Andrew Phelps's favorite book from 2018

The Arsenic Eaters by Simon Brugner is a mystical lexicon of the history and fables surrounding the eating of arsenic. The practice was prevalent in the Alps until the early-20th century, with small pockets of followers who practice the dangerous ritual even today. He combines historical and found images along with his own in what feels like a seamless collection somewhere between a medical examiner's notebook, a junkie's scrapbook, and a police detective's case file. Brugner dives into some of the original caves — which can still be visited, assuming one knows where to look — hidden away behind and below farmhouses in the mountains of Austria. His loose way of photographing and collecting found images is offset by a very tight process of editing; it all feels like a bad trip, put together by someone with a fantastic eye for storytelling.

Andrew Phelps is an American photographer living in Salzburg, Austria. Alongside his own projects and publications, he is also a member and curator of the Fotohof Galerie and the Piece of Cake Collective. www.andrew-phelps.com