The Best Photobooks of 2011- War Primer 2 by Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg
As 2011 draws to a close, BJP looks at the best photobooks that were published this year. Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg's War Primer 2 is one of them.
Billed as the "belated sequel" to Bertholt Brecht's polemical "photo-epigrams", which matched images of World War II torn from newspapers and magazines with the playwright's four-line poems, this publication adds another layer to the 1955 book, published in the GDR a year before Brecht died there.
Broomberg & Chanarin have taken 100 copies of the first English-language edition of it (published in 1998), and have updated it by silkscreening text directly onto the pages and adding colour images culled from the internet, representing both sides of the "War on Terror".
Mack Books, which publishes War Primer 2, reports that Brecht once said "Don't start with the good old things but the bad new ones." It's in this spirit that Broomberg and Chanarin have gathered their material from the internet - compressed, uploaded, ripped, squeezed, reformatted, re-edited and often anonymous images - rather than sifting through newspapers with a pair of scissors.
Only 100 copies of War Primer 2 have been published, retailing at €400 / £350 / $560.