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Friday, 26 December 2008


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This is an easy one for me. It would be the 50th anniversary reissue of "The Americans" by Robert Frank. It is a must own.

Good analogy.

Online Photographer for photography blog of the year.

This was a sleepy year for photo books, I thought. I'll go with the reprint of Saul Leiter's "Early Color".

I have always enjoyed Jack Dykinga's photography http://www.dykinga.com/Welcome.html
His latest book is: Images: Jack Dykinga's Grand Canyon. It is my favorite from this year.

Book(s) of the Year (in no particular order):

Beth Dow- In The Garden
Eugene Richards- The Blue Room
Judith Joy Ross- Living With War
Peter Feldstein- The Oxford Project
Michael Subotzky- Beauford West

"Joakim Eskildsen"

It's just amazing stuff, isn't it? You could spend a year looking at all those pictures, they could absorb that much attention. Astonishing is the right word. That guy's a real shooter.

Mike J.

I'll give my vote to Alec Soth's The Last Days Of W.

Not seen enough of the contenders to consider a photo book of the year but Mike, every time you come back from a short break it's always with a noteworthy bon mot - where else would we get a reference to Aguirre Wrath of God just "casually dropped into the conversation"?
Amazing that the real Aguirre manages to look even more crazy than Klaus Kinski!!

Cheers, Robin

I'll go with Suburban World: The Norling Photographs. Kind of a found art thing.

I haven't bought or even read all the books you recommended but the one I enjoyed the most was Joe McNally's "The Moment it Clicks". A close second (well, actually an immodest first) was in making my own Blurb book.

How about a list of lesser known. There are so many websites and talented photogs out there, it's hard to keep track!

I think its been quite a good year for photobooks. I've bought more than I have for quite a few years. Favourites I've bought this year are:

The Genius of Photography by Gerry Badger
Shaolin, Temple of Zen by Justin Guariglia
Martin Parr by Sandra S Phillips
Conversations With The Mob by Megan Lewis
Welcome to Shanedale by Tom Ramsay
The Moment It Clicks by Joe McNally
Annie Liebovitz at Work
The Americans by Robert Frank
Tokyo Love Hello by Chris Steele Perkins

Of those my favourite would have to be Megan Lewis' Photo Essay Conversations With The Mob. Megan Lewis a Kiwi photographer based here in Perth Western Australia. The book is a collection of 100 exquisite photographs combined with oral stories from her experience of living with the Martu Aboriginal people of far north Western Australia, probably one of the world's least hospitable places. Lewis's work had appeared in the Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, and Time magazine. She was a staffer for The Australian and had covered many significant stories and events for them. In 2002 she packed that in to live with the Martu people for 5 years. Its a fantastic piece of old school photo journalism, the sort that required tremendous commitment under adversity, no fly in and fly out here, and it shows. Unfortunately the book is published by University of Western Australia Press and so it will not get the attention it deserves outside of Australia.
Here's a link to her website:


No contest. "The Moment It Clicks" by Joe McNally.

DVD of the year: "Strobist Seminar" by David Hobby ... www.strobist.com

I haven't seen nearly enough of this year's photo books to hazard a valid nomination for the best of the year, but I've sure been inspired by Saul Leiter's "Early Color."


You shouldn't underestimate the value of recognizing young photographers. Your praise may not lead to attention in the 'publicity' sense of the word (on the other hand, The Online Photographer might have a whole lot more name recognition and visibility than you seem ready to take credit for) but any encouragement for someone starting in a field as crowded and competitive as photography might give an emotional boost that will carry through to fame and fortune (or even better, self-acknowledgement.)

All my best wishes for a contented New Year,

The Oxbow Archive - Joel Sternfeld - This book came into my hands after I started working a portfolio of natural tangles - and it felt so right. It affirmed everything I was seeing about which my mother would have said "Why are you taking pictures of THAT?"


The Window of My Studio - Josef Sudek - a classic series made available as a complete collection for the first time in 2008. Josef noticed his studio window 13 years after moving into his studio and over the next ten or so years produced a masterpiece working inside great constraints. Just goes to show that you never know when you'll find a great subject right under your nose. I traveled from Washington DC to Boston to see this series in a Boston museum and it was worth every bit of the expense to see it.


Too many books for me to choose just one, but McClellan Street has got to be the best book ever shot by 17 year olds. Unbelievably advanced for a pair of teenagers. (Lartigue was also very young, but that was almost 100 years ago)

Photobook of the year?

I would definitely vote for David Plowden's Vanishing Point. Okay, it was officially released October 2007, but still. Plowden's 50 year career was an extended elegy to America's dying industrial and agricultural heartland. This grand volume summarizes this visual poetry perfectly. It combines wonderful tritone reproductions, thoughtful text, and excellent digital typography into the most satisfying Photobook of the year.

I would nominate Aaron Hobson's Cinemascapes ( http://aaronhobson.com/ ) as the most interesting new photo book of the year.

Photobook: America by Zoe Strauss.

I would nominate "The Life of a Photograph", although it may well be 2010 before I comprehend all Mr. Abell shared with us in this fine book.

I would nominate the LUG (Leica User Group) YEARBOOK. This is a collection of photographs contributed by folks who are part of the LUG forum in the Net.

Not all pictures are taken with Leica gear but that does not disqualify entries. There is no judging and anyone in the LUG can submit either one or two images. A large number of images are of high standard.

At the time of printing in 2007, more than a hundred photogs from various parts of the globe have sent in entries, making it a publication of truly international flavour.

