Armchair travelers, check out Namibia and Thailand in these new books

Two books came into my inbox recently and they’re both photographers’ travel books –all pictures and little text and kind of perfect for the summer. In both books (one is a pdf book and available only online) the pictures are quirky and great–not the usual National Geographic choices.



Man and animal in Richard Renaldi’s pdf book 5 Days in Namibia. P. 49

Richard Renaldis “5 days in Namibia” is a photo safari book that’s a web-only tome. Go to the website, click the book open and the 55-page pdf book unfolds as you scroll down. The book’s got the requisite animal shots taken at Etosha National Park and Okakuejo camp — and some great people shots of street musicians, hotel workers and people the photographer encountered along the way. Renaldi’s a people photographer whose portraits have a psychological charge. His landscape shots are monumental views of deserts, roads and broad sweeps of sky. They’re humbling views where the earth = big and mysterious and mankind = often small and insignificant.

Two giraffes, 5 days in Namibia, page 55

Renaldi’s photos are cinematic and their atmosphere is direct and visceral. You can feel the sun bleaching the landscape in these shots and hear the animals quietly moving over the parched earth in a hot African breeze.

Here’s another book of Renaldi’s I told you about in 2006.


Picture from Thomas Kalak’s Thailand — Same same, but different! For more, see his website.

Thomas Kalak, a Munich-based photographer focuses on the small ad hoc moments in the urban scene in Thailand in his new book “Thailand — Same same, but different!” The book’s streetside focus swings downward to the crates and ad hoc merchandise arrangements on the cobbled streets to the crazy tangle of electric wires above that need a good combing out. Because the shots are so very cropped, and so extremely focused on one or two little things the photos are like visual Haiku’s — visual poems that imply more than they state outright.


Kalak’s dogs-eye or squirrels-eye views of Thailand’s cities are sweet and knowing — they have great empathy for the inventiveness and sense of play of people who can work miracles with a hank of string or a few broken pieces of brick, using both to tidy up their spot and keep things elevated off the street. And as the book’s essay by Jochen Mussig points out the artist has created a body of work that shows the Thai people as mothers and fathers of invention. Their natural artistry is just what they do, not forced, not contrived, and not even considered art.


Something perfect about this Buddha reclining on the city’s plumbing infrastructure
This photo reminds me of John Tallman’s Color Chunks blog — a color-themed parade of images from life with heavy emphasis on the street scene.


This looks like a mop made from socks, sleeves and other long, lanky articles of clothing.


This school of fish array of bulldog clips is pretty perfect. And why wouldn’t you want to have pink clips?


I believe this to be a home/tent for someone.


Chair mended with what looks like plastic or maybe cloth strips.

See the artist’s website for pictures and updates about the book.

Publisher: Rupa Publishing München
Thailand: Same Same, But Different
Author: Thomas Kalak
Format: 15,3 cm x 21 cm
160 Pages
24,90 € 43,70 sFr 19,65 £ 35,80 $
ISBN: 978-3-940393-04-3