Christopher Anderson’s Capitolio now available on iPad and iPhone

Christopher Anderson - Capitolio for iPhone and iPad

Christopher Anderson has released his book Capitolio for iPhone or iPad. We’ve made note of the book previously, with links to reviews well worth revisiting.

I’m especially intrigued to see the reception of this digital book. Visually focused ebooks have long been beyond the reach of existing technology. Photos on a kindle leave much to be desired. The iPhone and iPad offer such a visually-rich experience that I’m surprised it took this long for the appearance of a digital photography monograph. The price for Capitolio is great at $4.99 and the nature of the medium allows for special additions to the work, including photos not in the print book and other media. In this case, there’s a 10-minute interview with Anderson by Tim Hetherington. Photobook apps likely aren’t the solution for everyone. Developing an app for Apple’s devices is cost- and labor-intensive. It’s an interesting development in the world of self-publishing, certainly.

Through the Looking Glass, a blog by Adoroma Rentals, has an interview with Anderson about how the digital book came about.

Christopher Anderson’s Capitolio

Both 5B4 and Conscientious have posted reviews of Christopher Anderson’s new book called Capitolio, which is set in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela over the last half-decade. And both posts drew fire from any number of sides. I first saw dummies of this book project (the images have been floating around for ages) in March 2008 at the Magnum workshop in Oslo and was struck by the design and presentation, which seemed at the time a radical departure from other presentations of ‘photojournalism’ (in books or otherwise) that I had seen before. Both reviews seem to take note of this, and run with it to some interesting and controversial corners. I’ll stay out for now, not having seen a final copy of the book, but will say that the images have always worked for me and the most interesting question is how the presentation (editing and layout, for starters) is instigating a robust conversation. I leave you with links and the advice to start reading in to the comments left on 5B4, including this one from Anderson himself:

The book is intentionally ambiguous. I am uninterested in didactic commentary or “story”. It is a portrait of a time and place seen by a stranger as if from a passing car in the night. It is an experience of encounters, observations, and fears sometimes completely out of context. In many ways, this book could be about anywhere…it just so happens that it is Caracas. It is not right or left wing propaganda, it is NO wing propaganda. It is not anti Chavez. It is not anti-anything. It is just an experience that I had.

(c) Christopher Anderson / Magnum
It is great to see this level of (mostly civil) debate and criticism about modern “photojournalistic” photography, particularly in the context of fast-moving and popular blogs. I love that debate does and can exist. Lets get some going here on Dva sometime. Do you agree that a book or photo report can be simply an empty political vessel as Anderson is saying here? Or that the artist’s intent has any bearing on how one should interpret a body of work? Anderson and Jeffrey Ladd, 5B4 himself, disagree strongly on this point. I know I want to be on Anderson’s side on this point but I’ve always reacted to Ladd’s strong argument when it is brought up in these discussions.

Bike Fashion for Fader

Fader #61 May/June 2009 - from Todo El Mundo fashion feature pp. 96-97

There’s a new tearsheet on my portfolio site, this one from Fader #61 (the whole issue is available as a downloadable pdf, as well). I’m honored to be in the company of the other great photographers involved in the shoot: Gabriele Stabile, Dominic Nahr, G.M.B. Akash, and Christopher Anderson. There’s a short story on the Fader website about how the shoot was put together behind the scenes, as well. The shoot, now a couple months ago, was a blast for my first foray into fashion.