There is another one being produced for 2008 and will be in print in just a few days from now.

Dan K.

Larry Towell's,'The world from my front porch', gets my vote. Best, Nick

Lennart Nilsson, Stockholm. Half photo book, half journalism. Street photography over thirty years, a lot taken with the intention of illustrating a newspaper or magazine article.

How about the reprint of Masahisa Fukase's deeply moving "The Solitude of Ravens"?


I'm astonished by the color photographs of Joakim Eskildsen in his 'Roma Journeys' project. Joerg Colberg's Conscientious site turned me on to his work (naming him photog of the year).


I'd vote for Salgado's "Africa". It's stunning.

All the best for the New Year

Morry Katz

This has been a somewhat disappointing year to me for photography books (both aesthetics and digital technique).
I've bought several of the ones you have "suggested/recommended," and for the first time ever I've actually returned one to Amazon, and should have sent others back.

I absolutely loved "Aguirre: Der Zorn Gottes" when I saw it.
With respect to photography, many of the shots in that film still stick in my mind as some of the most memorable "photographs" I've ever seen, much like the final scene in Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (Kumonosu-jō), where Toshiro Mifune's Washizu (MacBeth) is being killed in a veritable hail of arrows:


Sorry for the digression....at least there is a tangential reference to photography. ;-)

I admittedly do not buy many photo books, rather I peruse them at the library. One I enjoyed more than most was Joe McNally's "The Moment it clicks". Great little snippets that offer insights, anecdotes and pearls of wisdom from a 20 year career as a photographer.

I didn't buy enough photo books this year to give a very informed list, but I really enjoyed..

Roy K. Metzker - Light Lines
William Christenberry - Working From Memory
Bill Wood's Business

I feel a deep sense of gratitude for all your recommendations. Your introduction to Saul Leiter's work, in particular, has really been tremendous this year. I suppose that's my vote. The daily presence of your blog is wonderful, too.

Thank you.

There are a few I would nominate, most that your blog readers will never see most likely such as from New Zealand

Fiat Lux by Andrew Ross
Aberhart, a survey of Laurence Aberhardt's work since the 1970's

and from China there have been some outstanding books, ones I particularly like include

Phantom Shanghai by Greg Girard
On the white by Jiang Zhi
Paper Men by Yan Chang jiang
Ma Jie Folk Singers by Jiang Jian (China's August Sander?)
Exhibition catalogue for Liu Bolin

Others have been already mentioned.

One that I always keep coming back to myself is what I think is one of the best books on photography ever. Susan Sontag's "On Photography", it was the book that made me think about why a/any photograph has/was/is taken.

I'd like to second Zoe Strauss' "America". Absolutely brilliant!

" An English Eye ". The photographs of James Ravilious. Stunning black and white paen to the English country side and its farm workers.

Paul Mc Cann

I still think it is possible to do a "Photographer of the Year" award. Create the award certificate, add it to your site and let everyone download it. We can add our own names and we can all be "Photographer of the Year."

One other meaningless award won't mean a thing to the world in general.

Photobooks are fine and enjoy browsing through, however in terms of variance and motivation and "beauty", which a photobook should supple its reader with I think 2008 is a good year to enter a newer media which has done more for the amateur photographer as any photobook ever has, or ever will.

Therefor I would like to nominate Flickr.com, it provides lengths of interesting browsing, enough documentation tips and tricks to get by on and definately insight into the new-, as well as old school photography.

Mine would have to be a German book of landscape photography, 'Verschwindende Landschaften' (Disappearing Landscapes), edited by Nadine Barth. I don't think there's an English version (although one might be planned) but it's the sheer variety of approaches that I find stimulating - from Michael Kenna's carefully-constructed minimalism to luscious monochrome work from the Three Gorges area of China and including some of Robert Adam's work documenting the clear-cut forests of the Northwest US..

The print quality is uniformly excellent and even if not all the images light your fire, there are sure to be enough that do. Well recommended.

Stephan Vanfleteren: "Belgicum"
I visited his exhibition in Antwerp this year and I was exited. The book is excellent.


Sort of off topic. That guy Aguire had to have been an acromegalic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Acromegaly_facial_features.JPEG
Big chin and ears, prominent forehead and eyebrows. And by the way do medical and similar publications really think covering the eyes is sufficient for privacy?

Sorry back to our regular programming.

My favorite is Fred Herzog's "Vancouver Photographs" although Sam Abell's "The Life of a Photograph" appeared from under the tree and I can't put it down.

I'd generalize from the re-release of "The Americans" to the Frank project (all his work except Cocksucker Blues), to the entire current Steidl output. They are bringing out classics and new work at a quality level that completely obsoletes the versions that made photo books popular in the 60's thru 80's.

Just looking at "The Americans", Richard Benson in his survey of "Printed Pictures" compared the plates that were printed in the first, French edition in rotogravure with the offset single-pass versions in the much more common 1969 Grossman edition. There's a lot of information lost, and it's not the deep shadows and dramatic highlights, it's midtones. The Steidl edition of "The Americans" restores that information. I've compared the 1959 and 2008 editions, and the claims made about the photographer reevaluating every print, in a few cases opening up the cropping or even selecting a different negative are not just hype.

One additional candidate -- Don McCullin's "In England," which traces his path from the Guvnors in London, through too many wars to count, to a resolution of sorts in the Somerset countryside.


The Roma Journeys by Joakim Eskildsen

Photo book of the year for me has to be "The Moment It Clicks" by Joe McNally.

It's a great read, full of tips and gives a great insight into Joe's thought processes on a shoot.

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