FIRST PHOTOBOOK SHORTLIST: The American Series
Photographer: Oskar Schmidt
Publisher: Distanz, Berlin, 2014
Designed by Maria Magdalena Koehn
This book’s flush-cut cover, with its exposed edges, cropped image, and bold title printed directly onto blue paper, hints that its seemingly traditional content is not what it appears to be. A tribute to Walker Evans’s Depression-era still lifes, this series of textural black-and-white photographs features folksy tin cups, utensils, cookware, and paper bags in what looks like a rough-hewn cabin. In fact, it’s a meticulously weathered set constructed inside Oskar Schmidt’s studio and photographed with a large-format camera. Sherrie Levine, this is not. “Because it takes after Evans, its concept seems even more surprising when you find out this is studio photography,” says Mutsuko Ota. “The black-and-white printing is very high-quality, and the layout puts the focus on Schmidt’s technical mastery”.