For those who are interested here is a list of 10 of my favorite photo books of 2012. I had some trouble compiling a list of 10 books this year. With the birth of our second son last April and changing jobs there was not much time left for things like photo book hunting. Here are the books in no particular order:
Coexistence by Stephen Gill (Nobody)
Stephen Gill remains one of my favorite artists and this book is again beautifully produced and contains great pictures. For this book Gill left Hackney Wick to document a pond within an industrial wasteland in Dudelange in Luxembourg. While working on the project Gill started involving the local residents who used to work in the steel factory the pond belonged to. Again there is enough experimentation. Gill used an underwater camera to shoot portraits through a haze of pond water and a scientific microscope to capture life in the pond.
House of Coates by Brad Zellar with photos by Lester B. Morrison (Little Brown Mushroom)
The story of the “legendary recluse Lester B. Morrison” written by Brad Zellar with pictures by Lester B. Morrison, a character created by Alec Soth. Like Broken Manual by Alec Soth and Lester B. Morrison, this is a story about “those who don’t carry the collaboration gene”. A fascinating read with great pictures in a beautiful book designed by Hans Seeger, who designs most of the books published by Little Brown Mushroom.
Anima by Charlotte Dumas (Self Published)
Charlotte Dumas published two books this year. Anima about burial horses at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and Companion, a collection of Polaroid photo’s. Both are highly recommended. What makes the pictures in Anima stand out within her oeuvre is that Dumas made them while the horses were falling asleep. The result is a fascinating series of portraits of horses in different states of consciousness.
Lenore by Erik van der Weijde (4478zine)
It is hard to keep up with Erik van der Weijde. I think he published seven books this year. Although this is just a small publication, I liked it because in stead of creating a special edition with a print he asked his mother in law to create a Lenore doll. This is not my Wfe is also highly recommended. His book on the work of architect Oscar Niemeyer I haven’t seen yet.
A New American Picture by Doug Rickard (Aperture)
This body of work is not new, but with A New American Picture Rickard created a disturbing book in the road trip tradition of Walker Evans or Robert Frank. A virtual road trip this time as Rickard used Google Street View to visit some of the poorest neighborhoods of America.
Life’s a Beach by Martin Parr (Aperture)
According to Alec Soth this might be his masterpiece. A beautifully made book in the style of an old fashioned family album with beach pictures taken all over the world. According to Parr America has street photography, but Britain has beach photography. This is the first Parr book I ever bought.
800 Views of Airports by Peter Fischli and David Weiss (Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König)
Photos of airports taken on Fischli and Weiss’s travels around the world since 1987. Way too many pictures of airport views but at the same time a fascinating document.
Heaven by Paul Kooiker (Van Zoetendaal Publishers)
A collection of Polaroids published in grids offering a fascinating view into the world of Paul Kooiker. As you might expect from Van Zoetendaal Publishers the quality is excelent.
The Netherlands - Off the shelf by Hans van der Meer (Paradox and YdocPublishing)
At first the pictures in this book look as boring as its topic, the uniformity and dullness of the public space in Dutch towns. They are all equipped with the same (street) furniture from the same uninspiring product catalogs. And if you look closer these pictures painfully disclose the effects these uninspiring and dull surroundings have on us.
The Christmas Tree Bucket - Trent Parke’s Family Album by Trent Parke (Steidl)
Just joking. This is the book that would have made it to my list, but like Broken Manual Steidl is delaying this publication month after month. I hope I can put it on the list next year.