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  • Writer's picturePhotoED Magazine

5 Canadian PHOTO BOOKs to Invest In — NOW

Check out some Canadian photographers whose series work over the course of YEARS has culminated into these truly special results. For these artists, the presentation quality of their images is paramount. The stories they tell in this compact, high-quality form are worth every penny.

Ruth Kaplan - Bathers

Bathers by Ruth Kaplan, $65 Text by Marni Jackson and Larry Fink. Bathers, by Toronto-based photographer Ruth Kaplan, explores the social theatre of communal bathing. Ruth’s journey began in the nudist hot springs of California in 1991. She then travelled to Eastern Europe, seeking a more traditional form of the practice in the bath towns of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania. The unique display of individual body types and ages became a component of the work, as did the decaying architecture of the interiors. Later, she travelled to higher-tech spas in Germany, France, Italy, and Denmark, completing the series in 2002 in Moroccan hammams and Icelandic hot springs. Hedonism, sensuality, innocence, and social bonding are some of the underlying themes that have emerged.

Leslie Hossack


The Japanese Canadian Experience During World War II by Leslie Hossack, $125 Leslie Hossack’s images in Registered are accompanied by her thoroughly researched and carefully crafted observations about the experience of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia during World War II when they were registered, rounded up, and removed. Registered consists of three installations: Vancouver newspaper clippings from the 1940s; individual registration cards issued by the RCMP; and interpretive photographs of buildings in British Columbia where the story played out.

Vincenzo Pietropaolo photo book


by Vincenzo Pietropaolo, $39.95

Documentary photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo has made it his life’s mission to photograph the immigrant experience, working-class culture, and social justice issues. In Ritual, Pietropaolo brings together a retrospective collection of 150 photographs spanning 46 years. The book is an historic documentation of the Good Friday procession — an elaborate event that takes place annually in the streets of Toronto’s Little Italy, the largest Italian immigrant community in the world.

Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan

by Rita Leistner, $43 In 2011, conflict photographer and critical theorist Rita Leistner embedded with U.S. Marines in Afghanistan as a team member of the experimental social media initiative Basetrack. What resulted is Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan. Rita uses iPhone photographs she took during a military embed to apply the pioneering Canadian media theorist’s ideas on language and technology to contemporary warfare. An homage to McLuhan, this is a new kind of photo book.

Found Photographs Jonah Samson

Yes Yes We’re Magicians

by Jonah Samson, $34.95 Yes Yes We’re Magicians, co-published by Figure One Publishing and Presentation House Gallery, is a compilation of anonymous, vintage black-and-white photographs mostly found on eBay from the personal collection of the Canadian artist and writer Jonah Samson. Titled after a line from Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, the book reflects on the absurdity of life through slapstick and dark humour, and a warm-hearted affection for the mysteries of human gestures. Jonah has created a carefully orchestrated narrative flow between various kinds of vernacular photographs. Whether a blurry snapshot or a formal portrait, the images draw out the uncanny and magical qualities of photographs. Free of any description, the compelling pictures are allowed to speak for themselves.

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