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Compiled by Suzanne Révy and Elin Spring
It’s award season in the Photobook world and, perhaps even more delightfully, it’s gifting season in our world. Since there’s hardly anything more deliciously gift-worthy than a photobook, we’re weighing in with our favorites published in the last year. Perhaps a sign of the times or perhaps just our own personal preferences, this year we’ve noticed a bevy of remarkable books by women. These include explorations of identity and relationships – to the heavens, to the earth and especially to one another.
We have broken things down into three easy-to-digest sections: our favorite books by a single photographer, with a snippet about why we think so; important retrospectives, compendiums or re-issues that everyone should know about; and the books that we loved so much that we wrote themed, comparative reviews throughout this past year. We’re including links to those reviews, so you can share our excitement and also access purchasing options. All of our listings include links to sites where you can purchase the books we feel are so worthy. Happy reading!
OUR FAVORITE BOOKS FROM 2018 (Listed alphabetically)
Photographs by Barbara Bosworth
Text by Margot Ann Kelly, Owen Gengerich and Joanne Lukitsch
Radius Books, Santa Fe, NM; 200 pages, 60 images, 12.75″x10.25″
A companion book to “The Meadow” which was published in 2015, “The Heavens” reveals Bosworth’s interest in watching the night sky with a large view camera. In some, she mounted the 8”x 10” camera on a clock drive to keep the stars from from streaking across the film in her long exposures, and in others of the moon she reveals the moving skies. Anecdotes about the history of astronomy and the passions of amateur astronomers are scattered throughout the book.
Photographs and Text by Edward Burtynsky.
Text by Jennifer Baichwal, Colin Waters, Jan Zalasiewicz, Nick De Pencier and Suzaan Boettger. Contribution by Margaret Atwood.
Steidl, Gottingen, Germany, 2018. 224 pp., 104 illustrations, 11¼”x 14¼”
Should we change the name of our current geological epoch, Holocene, to Anthropocene, in recognition of the profound effects that mankind is wreaking upon our planet? Burtynsky takes flight to explore ravaged earthly scenes, creating astounding images that juxtapose beauty and devastation in elegant abstractions of color and texture. Steidl’s oversized 11”x 14” volume maintains full-frame image integrity, not running any photographs across the book’s gutters.
A GOLDEN STATE
Photographs by Shawn Bush
Skylark Editions, Chicago and Atlanta, 2018; 80 pages, 42 plates, digital offset, 10″x8″
First edition of 80 copies, plus a special edition of 20 copies
This small book clad in yellow offers a reverence for the golden state of California and the role its landscapes have played in the mythic American west. Traveling from the border wall of San Diego to central valley and the neighborhoods under the airport of L.A., Bush’s frames are peppered with details, a mural or beach polluted with lollipops. Despite his affection for the place, Bush pulls back the curtain revealing far less “there” there.
SWEETIE & HANSOM
Photographs and Text by Jo Ann Chaus
Conveyor Editions, New Jersey (3rd Printing, ISBN 978-0-578-40575-9), 2018, Soft Cover, 142pp., 63 images, 7”x 9.5”, $45 Free Shipping
Purchase directly from author: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Chaus weaves an aching, wistful narrative through the nights and days of her suburban family, rocked from their American dream by the death of her brother. Her restrained compositions throb with yearning, their expressive light translucent to the intensity of emotions simmering just beneath the surface. Chaus further intensifies her imagery with deft, spare verse tracing the family’s fog of confusion, love and longing for unrequited questions.
TO SURVIVE ON THIS SHORE: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults.
Photographs and text by Jess T. Dugan. Text by Vanessa Fabbre
Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany,2018, 164pp., color illustrations, 9.75”x 12.75”, $55
A gifted portraitist, Dugan traveled coast to coast with social worker Fabbre to craft an entirely unique compendium of a nearly invisible population, furnishing them with recognition and us with a window into challenges largely unfamiliar. Neither pandering nor patronizing, Dugan’s images ring with compassion and authenticity.
Photographs by Matthew Genitempo
Twin Palms Publishers, Santa Fe, 12/10/18; 51 tri-tone plates, 96 pages
A confession, we have not seen this book, but photographer Matthew Genitempo’s misty black and white landscapes and delicate portraits made in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas and Missouri have piqued our curiosity. Inspired by the poet Frank Stanford, Genitempo explores remote areas and lonely existences with gritty realism and deep empathy. This book will be available in mid-December.
BRIGHT BLACK WORLD
Photographs by Todd Hido. Text by Alexander Nemerov.
Nazraeli Press, Paso Robles, CA, USA, 2018, 104 pp., 48 illustrations, 17x12x½”, $75
In his strongest work yet, Hido ventures to the bleak reaches of northern Europe and Iceland to make landscapes as turbulent and stirring as any portrait. Their impact is heightened by the book’s immersive, oversized photographs, including two vertical gatefolds and one enormous double gatefold capturing the essential dichotomy of Hido’s Bright Black World: the breathtaking synchrony of fiery angst and cold despair.
