The 2024 Solar Eclipse on Film…

If you were alive and paying even a tiny bit of attention on April 8, 2024, you probably heard about or saw coverage of the solar eclipse that passed over a small portion of the United States (and elsewhere). By a God-given coincidence, my house was in the path of totality and I work from home, so I stepped outside for a bit with the FM3a and the FG, both with 50mm lenses attached…

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Piergiorgio Casotti & Emanuele Brutti – ‘Index G’

I don’t know how or from where Piergiorgio Casotti & Emanuele Brutti’s Index G came on my radar. Jörg Colberg was my first guess, and if so, I find no mention of Casotti or Brutti or the title on his blog. It wasn’t @swerdnaekalb either, nor was it Charcoal Book Club…. Maybe it was something on Instagram when I still scrolled it or maybe I saw it on the Skinnerboox website when I ordered Daniel Reuter’s Providencia and couldn’t resist?

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Daniel Reuter – ‘Providencia’

I pulled Daniel Reuter’s Providencia off the to-review shelves largely based on the attractive spine (gold lettering against mottled/variegated grey :chef’s kiss:). I don’t remember the circumstances around acquiring it, and expect I bought it based on Jorg Colberg’s review. I encourage you to read Colberg’s take, as mine is likely to be much more wishy-washy and banal. Apologies in advance, dear reader, and to Reuter as well.

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Glen Luchford – ‘Roseland’

tl;dr: I regret purchasing Glen Luchford’s Roseland. This feeling is a first for me, I think. The photography would be interesting and potentially of historical interest, but it’s entirely ruined by very poor layout and printing decisions.

If you want to continue on, please feel free…. If they come out with a repaired edition—perhaps one printed in landscape orientation or square or something where the subject (Kate Moss) isn’t swallowed by the gutter—it might be worth picking up. Stay far, far away from this book.

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Stephen Leslie – ‘Mostly False Reports’

I discovered Stephen Leslie thanks to (if I recall) Alec Soth, who praised Leslie’s Show & Tell series on YouTube, and if you’re not familiar with Soth’s or Leslie’s YouTube channels, do yourself a favor. Despite being on a photobook buying hiatus, I leapt into action as soon as he announced the Kickstarter, and despite not knowing much about his actual photographic practice. Unlike most other books I bought during my (ongoing) photobook-buying moratorium, I had and have no regrets whatsoever…

Full disclosure: as you may have gathered, I kickstartered Mostly False Reports, Stephen Leslie‘s excellent, photobook-of-the-year 2023 runner up, if not grand prize winner.*

One thing on the Kickstart itself. In its earliest days, shipping fees weren’t appropriately calculated for US purchasers. Leslie reached out to backers and asked that we update our pledges to cover the cost. I updated my pledge; some/many others did not. I felt bad and sent Leslie a bit of cash to cover shipping for a few people. In return—he didn’t have to, and I didn’t expect it—he included a zine “Hereabouts” and 3 large print/greeting cards in the package. I am indeed blessed.

Ok. With that over with, on with the review.

Leslie is a capital-S, capital-A Street Photographer. I’d go so far as to call him a street photographer’s Street Photographer. Gestures, glances, interesting faces and stances? He’s got it. Strange sights, puns, jokes? He’s got them. Repetitions, series, mini-projects? They’re all here, and mostly shot while walking (or driving) on the street. Matt Stuart and Charlie Kirk spring to mind out of a failure of imagination more than anything, and Leslie holds his own without question. How have I never stumbled across his work before?

To be honest, though, as good as the photography is—and it’s great: page after page of well-paced bangers—what really grabs me, and why Mostly False Reports sits at the top of my (nonexistent) best-of list for 2023, are the short stories that accompany each picture.

Nearly every spread has one picture on the right and a short story (or statement, or chat dialogue, or whatever) on the right. Some of these go on for a couple of pages. Most are hilariously funny; some are a bit sad or strangely nostalgic (ymmv); a few seem to be more straight-ahead self examination, wonders about the craft, reminiscences, and the like, which may also be fiction. I hope at least some of them are….

Regular readers of this blog—if you even exist, thank you!—know that I’m a sucker for books that combine image and text. It’s not easy to pull off, really. Some photographers can’t really write; some writers can’t really photograph; some trigger my logophilia and make it impossible to see the photographs, for good or ill. Leslie pulls it off wonderfully, with great writing, mostly hilarious, some more poignant, and excellent, well-seen Street Photography.


Overall, Mostly False Reports earns a highly recommended, go buy one now 4.85 stars.

Strangely, I believe Leslie has copies available. His website says “You can buy a copy for £30 from me here, just send me a message via the contact page or send me a message via my Instagram.” If you haven’t already, go buy a copy now. It’s sure to eventually sell out. If you’re cynical, you should buy one just to resell for a huge profit once they do sell out; the rest of you should add it to your library for some inspiration and just to wonder at and about. Mostly False Reports is a masterwork.

Before I forget, and mostly as an aside, the “Hereabouts” zine is likewise a bit of excellence. According to the end matter, “All of these photographs were taken within walking distance of my [Leslie’s] home. …as I walked around Brokley, Nunhead, Peckham, Greenwich and Lewisham.” This seems like a pretty large area, really, especially to a Texan, but then we Texans don’t walk much, compared to people in the UK. I don’t have much more to say about it. Great stuff. If you find a copy, snatch it up.

*There is no 2023 best-of list on this blog. Apologies. I haven’t looked at enough photobooks to warrant a best-of list.

Blake Andrews – ‘Portland Elegy’

As a long, looooong time fan of Blake Andrews—without his excellent blog and book reviews, this blog might not be here—when I stumbled across his “Portland Elegy” zine last year during a rare visit to Instagram, I bought a copy immediately.

Good thing too, as it sold out very quickly. Apologies if you’re late to the party.

“Portland Elegy” is a selection of @swerdnaekalb’s street work, made sometime between 1996 and 2005, as he roamed around his Portland neighborhood and ventured out to run errands or whatever. The selection leans heavily—nay, entirely—towards the classic joke/pun type of street photography with which we’re all familiar, and that Andrews found in his wanderings at least 30-odd times.

Nearly every picture has something in it that goes ba-dum-tss and the best, in my mind, might require a minute or two of looking to really spot it. The few that aren’t, are very much about patterns, the ways in which a photograph transforms its subject into flat planes, and the distortions that result. Regardless of type, in every case, the payoff for close looking is a nice dopamine hit.

It makes me think about walking more…. I have too many hobbies, pulling me in too many directions these days. I end up not doing much at all. Ho hum.

There’s not much more to say about this, really.


Insofar as “Portland Elegy” is out of print and unobtanium, apologies again for bragging about my collection again. I don’t mean to.

If you’re not following @swerdnaekalb on Instagram, or Andrews’ excellent photobook reviewing at Collector Daily or PhotoEye, or at least occasionally checking his blog for new articles or interviews, do yourself a favor and get acquainted. Andrews is a personal favorite, and after a few email exchanges over the years, I count him as a sort of friendly acquaintance, almost a friend, and definitely a sort of elder brother-type to look up to, and this admission sorta makes me want to cry for some reason.

Edit: I realize that this appeared on 12/25… I don’t celebrate that day at all, and so it never struck me, but this zine is really a gift. I intended to review it long before now: it sat on the side of my desk for nearly a year, occasionally getting covered by notes or other books or something, and never getting really looked at. What a blessing to come across it recently and spend some time with it. Good stuff.