By Cristina De Middel. December 21, 2012


Cristina De Middel is one of those rara avis of Spanish photography who is in her element somewhere between photojournalism and artistic recreation. This 37 year-old from Alicante has collaborated with magazines including COLORS, Yo Dona and Esquire and worked for newspapers such as Diario de Ibiza and Diario Información, of Alicante. Her rising career as a photographer has seen her take part in the 2009 PHotoEspaña programme and set up solo exhibitions of her series Vida y Milagros de Paula P. and 'The Afronauts'. The latter was also recently nominated for the prestigious Deutsche Börse award.

De Middel says that she has a heap of books in boxes in Spain but from her exile she shares six books with us that in one way or another have shaped the vision behind her photography work.

The Great Unreal
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs
Edition Patrickfrey

This is a photography book I could happily look through all day. Onorato and Krebs play around with the boundaries of manipulation and turn photography tricks into their discourse. I like projects that I would never have thought of doing. I don't tend to look at a lot of photography books but this is one of those catalogues of ideas that never would have occurred to me. It’s very stimulating.

Stephen Gill

This is the other photography book I can't stop looking at. I think he’s one of the best photographers around today - a genius. In this book, he turns what could be a boring assignment (to document a pond in Luxembourg for the university) into an example of the extent to which the photographer is the author and how much the photographer genuinely controls the discourse. It's a complete "turn everything upside down" kind of a book.

Magazines from the Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC)
AMC Books

Each issue exceeds expectation. It's a pleasure to lose yourself in their infinite and historical archives. By drawing on these, they manage to rescue and "curate" coherent and comprehensive issues. They’re not subject to anything and reinvent themselves with each new instalment. I'm collaborating with them at the moment on a new project and getting to know them is undoubtedly one of the best things to have happened to me in my professional career.

El Decamerón Negro
Revistas de Occidente

A discontinued book that I was luckily able to get hold of after a friend recommended it to me. It’s a collection of African stories and legends told in the style of a chivalric romance - an archetypal story of personal growth and knowledge without any castles and horses. I haven't finished it yet but only because I’m eking it out to make it last longer.

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Amos Tutuola
Faber and Faber

This is another book that was recommended to me when I was working with the Afronauts. It’s pure magic set in Africa, written in that kind of direct and imperfect style found in African literature. The story is about a boy who flees the war and hides in a world of ghosts. It’s an allegory of the unknown that both at its heart as well as in its form illustrates the African world very well

The collection of Penguin Books
Penguin Books

I buy them for next to nothing in London markets and choose them for their titles. The more high-flown or mysterious they sound, the better. These are the kinds of books I like to take on the plane because they don't weigh a thing and are easy to carry around. The one I liked the most so far was Edison's biography. It’s written for 1940's Americans. The information is quite simple and accessible but it gives you a glimpse of the naive intentions of those who create opinion. For me, it's a clear example that it's the winners who write History.

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