We asked some of our regular customers to nominate their books of the year.
The only title with more than one nomination was Michael Kenna’s One Sunday in Beijing
“My favourite book of the year was Michael Kenna’s One Day in Beijing. I’m a fan of his work, but in this book, instead of just being a collection of great images, by using an arrangement of matte overlays most images can be considered in 2 ways, so double the enjoyment.” (PaulWebster)
“To answer your question, I think to the photobook One Sunday in Beijing of Michael Kenna. The publisher Pierre Bessard attaches a very big care to the design of his book which gives a surprising and magnificent result. Of course, for me, the main subject are the photographs of the great master (MK) which find a very beautiful case there.” (Pierre Verges)
“Jem Southam’s The Moth. Very interesting to compare it to his first work, Red River, which he revisits – as if completing a circle.” (Michael Marten)
“I nominate the reissue of Waffenruhe. It’s one of those books that I later kicked myself for not buying at the time, mainly because at the time I couldn’t see it for what it was: a definitive use of the photobook format as an art form. I wish more publishers would do this, so that those of us who love photobooks but don’t want to pay collectors’ prices can get our hands on the classics of the genre.
“My book of the year is Reverence by Jeffrey Conley. This is a book that exudes quality: the paper and printing are of an exceptionally high standard, creating a book that is a pleasure to hold and spend time with – it is definitely not a ‘run of the mill’ photography book.
“But it is the photographs themselves that are the icing on the cake. The photographs are a selection from across his portfolio, yet because of a consistent style across his work these blend through the book beautifully. This is the sort of book that makes me wish I could own a collection of his prints.” (Anne Latremoliere)
“For me the photobook of the year was Sally Mann’s A Thousand Crossings. This is a huge and beautifully produced retrospective of one of America’s most important contemporary photographers – to coincide with her major exhibition in the USA. Her photographs are haunting and capture a sense of place and identity in the southern states, the importance of family, memory, loss and desire. Without question one of my ‘desert island photobooks’.” (Richard Sambrook).
“I’d nominate Lars Tunbjork’s Retrospective book. I was surprised to learn how Lars’ experience in Liverpool informed his transition from black and white to colour and flash work. His previous books are now out of print and quite expensive to get hold of but Retrospective is a beautiful overview.” (Jane MacNeil)
War Sand by Donald Weber “A fascinating insight into the effects of the intense bombardment of the Normandy Beaches around D-Day WWII.
He uses a combination of present day images of tranquil seascapes with microscopic and electromagnetic
microscopy photographs of the sand showing the multiple inclusions of tiny shards of metal and bone left behind and now no longer visible on a macroscopic level to tell the story of a day of intense battle (and terror). He ends with an essay about firing guns by Larry Frolick.” (Zoe Wright)
“I’m very tempted to nominate Todd Hido’s Bright Black World but that feels a bit like cheating – we’ve only just got it in stock, most of you won’t have had a chance to look at it yet and I’ve not had the chance of a really thorough look-through myself. So I’m going for Josef Koudelka’s Industries.
“I saw the exhibition in Edinburgh in the summer of 2017 and even had the chance to meet the great man himself briefly. The book itself has just as great an impact: superbly printed panoramic images and a total mastery of composition. If anyone can think of a greater photographer of industrial landscapes, please point me in their direction.” (Neil McIlwraith)
“For me it has to be TTP by Hayahisa Tomiyasu (Mack Books First Book Award Winner). When this book came out at the very beginning of the year I was absolutely fascinated by the story it told through the beautiful photographs of a ping pong table.
“Hard to believe, but I was absolutely enthralled by the table’s intriguing life and found the book has made a lasting impression on me. Despite not a single game of ping pong being played on it!” (Sara McCarter)
“I nominate Youth Unemployment by Tish Murtha for my book of the year. Her daughter Ella Murtha has done a brilliant job of collating her late mother’s amazingly powerful images of adolescents in 1980’s North East. Caught between youth and adulthood and against the backdrop of an already deprived working class community, these are gritty yet intimate images of young people struggling to adapt to the lack of opportunities and occupation. To quoteTish Murtha “The spectre of enforced idleness, wasted resources and the squandering of a whole generation of human potential” Yet, these beautifully composed images also capture the exuberance, the creativity of youth in adversity and the tragically poetic nature of adolescence as well as the sad loss of great documentary photographer. I look forward to receiving her next book Elswick Kids, again collated by Ella Murtha and Bluecoat Press.” (Alison O’Brien)
Additional nominations included:
Lewis Bush: Metropole
Janet Delaney: Public Matters
Quentin Lacombe: Event Horizon
Raymond Meeks: Halfstory Halflife
Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds
Saul Leiter: In My Room
Sohrab Hura: Look It’s Getting Sunny Outside!
Richard Avedon: Nothing Personal
Chloe Dewe Mathews: Caspian
Dan Wood: Gap in the Hedge
What do you think of this selection? Do you have a favourite you’d like to add?