Photographs by KangHee Kim
Same Paper, Shanghai, 2018, 136pp., 64 images, 8.5”x 11”, $70 (includes shipping)
In one of the most inspired exemplars of escapism we’ve seen, Kim transforms her photographs of everyday “street errands” throughout the US into surreal and glorious flights of fancy. Her unexpected insertions of light-suffused “golden hour” imagery into mundane cityscapes create a distinctive aesthetic, at once elegant and trippy.
DEANNA LAWSON: AN APERTURE MONOGRAPH
Photographs by Deanna Lawson
Text by Zadie Smith, interview by Arthur Jafa
Aperture, New York City, 2018: 40 color images, 104 pages, 11 5/8”x 13 3/4”
This large, lush book presents Lawson’s arresting portraits of the people she has met in her travels around the United States, Africa and the Caribbean. Fading interiors or verdant overgrown gardens are the telling backdrops to many of these intimate and raw portraits, reproduced beautifully in this large tome.
EXPERIMENTAL RELATIONSHIP VOL. 1 (2007-2017)
Photographs by Pixy Liao
Jiazazhi Press (2nd Edition), Ningbo, China, 2018, 6.5” x 10.25”, $65
Chinese national Pixy Liao investigates the ten-year relationship with her Japanese-born boyfriend as if she is analyzing the syntax and cadence of a foreign language, probing with equal parts innocence, cunning and humor. Visually punchy and fresh, Liao’s inaugural monograph completely merited this year’s “Juror’s Special Mention” at the Paris Photo-Aperture Photobook Awards.
Photographs by Greg Miller. Design by Ramon Pez.
L’Artiere Editions, 2018, 8” x10”, 64pp., $60
In this intimate volume, Greg Miller shares his fascination with the persistence of the ancient, public practice of Ash Wednesday as it manifests itself in a wide cross-section of New Yorkers on the city’s streets over the past 20 years. With the intentionality imposed by his choice of an 8”x 10” view camera, Miller delves beneath the surface in beguiling portraits that examine the nexus of daily life, ritual and faith.
Photographs by Andrea Modica
L’Artiere Editions, Bentivoglio, Italy, 2018; 64 pages, three tone printing, first edition, 700 copies, 23.3×28.4cm
A ten day, ten year project brings the wenches of the Mummer’s Day Parade held each year on New Year’s day in Philadelphia into print. Modica’s large format portraits of reveling and sometimes drunken men adorned in silk or satin dresses reveal sensitive or hardened faces behind heavy make-up, and in one instance, a bear of a man gently protecting a small child. Modica’s expressive platinum prints mine the clash between gender identity and the role of cultural traditions in men.
ZANELE MUHOLI: SOMNYAMA NGONYAMA, HAIL THE DARK LIONESS
Photographs by Zanele Muholi
Aperture, 2018, 212pp., 100 tritone images, 10.5”x 14”, $75
An empowered, daring Lioness throws down in a series of self-portraits that taunt societal racism in the very amplification of her sensual dark skin and flaunt the signifiers of suppression in her appropriation of household props as adornments. In stunning, powerful B&W images, Muholi uses the camera as a weapon, issuing a personal declaration of independence and a call to arms for the emancipation of oppressed populations.
Photographs by Jem Southam
Mack, 2018 London, UK; 9.6”x12.2”
Opening and ending with images of fluttering sails, Southam’s book feels like a dream through the years of a single locale. Modest backyards, the texture of bricks or plastered walls and farm animals near encroaching industry create a surreal sense of ethereal familiarity. Photographed over thirty years in the mining districts of the Red River Valley and north Penwith of Cornwall in western England, Southam’s expressive use of light and his deep, long look endow the places he has photographed with a transcendent glow.
IMPORTANT RETROSPECTIVES, COMPENDIUMS AND RE-ISSUES (Listed alphabetically)
DIANE ARBUS: A BOX OF TEN PHOTOGRAPHS
Photographs by Diane Arbus. Essay by John P. Jacob
Published by Aperture in association with the Smithsonian Art Museum, Washington, D.C., 2018, 110pp., 44 tritone and four-color images, 11”x 14”, $80
The legendary portfolio created by Diane Arbus just two months before her death in 1971 was the subject of a Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit this fall. In this book, Arbus’ seminal work is re-created and accompanied by Smithsonian curator John P. Jacob’s “fascinating tale of its creation, production and continuing repercussions.”
Photographs by Dawoud Bey
Text by Sarah Lewis, Deborah Willis, David Travis, Hilton Als, Jacqueline Terrassa, Rebecca Walker, Maurice Berger, and Leigh Raiford.
