Top Photo Books ’09
– Another great year in photography books. Here are my favorites:
1.) Henry Roy – Spirit (Gottlund Verlag)
– Henry Roy’s Spirit was my biggest surprise of the year. I had never even heard of him before Gottlund Verlag announced their fall releases and when I got the book in the mail I was absolutely blown away. Page by page it is just one beautiful photo after another and then ends with six pieces of Roy’s wonderful writing. This is by far my favorite Gottlund Verlag release and I think the nicest looking book they have put out so far.
2.) Richard Renaldi – Fall River Boys (Charles Lane Press)
– Fall River Boys was the first release from Richard Renaldi’s new publishing company Charles Lane Press that he founded with his partner Seth Boyd. This book lived up to the all hype it was receiving upon its release. Of course Richard’s photographs are as beautiful as ever but the book is truly breathtaking, the paper, the printing, etc. and the care that was put into it is more than apparent.
3.) Mark Steinmetz – Greater Atlanta (Nazareli)
– Mark Steinmetz is one of my favorite photographers, he made me fall in love with black and white photography all over again when I first discovered his work. Greater Atlanta is his newest book focusing on the South after releasing South Central and South East and is just as great as its predececors.
4.) Rob Hornstra & Arnold van Bruggen – Sanatorium (Self)
– Sanatorium is the first publication from Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen’s Sochi Project where they are documenting the change in Sochi, Russia before the the 2014 Olympic Games are held there. The book focuses on the sanatoria where workers were sent to “revive their spirits and strengthen their bodies” during the Soviet era. Hornstra’s new images are great and if you liked 101 Billionaires you will love Sanatorium.
5.) Robert Bergman – Selected Portraits (PS1)
– Robert Bergman had his coming out party this year with three huge exhibitions held at PS1 Contemporary Art Center, The National Gallery of Art and Yossi Milo Gallery. This book is the catalogue for Bergman’s show at PS1 and it is a treasure. I like the design of this catalogue much more than Bergman’s first book A Kind of Rapture which was released in 1998 and contains a lot of the same images. Other than the photos the essay by David Levi Strauss is a really good read. If you haven’t had a chance to see Bergman’s photos in person do so quick before the shows come down.
6.) Timothy Briner – Boonville (Self)
– I was really excited when I got an email from Tim Briner saying that he was making a small number of of books of his Boonville series to help fund the framing for his upcoming solo show at Daniel Cooney Fine Arts. The books are all hand made by Tim and show what he considers the final edit of the project which examines the current state of America by exploring six towns with the same name spread across the country. I’m pretty sure another small edition of the books will be available through the gallery during the show that will be opening on January 7th.
7.) Mitch Epstein – American Power (Steidl)
– What can I say about Mitch Epstein? Another monster release from one of the most important photographers out there today. American Power is very close to sneaking by Family Business as my favorite Epstein series.
8.) Eirik Johnson – Sawdust Mountain (Aperture)
– Eirik Johnson’s Sawdust Mountain was my favorite of this years releases by the always great Aperture Foundation. The book has everything you could hope for in a great photography book, beautiful images, great subject matter and a good design.
9.) Nicolai Howalt & Trine Søndergaard – Tree Zone (Hassla)
– When Nicolai Howalt and Trine Søndergaard get together they are unstoppable. Their first series How to Hunt had some really incredible images in it but they stopped me in my tracks with Tree Zone. The pictures are so subtle in their beauty, each page looking very similar to the one before it but the series shines because of this. Hassla put out some seriously great titles this year.
10.) Grace Kim – Love Hotel (Self)
– While I was at Melanie Flood’s place to see the Grace Kim show she had up at the time she showed me this tiny little book that Grace made in an edition of 100 for her series Love Hotel. I’ve never seen another book like this before, it is literally only 4 5/8 x 3 6/8″, the photographs each slide out of the pockets of the book and are archival pigment prints, printed on hahnemuhle fine art baryta paper. It is a true beauty and if you can get your hands on a copy I couldn’t suggest it enough.
– Takashi Homma – First Jay Comes (Hassla)
– Ryan McGinley – Moonmilk (Mörel)
– Eric Marth – Various Zines (Self & Medium Rare)
– Tuukka Kaila – Based On Truth (Self)
– Morad Bouchakour – s/t (d’jonge Hond)