This is the first Henry Wessel publication by Steidl. From the beginning of the collaboration it was clear that any book must do justice to Wessel’s technique of working in series, of creating self-contained photo-stories. The result for Five Books was to create a slipcase housing individual volumes, each dedicated to a particular theme: “California and the West”, “Odd Photos”, “Las Vegas”, “Real Estate Photographs” and “Night Walk”. This approach has been honored in all of Wessel’s Steidl books, including the soon-to-be-released “Walkabout / Man Alone / Botanical Census”.
Five Books represents Wessel’s sustained effort to describe the contemporary vernacular landscape of Southern California and the American West. From his early work in the 1970s to his series in Las Vegas of the early 2000s, Wessel’s wit and insight illuminate the unusual and iconic in a world rich in nuance, humor and irony.