Bookshelf Picks – April to June 2016, by Martin Amis

Early Times by Vasantha Yogananthan

Early Times is the first chapter of Vasantha Yogananthan’s ambitious long-term project A Myth of Two Souls which will eventually comprise seven photobooks. A magnificent start to the series, worthy of all the accolades his work is now receiving.


Santa Barbara Return Jobs Back to US by Alejandro Cartagena

During a residency in Santa Barbara California, Alejandro Cartagena took to the streets and to the World Wide Web to explore the idea of what this place could be. Imagery, design and printing come together perfectly in another exemplary book from both Alejandro Cartagena and publisher Skinnerboox.


Shadows of Wormwood by Arthur Bondar

Arthur Bondar’s self-published book Shadows of Wormwood explores the Exclusion Zone some 30 years after the Chernobyl tragedy. Bondar’s dark brooding images are complimented by some fine photobook design in this highly effective small treasure.


Bees and the Bearable by Chen Zhe

Bees and the Bearable is Chinese photographer Chen Zhe’s document of her history of self-inflicted harm. Elegantly presented as a layered notebook of photographs, diary entries, quote fragments and more, this harrowing book is both shocking and enlightening.


Provoke: Between Protest and Performance

The short-lived Japanese magazine Provoke – which included photographers Takuma Nakahira, Yutaka Takanashi and Daido Moriyama – is recognized as a major achievement in world photography of the postwar era. This handsome catalogue accompanies the first exhibition ever to be held about the magazine, and is an essential purchase for any collector of Japanese photobooks.


Lingering Ghosts by Sam Ivin

Sam Ivin’s attractively presented photobook offers a timely insight into the lives of asylum seekers in Britain through a series of surprisingly effective and haunting scratched portraits.


A Topical Times for these Times by Ken Grant

Since the 1980’s Ken Grant has photographed football culture in Liverpool, his home city. The generously titled A Topical Times for these Times: A Book of Liverpool Football pulls together some of his best work on the theme. Full of wonderful images from one of the most underappreciated British photographers of our time.


Astres Noirs by Katrin Koenning and Sarker Protick

A beautiful book by young publishers Chose Commune, Astres Noirs is the debut phtoobook for two artists who live thousands of miles apart whose peculiar photographic wanderings create a hauntingly beautiful dialogue.It is hard to believe that the extraordinary images within the book’s dark pages are all captured on mobile phone cameras. A dazzling debut.


Home Instruction Manual by Jan McCullough

Inspired by a cache of chatrooms offering suggestions on how to position everything from kettles to sofas to family snaps, and a 1950s manual titled How To Make The Home You Want, Jan McCullough rented a house and carried out the advice exactly over the period of two months. A cleverly realised project and a smart photobook which won the 2015 Kassel Fotobookfestival Dummy Award.


The Narcissistic City by Takashi Homma

UK-based publisher Mack Books published three new photobooks featuring work by Japanese photographers earlier this year. Without question, Takashi Homma’s elaborate portrayal of the city featuring gatefolds throughout is my pick.


Martin Amis founded Photobookstore in 2006, and is rarely more than 10 feet from a pile of photobooks.