Every year I start off wondering whether I will see enough new work to genuinely fill this list, and every year the wealth of talent and imagination out there means that by the time I come to put it together, I have to agonize as to which ones to leave off….and so to those (of which there were many), I am genuinely sorry. Once again, listed in order of purchase/release.
1. The Absence of Two by Akihito Yoshida
Initially announced in 2017- but as each of the 111 copies were made by hand – not available until 2018. This tender story of a young man’s life with his grandmother is quite possibly one of the most moving books I have ever seen.
It sold out pretty much instantly, so I am really happy that a trade edition is scheduled for late 2018 early 2019.
2. Whistle by Hoshi Haruto
Street photography at it’s finest. Haruto takes us on a fabulously colourful journey into Japan’s night life with images of gangsters, hookers, street kids and other inhabitants of Japan’s twilight hours. The strong narrative suggested by each image makes Whistle a highly recommended addition to the genre. Wonderful design with spiral binding from American publisher Little Big Man.
3. Border l Korea by Yusuke Hishida
Another late arrival from 2017. An elegantly designed book which brilliantly illuminates the cultural differences between North and South Korea.
4. I Called Her Lisa Marie by Clementine Schneidermann
A curiously downbeat look at the world of devoted Elvis Presley fans, and their associated tribute festivals. Time trapped towns, and venues, combined with a stunning and insightful collection of portrait studies make for a body of poignant, largely melancholic photographs with an almost elegiac tone. Quite beautiful……I still don’t want to go though.
5. Family Regained by Eiki Mori
The latest book from Mori looks at the concept of family and belonging from the perspective of a gay man living in Japan. A beautifully designed book with red (representing amongst other things the bond of family) being the dominant colour. A red transparent slipcase, red boards, all images shot through a red filter, and even a delicate red thread running through the binding.
As with all of Mori’s work, exquisite and beautiful to look at, but with strong and stimulating subject matter.
6. One Eyed Ulysses by JM Ramirez -Suassi
Beguiling and elliptical. A sequence of haunting images that don’t give up their secrets easily. A meditation on life death and the nature of being. A fabulous debut from a stimulating and incredibly talented new artist.
7. High Fashion by Pawel Jaszczuk
Razor sharp social commentary which is simultaneously humorous and heartbreaking. Jaszczuk goes from strength to strength.
8. Kay Nou by Fernanda Soto Mastrantonio
A heart breaking tale of families forced to relocate their lives in Haiti due to the earthquake of 2010. Initial hopes for a bright new start were quickly dashed when it was realised that the new chosen locations offered no opportunities for work, and had none of even the most basic utilities. Beautiful self published title in handmade and embroidered envelope.
9. Approximate Joy by Christopher Anderson
Some of the most ravishing colour photography that I have seen in ages is employed to present a vision of modern day China. Sex, money and power radiate from every image. Stunning design and printing from the consistently brilliant British publishers Stanley Barker. Printed in an edition of 1000 and already out of print after just a couple of months. If you are lucky enough to find one….do not hesitate*.
10. HDR_Nature by Yoshinori Mitzutani
HDR Nature is the latest in a faultless sequence of books from the Japanese photographer. Using the most cutting edge technology Mitzutani has taken one of the most popular of themes, that of nature, and has produced an electric collection of images of flora and fauna which breaths new life into the genre. Bright, intense and colour rich….a true assault on the senses. The metallic silver boards and Swiss binding perfectly compliment the work, and make this a stunning production from publishers IMA.
11. Look, I’m Wearing All The Colours by Rikard Osterlund
The debut publication from Swedish photographer Rikard Österlund is a moving and tender study of day to day life with his wife Zara, who suffers from the debilitating condition Fibromyalgia. A beautifully presented life affirming book.
12. Bright Black World by Todd Hido
A suitably grand release to close the list this year. This is Hido’s first major body of work to be shot outside of the USA (predominantly northern Europe). It marks a move away from the personal approach employed in his last few projects, and shifts to a style which is more political, and environmentally aware. A consummate storyteller, it also calls on European mythology and folklore to help form it’s structure and narrative.
As you would expect, there are a number of familiar themes revisited, but the brooding seascapes and coastal shots alone make this major release worth the price of admission. What can you say, he does what he does, and he does it better than anyone else.
And one late arrival I just could not ignore.
13. Dyckman Haze by Adam Pape
A collection of absolutely beautiful atmospheric and evocative black and white photography. Shot during the twilight hours in the city parks of New York, it looks at the diverse section of locals (both human and animal) who congregate and use these places as both a social and recreational meeting point. A suitably simple and elegant softcover design with images tipped onto both front and back covers, make this my favourite Mack release this year….and just in the nick of time!
*Written before the second edition was announced
This list was compiled for photobookstore.co.uk