University of Texas Press, Austin, USA, 2018, 400 pp., 129 color and 136 B&W illustrations, 11”x 12″, $65
The defining feature of Dawoud Bey’s remarkable portraits is their unpretentious deep engagement, particularly with photographically under-represented African Americans. Bringing together all his major bodies of work, this 40-year retrospective elucidates Bey’s humanitarian vision in a stirring tour de force.
The Sweet Flypaper of Life
Photographs by Roy DeCarava, text by Langston Hughes
Afterword by Sherrie Turner DeCarava
First Print Press; Reprint Edition (2018); softcover, 141 b&w reproductions, 106 pages, 5”x7”
Don’t be fooled by this book’s modest size. Originally published in 1955, it was (and remains) an important work melding DeCarava’s rich black and white pictures with Langston Hughes lyrical prose describing the vibrant and sometimes tragic community of Harlem in the late 1940’s to early 50’s. The book is published in celebration of DeCarava’s centennial, and is faithful to the original design, but strives to reveal the quality of DeCarava’s masterful printing in the reproductions.
EVELYN HOFER: NEW YORK
Photographs by Evelyn Hofer
Text by John Haskell. Edited by Andreas Pauly and Sabine Schmid.
Steidl, Gottingen, Germany, 2018. 144 pp., 93 illustrations, 8¾”x 11¼”, $50
This newly conceived edition of Hofer’s most notable body of work, New York focuses on her photos of the 1960s as well as previously unpublished images from the early 1970s. In Hofer’s eloquent photos of the street and public spaces, people and architecture become symbols of a particular time and place.
ICONS OF STYLE: A Century of Fashion Photography
Text by Paul Martineau
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA, 2018. 368 pp., 176 color and 147 duotone illustrations, 9.5”x 12.5″, $65
Always cutting-edge, fashion photography has frequently set the bar for style, both in attire and art. The J. Paul Getty Museum’s superb retrospective this year is captured in this lavishly illustrated volume, updating and reevaluating 100 years of fashion photography in five chronological chapters by experts in photography and fashion history.
Series of Dreams 17/68
Edited and Designed by Russell Joslin
Forward by Sally Mars
Skeleton Key Press (2018); Harbdound, 157 images, 192 pages, 9”x11”
Earlier this year, the owner, editor and publisher of Shots Magazine, Russell Joslin opted to sell the journal to a new publisher after seventeen years and sixty-eight issues. In the process of this transition, Joslin formed a new publishing venture called Skeleton Key Press, and published its first book. Series of Dreams is a compendium of work published over the years in the reader-supported Shots magazine. Masterful at sequencing, Joslin takes the reader on a journey that is by turns introspective, whimsical and surreal. It is gratifying to see this final “edition” of Joslin’s Shots on finer paper with beautiful reproductions.
War Myth Desire
by David Levinthal
Essays by Lisa Hostetler, Joanna Marsh and Dave Hickey
George Eastman Museum, Rochester NY (2018) 240 pages, 11.5”x9.8”x1”
This monograph accompanies the first museum retrospective of the photographer’s work in twenty years, currently on view at the George Eastman Museum through January 1, 2019. Levinthal explores the relationship between photographic imagery and the fantasies and myths that shape American culture. The exhibit and book include work spanning his entire career including Hitler Moves East from the mid-70’s to his more recent series, History made between 2010 and 2015.
ARNOLD NEWMAN: ONE HUNDRED
Photographs by Arnold Newman
Introduction by Gregory Heisler.
Radius Books / Howard Greenberg Gallery, Santa Fe, USA, 2018. 224 pp., 100 black-and-white illustrations, 10”x 12″, $60
Published to coincide with the centennial of Arnold Newman’s birth, Arnold Newman: One Hundred offers a celebratory look at 100 of the photographer’s most provocative and memorable images. Pioneer of the “environmental portrait” so ubiquitous today, Arnold Newman (1918–2006) incorporated modernist and cubist elements into inventive formal portraits renowned for capturing the essence of his subjects.
The Unreal Real
by Liza Ryan
Essays by Hanna Heiting, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, Holly Myers, edited by Mandfred Heiting
Steidl, Göttingen Germany (2018) 176 pages, 110 images 11.7”x9.2”
A survey of the last two decades of the artist’s work loosely organized by project and chronologically, including her photographic landscapes made in Antarctica on which she adds pencil, charcoal or gouache layers producing emotionally charged landscapes. Deep research informs her work, but happily she allows her mind to wander, bringing together disparate ideas and images through numerous collages.
by Alec Soth
Mack, London (2018) 104 pages, 44 color illustrations, 10 3/4”x12 1/2”
A reissue of Soth’s follow-up book to the influential debut “Sleeping by the Mississippi,” Soth explored the towns on both sides of the U.S. – Canadian border around Niagara Falls with his 8”x10” view camera. Originally published in 2006, Soth photographed lovers, motel rooms, parking lots, and tourist shops, oftentimes revealing a passionate heart somewhere within the frame.
