Last Copies of Monalisas available!

August 27th, 2012

Dear friends,

Those who still don’t own a copy of Ute & Werner Mahler’s Monalisen der Vorstädte (Monalisas of the Suburbs) might want to take note: There is only a very small number of copies available in Europe (the book is sold out in North America; there still are some books that come with prints left, though). Still thinking about whether you need a copy?

Here is a description of its content by acclaimed portraitist Richard Renaldi:

“Each composition is carefully arranged, mating its subject to the landscape in a way that animates the indeterminate spaces in which they are posed, and beckons the viewer into the mysterious no man’s land separating what we think we know about a person when we look at her portrait, and what we can never know.”

On The Great Leap Sideways, Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa writes:

“The portraits are each made with an unabashedly tender generosity, and rendered in such measured and unfussy clarity that we are thoroughly engaged by each subject, and reminded that there can be deep pleasure in looking steadily at that which ultimately remains so utterly inscrutable.”

So order your copy at your friendly Meier&Müller website – before they are all gone!

Here’s an added bonus: These last European copies are all signed by the artists!

Andres & Joerg


September 15th, 2011

For their “Mona Lisas of the Suburbs” – now available as our new book – Ute and Werner Mahler were awarded this year’s Lotto Brandenburg “Kunstpreis Fotografie.” Congratulations to both – we couldn’t be more thrilled here at Meier und Müller!

For those in or near Berlin, the work will be exhibited at Potsdam’s Kunsthaus sans titre:
Exhibition: 18 – 30 September 2011
Preview: 15 September 2011, 2.00 pm – 6.30 pm
Kunsthaus sans titre

Französische Straße 18, 14467 Potsdam

Ute und Werner Mahler: „Monalisen der Vorstädte”

September 14th, 2011

(scroll down for English version)

Zwischen Stadt und Land, zwischen Kind und Frau: es sind Mädchen am Übergang, die Ute und Werner Mahler für ihr Projekt „Monalisen der Vorstädte“ fotografiert haben. Dreißig der so entstanden Porträts haben die Mahlers für einen Band ausgewählt, der jetzt erschienen ist – unser zweites Meier und Müller Buch.

Drei Jahre lang sind die Mahlers quer durch Europa gereist. Sie haben ihre „Monalisen“ in Liverpool, Minsk, Florenz, Reykjavik und Berlin gefunden. Dort warteten sie in den Vorstädten, auf Mädchen, die etwas Rätselhaftes, Zeitloses im Gesicht hatten. Diese Mädchen haben sie porträtiert, in ihrer natürlichen Umgebung, zwischen Gebäuden und Wiesen, aber mit einer Ausrüstung wie sie früher in alten Fotoateliers verwendet wurde: eine alte Plattenkamera, ein schwarzes Tuch, ein dreibeiniges Stativ und ein Hocker, ohne Lehnen aber mit anmontierter Kopfstütze. Auf diesem Hocker nahmen die Mädchen Platz und deuteten ein Lächeln an, wie das berühmte Vorbild auf dem Renaissancegemälde.

Die ersten „Monalisen der Vorstädte“ wurden im Rahmen der OSTKREUZ Ausstellung „Die Stadt. Vom Werden und Vergehen“ gezeigt. Für ihre „Monalisen“ erhalten die Mahlers den diesjährigen Kunstpreis Fotografie der Lotto Brandenburg. Ab 16. September wird die Arbeit im Potsdamer Kunsthaus sans titre gezeigt.

Das Buch enthält eine erweiterte und aktuellere Auswahl, begleitet von einem Text des Architekten und Publizisten Wolfgang Kil. Es ist auf 500 Exemplare limitiert. Zusätzlich erscheint eine Printedition von 50 Exemplaren und eine Limited Edition Box von 30 Exemplaren. Ute und Werner Mahler, 60, gehören zu den renommiertesten DDR-Fotografen. Nach der Wende haben sie die Fotografenagentur OSTKREUZ sowie die Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie mitbegründet. Die „Monalisen der Vorstadt“ ist ihre erste gemeinsame Arbeit. Wir freuen uns sehr, der Verlag zu sein, der diese Arbeit veröffentlichen kann.

Monalisen der Vorstädte – 49 EUR
Monalisen der Vorstädte + Print – 98 EUR
Monalisen der Vorstädte Limited Edition Box (30) – 450 EUR

Weitere Details sind auf unserer Webseite zu finden. Dort kann das Buch auch bestellt werden

Herzliche Grüsse,

Andres & Jörg

Ute und Werner Mahler: „Mona Lisas of the Suburbs”

For their project “Mona Lisas of the suburbs” Ute and Werner Mahler photographed young women in transition, who are living between city and countryside, between being a child and being a woman. Thirty of these portraits have been selected for a book that has now been published – our second Meier und Müller book.

To produce the body of work, the Mahlers spent three years traveling across Europe, meeting their “Mona Lisas” in Liverpool, Minsk, Florence, Reykjavik and Berlin. Going to the suburbs, they waited for girls that had something mysterious and timeless in their faces. They portrayed them in their own surroundings, between buildings and meadows, with an equipment used mostly in old photo studios: a plate camera, a black cloth, a tripod and a stool with a head rest. The girls took a seat on this stool and hinted at a smile, just like the model in the famous Renaissance painting.

