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PHOTO-EYE BEST BOOKS 2018
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Mary Frey's favorite book from 2018

In Kristine Potter’s marvelous book, Manifest, ideas of myth and romance that once were symbolized in landscapes of the American West are subtly intertwined with portraits of men who presently inhabit these places. While the silvery beauty of her imagery sucks us in, one is quickly caught in her snare, as she weaves a cautionary tale of loss, isolation, and despair. Yet this story is not without redemption. Her landscapes are quiet, intimate spaces that suggest both refuge and confinement as her portraits offer an unflinching examination of the roles of men in today’s world. This book is both tough and beautiful, challenging readers to reconsider their thinking on patriarchy and power.


Mary Frey currently lives and works in western Massachusetts. Her latest photo books are Reading Raymond Carver (2017) and Real Life Dramas (2018), both from Peperoni Books, Germany. www.maryfrey.com

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Mary Frey's favorite book from 2018

In Ute and Werner Mahler’s exquisite book, Kleinstadt, their camera travels through the neighborhoods of small German towns recording its people, buildings and occasional details in storefronts and backyards. The fact that nothing special is happening in their images is precisely the point. We are presented with clean but empty streets. Parked cars, an overflowing trash can or a menacing dog are the only evidence that life does exist here. Yet the strength of this work is in the portraits of the young people sequenced throughout the book. They are depicted with clarity and beauty and, as the artists state in their brief essay: “We see hope. In the eyes of the young ones: the whole world. Tightness and closeness, like life.”


Mary Frey currently lives and works in western Massachusetts. Her latest photobooks are Reading Raymond Carver (2017) and Real Life Dramas (2018), both from Peperoni Books, Germany. www.maryfrey.com

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Mary Frey's favorite book from 2018

As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, I find Irina Rozovsky’s book, In Plain Air, the perfect panacea for this moment. It depicts the leisure activities of visitors to Prospect Park in Brooklyn over a nine-year period. Her subjects, often bathed in soft, glowing light with a palette of purples, pinks and shades of gold, exude an almost unearthly beauty that moves these images beyond mere documents of a place and time. Rarely do her subjects acknowledge the viewer’s presence, and when they do, it is without guile. Her landscapes offer us a verdant refuge from the vagaries of everyday life as this book quietly celebrates our resilience as a species and revels in the simple moments of our shared humanity.


Mary Frey is a photographer who lives and works in Western Massachusetts.