In China, the Photobook
as Art and History
By Maurice Berger
On a fateful 2006 trip to a Beijing flea market, the photographers Martin Parr and Ruben Lundgren were fascinated by the Chinese photobooks they discovered. Soon, they became obsessed. Mr. Lundgren, who relocated there and became fluent in Mandarin, helped Mr. Parr make sense of the many volumes they began to systematically collect. By 2009, Mr. Lundgren’s Beijing apartment overflowed with books.
Their joint effort has resulted in “The Chinese Photobook” (Aperture), a rigorous exploration of the genre’s richness and diversity from the dawn of the 20th century to today...