The first “Mona Lisas of the suburbs” were shown as part of the OSTKREUZ exhibition “The City. Becoming and Decaying”. For this work, Ute and Werner Mahler were awarded this year’s “Kunstpreis Fotografie” by Lotto Brandenburg for “Mona Lisas”. From 16 September, 2011, the work will be shown at Potsdam’s Kunsthaus sans titre.

The book contains a new and expanded selection of photographs and a text by architect and author Wolfgang Kil. Its print run is limited to 500 copies. In addition, there will be an edition of 50 copies with an extra print, and a limited edition box of 30 copies.

Ute and Werner Mahler are amongst the most famous East German photographers. After Germany’s reunification, they co-founded the photography agency OSTKREUZ and the Ostkreuz School of Photography. The Mona Lisas are their first shared body of work. We are delighted to be the publisher of these photographs.

Mona Lisas of the Suburbs – 49 US$
Mona Lisas of the Suburbs + Print – 98 US$
Mona Lisas of the Suburbs Limited Edition Box (30) – 450 US$

Further details are available on our website, the book can be ordered there.

(US copies will be available by the end of September, 2011).

All the best,

Andres & Jörg

Book Case Study – Looking Back

December 2nd, 2010

Can one produce a photobook dummy in just a single day, using a team of people who have never worked together before? This sounds like the kind of question that requires a simple and quick “No way!” Turns out, the real answer is “Yes, you can.” Needless to say, the dummy will just be that, a first and quick dummy, but still, that was the challenge of the Book Case Study workshop, held in The Hague last week, with fearless leaders Hester Keijser, Hans Gremmen, and yours truly.

Here is how things unfolded. After a day of presentations, out of a group of seven photographers, who had presented their projects, three were picked to have their work converted into a photobook dummy. The decision which one to pick was tricky, but it was ultimately based on the challenge at hand: Use a single day.

The workshop participants were then split into three groups, each of which was working on one of the projects. The participants consisted of photographers and of designers (two each per group), plus one of the fearless leaders. This is what it looked like (click on the images for slightly larger versions):

You sit around a table and talk about ideas etc.

Alternatively, you stand around a table and talk about ideas.

Given there were three groups, each of which had slightly different challenges and thus modi operandi, there is no simple way to explain what went on in each of them. One group was spending a lot of time on a design effort, having to figure out how to present large-scale photographs with lots of details in a – comparably – small book. Another group was spending a lot of time on trying to get to the core of the photography and the project. The last group had a mix of these.

This is what is needed to make a dummy: Reference materials, computers, paper, glue, tape, knives, liquids, helping hands, plus a bunch of brains (not shown here). One of the crucial aspect turned out to be the photographer’s willingness to trust the group with her/his work. Photographers are notorious for being terrible editors, so any photographer thinking about making a photobook (or dummy) better think about bringing in at least one editor and allowing that editor to make some seemingly unpleasant choices (otherwise, things can result in a bad quagmire).

As I said, I can only talk about details of my own group. Here, the whole team was split up at times, doing different tasks in parallel. The design was created by a sub-team comprising of one designer and three photographers (shown above). As it turns out, a lot of people have very cool ideas for designs, but it does take a professional to produce something that looks professional (the devil, of course, always lies in the details).

A day later (cum grano salis) there were three book dummies. Actually, Hans’ group had what felt like an infinity of dummies. Needless to say, they were all very simple, and they all require a lot of extra work to move towards a real book. But the concepts were well established, and there were physical objects that displayed the concepts very well.

The dummies were then presented to the whole group and discussed. No boring gallery shows on paper! Mission accomplished.

What surprised me probably the most was how much can be done in such a short period of time, especially if a team works together and if the photographer is not overly protective of her/his work. This definitely is a workshop that one would want to bring to other places. It’s time to talk about making photobooks in broader terms. Photobook making is not all about “on demand,” about “audiences,” or “marketing.” And a workshop like “Book Case Study” can make this very clear, by having photographers and designers interact and think about photobooks not as cheaply and crappily produced commodities, but, instead, as beautiful objects that add another layer to their photography.

From the vault: Hannover

November 5th, 2010

This book – an Ebay find – is missing its dust jacket. You might be wondering: Why bother scanning the cover since there’s nothing to be seen? To which I respond: What you see is what you get. So there!

But seriously, this book is one of those numerous grotesque masterpieces that were produced about fifteen, twenty years after the end of World War II in Germany, showcasing the new Germany, or rather, here, the new Hannover (the capitol of the – then West – German state of Lower Saxony). It’s all about celebrating that which wasn’t destroyed during World War II and praising the new stuff, which looks distinctly unpraiseworthy (but better than rubble in any case).

So there’s the old (click on the images for larger versions)


and the new, looking like this

or this

Produced by the city of Hannover itself, the book is filled with praise and explanations – it’s basically a glorified PR brochure – but seen today, it’s actually somewhat interesting. Here are some more images:

Various photographers – Hannover, Verlag Die Schönen Bücher, Dr. Wolf Strache, Stuttgart, 1959, 20cm x 26.5cm (7 3/4 in x 10 1/2 in), hardcover, 48 b/w photographs, text and essays by various contributors (some un-credited)

An Interview with Yannick Bouillis

October 27th, 2010

Fabio Severo has an interview with Yannick Bouillis, the mastermind behind Offprint, here.