interesting! Sharing with you more about Ai Weiwei who recently dance Gangnam style…


    February 27, 2013 at 15:41

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