Roy is one of the three owners and co-founder of MENDO. Here are some of his favorites - giving you an (unwanted) insight in his extraordinary habits and fetishes.
An obvious choice, but the book has surprised me. GQ magazine has been around for years and this book is an obvious and easy way to celebrate that - celeb photographers + celeb faces = success. And I mean this in the best possible way, because the way GQ and Assouline have done that has resulted in an wonderful, grand, bold, powerful and fun document on the evolution men and fashion over the last 25 years.
Often one single image can be good enough reason to buy a book. Avery’s book holds nothing but little jewels. To name a few: Frank Sinatra behind the mike (page 38): beautiful! Audrey Hepburn, with bike & dog (page 53): stunning! James Dean with a subdued little smile (page 68): breath-taking. Before I run out of superlatives: The Rat Pack (page 278): unrivaled. You get the point, now get the book.
You may notice I have a slight preference for Hollywood in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and luckily I’m not alone. Next to Reel Art Press, who published The Rat Pack, Sid Avery and others, I’m pampered by this ACC Editions publication. Again, James Dean is one of my favorites, as well as Buster Keation with kids and Joan Collins, surrounded by men who almost literally undress her with their eyes. What I like about these images in general is that they appear to be very relaxed and informal, but everything tells me all of it is as staged as can be. Hey, you’re either in Hollywood or you are not.
I must admit I'm actually a pretty boring guy. Maybe that is the reason I think the Kenzo book is so interesting. With every page I turn, I want two things: absorb all I see and turn the page to see what the next one brings. This book is fashion, color, surprise, beauty, printing skills, pop up pages and more. Even if you're not into Kenzo, or fashion for that matter - you have to have this.
Pharrell: Places and Spaces I’ve Been
You know what it is with Pharrell? When I first say him he looked like this funny, cheeky little fellow. Truth is that he has become a very serious force in music, fashion and contemporary culture in general. But still he hasn’t lost any of his fun / cheeky / boy appearance. The book is brilliant. You should pay attention to all the statements in the interviews Pharrell has had for this book. One of my favorites is Anna Wintour who tells Pharrel that “your voice has to be your own”. I believe those are wise words.
Okay, so I don’t eat lobster, I never visit Zealand and never ever go fishing. But the beautiful photographs in this book make me want to do all three of them: go to Zealand, rent a boat that comes with a captain that has one of those weathered faces, and fish. And prepare the catch and eat till I can’t eat anymore. Besides, the book cover is made from jute, the kind of material that reminds me of my youth, when I worked on a farm for a day or two. It was itchy, but in a nice way. Hey, is that a fetish I wasn’t even aware of?
I never thought I would use this expression, but OMG! A fashion book without typical fashion. Golden edges, rough black and white photography, red ribbon. The book is totally not glamourous and – because of that? - as glamourous as can be. It’s indeterminate and grounded at the same time. And my favorite photograph from the book is a pincushion full of pins. First I learned that I have a fetish for jute and now I turn out to dig voodoo as well. Spooky business, that book business...
Blood Sweat and Tears
The world created by Bruce Weber in Blood, Sweat & Tears is a world I would love to live in. Certainly, the images are way too beautiful, too American, too staged, but the all-over feeling is one of warmth, humanity and pleasure, in a way that it is appealing to me. What I appreciate about his photographer is the fact that I recognize his work instantly when I see it in a magazine, book or documentary. I think it’s a sign of strength to have a very own signature and yet being able to keep re-inventing your work. And finally, I like the fun element, for example his dog who has become a reoccurring element in his work.
The Greatest Of All Time
Some people, songs, brands or clubs are so linked to memories from your youth that you will always be related to them. To me Muhammad Ali is definitely one of them. As a seven year old boy I sat next to my mum on our hideous green couch, watching Ali fight on TV in the middle of the night. A hero. To date, it is difficult to have an objective opinion about him. Therefore I think there is no book that could ever give him the full tribute he deserves. But this one comes awfully close.
Anton Corbijn’s Star Trak is one of our longest running titles here at MENDO and still I am not fed up with it. The cover image is so powerful and the portraits have a wonderful combination of strength and beauty. Furthermore, an element of chauvinism influences my favor for both the photographer and his work. And as if that wasn’t enough, he is also the art director for all the design for one of my all time favorite bands, Depeche Mode. Corbijn directed many of their video clips, but you should definitely check I Feel You.
It wasn’t until we got this book that I really developed an appreciation for Alexander McQueen’s work. It’s hard to tell how big the influence is of the fact that McQueen took his own life. Whether you like it or not, it adds to the perception- his trademark skull that is now such an ambiguous symbol on the cover of the book, mutating into a portrait of McQueen himself. But the man’s talent is undisputed and his iconic, radical but utterly feminine creations shine to the fullest on the wonderful mannequins (look close, they are actual people). I wonder what else he could have made to ever exceed this. And in the fact that we will never know, lies the tragedy.
The Rat Pack
Partially I like this book for the same reason I like Bruce Weber. Browsing this book takes you to another world. The only difference is, that this is real life - for the chosen ones. Their world as presented in The Rat Pack is one of real men, bravery and the utmost pleasure. I enjoy that ‘f*ck the rest’ mentality they express. Even in the book you can almost feel that these men are bad boys, but good at whatever they do, whether it’s singing or acting, you just want to them to be stars. Like Reel Art Press - the publisher - says: “The Rat Pack is the epitome of cool” and I can only agree with that.
We’ve had one or two books from Richard Kern, but none of them I liked. To me they were just a bit to heavy on the fetish side and too pornographic. This one, Looker, however is something else. It’s a cheeky series of photo’s, that awakes your inner voyeur. The women are interesting and not only because their beauty. In fact, for some reason their beauty is not relevant. It’s the scenery and the mystery that makes this a naughty little book.