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PHOTO-EYE BEST BOOKS 2018
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Christian Patterson's favorite book from 2018

The Russian composer Igor Stravinsky said, "A good composer does not imitate; he steals." The U.S. publisher S U N describes American artist Bill Sullivan's book Pure Country as an "an epic romp through the history of color image making over the last century and a half." Sullivan ransacks the U.S. Library of Congress' archive of Russian photographer Sergey Prokudin-Gorskii's pioneering early, glass-plate, color-filtered photographs (and Blaise Agüera y Arcas' modern computer-composite renderings of the same images). In fact, Sullivan rollicks, frolics and runs right through the archive on his way to creating something altogether different and instantly classic; simultaneously historical and contemporary. Color bleeds, pops and seeps and glows throughout. Other archival material abounds, including beautiful and effectively used full-page images of color-coordinated textiles. Sullivan also playfully and irreverently "injects himself into this conflated landscape," sprays his moniker and makes his mark — "BillS" — throughout Prokudin-Gorskii's landscape. An extensive pictorial index sheds additional light on the content and meaning of the book.


Christian Patterson was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and lives in New York. Photographs are the heart of his work but they are often accompanied by drawings, paintings, objects, video or sound. His books include Sound Affects, Redheaded Peckerwood, and Bottom of the Lake. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and his current work is called Gong Co. www.christianpatterson.com

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Christian Patterson's favorite book from 2018

Family. Car. Trouble. Gus Powell’s masterful family photo novella. Beautiful, sad and bittersweet. Perfect. The Volvo cried, and I cried with it.


Christian Patterson is the author of Sound Affects, Redheaded Peckerwood, and Bottom of the Lake and is currently working on his next book, Gong Co. He lives in New York. www.christianpatterson.com