Hannah Starkey Photographs 1997-2017
by Hannah Starkey
Essay by Charlotte Cotton, Interview by Liz Jobey
Mack London (2018) 184 pages, 9.1”x6.6”x1”
Starkey has maintained a practice of constructing images of women in urban settings. She references documentary, street, fashion and fine art photography as she examines the roles women play in society. She writes, “I really think that visual culture is the last battleground for women’s equality and freedom.”
LARS TUNBJORK RETROSPECTIVE
By Maud Nycander, Göran Odbratt and Kathy Ryan
Max Ström, 2018 336 pages, 220 illustrations, 10 1/2”x11 1/2”
Tunbjörk could be called the Stephen Shore of Sweden, but this successful editorial photographer developed his own distinctive eye for color, space and design. A regular contributor to magazines such as the New York Times Magazine, Le Monde and Geo, he frequently expanded on assignments to create several significant series which were later published as books. A more personal narrative of Swedish winters resulted in a book, Vinter, considered his masterpiece. He died suddenly at the age of 59 three years ago; this retrospective brings his opus together in chronological order.
And Time Folds
Photographs by Vanessa Winship
Test by David Chandler
Mack Publishers in collaboration with Barbican Art Gallery, London (2018); 256 pages, 9.5”x9.2”x1”
A catalog of the photographer Vanessa Winship’s solo exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery last summer in London, this book brings together several bodies of work made during twenty years of her unique career which straddles documentary and fine art traditions.
BOOKS WE REVIEWED IN 2018 (Listed in order of publication)
Approximately every other month, we publish themed, comparative reviews of books we find particularly compelling. Most of the books reviewed in the past year have a 2018 publication date and all have been published fairly recently. Our reviews offer deeper analysis (although still brief!) and present images from each book. The title and link to each of our reviews is listed below, with links to the individual books from that review directly beneath.
LIFE’LL KILL YA
Two photographers – one a patient and the other a witness – mine the power of human creativity in the face of daunting medical diagnoses.
The Family Imprint: A Daughter’s Portrait of Love and Loss
By Nancy Borowick
Introduction by James Estrin
Published by Hatje Cantz
By Cat Gwynn
Published by Rare Bird Books
THE ANIMAL WHISPERERS
Three recently published photography books, The Sheep and the Goats by R.J. Kern, The Shepherd’s Daughter by Clare Benson, and Amelia and the Animals by Robin Schwartz share an ancestral awe of animals in exploring intimate, inter-dependent relationships between human beings and our beastly brethren.
The Sheep and the Goats
by RJ Kern
Texts by Stuart Klipper, George Slade, Lisa Volpe
Published by Kehrer, 2018
The Shepherd’s Daughter
by Clare Benson
Essays by Melissa Goodrich and Meg R. Jackson
Published by Photolucida, 2017
Amelia and the Animals
by Robin Schwartz
Foreword by Amelia Paul Foreman
Essay by Donna Gustafson
Published by Aperture, 2014
WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE
Two master photographers, Southern-born Sally Mann and New Yorker Joel Meyerowitz publish career retrospectives.
Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings
by Sarah Greenough and Sarah Kennel
with essays by Hilton Als, Malcolm Daniel and Drew Gilpin Faust
National Gallery of Art
Peabody Essex Museum
Published by Abrams Books, New York
Where I Find Myself: A Lifetime Retrospective
by Joel Meyerowitz
Published in collaboration with Elephant Magazine
Published by Laurence King Publishing, London
Expressing the need for intimacy in photographs is challenging, but two recently published books, “Saul Leiter, In My Room” and Richard Renaldi’s “I Want Your Love” delve visually into each artist’s closest relationships and their strikingly different pursuits for love and connection.
“Saul Leiter, In My Room”
with an essay by Carole Nagger
and an afterword by Robert Benton
Published by Steidl, 2017
“I Want Your Love”
by Richard Renaldi
Published by Super Labo, 2018
Available through Charles Lane Press
WHO ARE WE?
Three photographers explore personal, cultural and political identity amid current national divisions and polarization.
Friends Enemies and Strangers
2018 © Oliver Wasow
with texts by Rabih Alameddine and Matthew Weinstein
Published by Saint Lucy Books, Baltimore, MD
Photographs and Text 2015 © Gillian Laub
Published by Damiani, Bologna, Italy
2017 © Larry Fink
Curated by Laura Serani
Published by L’Artieri, Bentivoglio, BO, Italy
Photos of Suzanne and Elin courtesy of Ned Kaufman.