Miwa Susuda’s Best Photobooks of 2014


1. Jason Nocito, PUD II (Dashwood Books, 2014)

Nobody, especially in a big city like New York, talks about their feelings; only their thoughts. Everything, including photography, tends to become carefully calculated and overly diplomatic, or quiet. Probably because it is easy to be less personal or emotionally available to the viewer. On the other hand, Jason Nocito’s PUD II stands fearlessly and loudly – suggesting an almost aggressive yet vulnerable sensibility, without any hesitation. Using bold color combinations and facing the subject straightforward from his pure internal voice, PUD II eloquently portrays the reality of contemporary urban life and introduces a fresh perspective into the long tradition of New York street photography.


2. Jim Goldberg, Rich and Poor (Steidl, 2014)

Although three decades have passed since its original publication, this new, expanded edition of Jim Goldberg’s Rich and Poor continues to resonate truth in many people’s hearts and attracts a new generation of photo-book lovers. This is proof of a masterpiece.


3. Martina Hoogland Ivanow, Speedway (Livraison, 2014)

Unlike much sports photography, Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s Speedway is creative and original, akin to experimental theater. Her artistic talent couldn’t be fully realized without the sincere understanding of her work by her publishers Johan Sandberg and Henrik Timonen’s editing and art direction.


4. Nobuyoshi Araki and Juergen Teller, Araki Teller, Teller Araki (Eyesencia/Match and Company, 2014.)

Despite the difficulty of combining two photographers’ works, Araki Teller, Teller Araki successfully marries their images while being elegant and harmonious. That is because this title was conceived by Araki’s long-time friend/curator, Hisako Motoo, in collaboration with the designer Satoshi Machiguchi (published on the occasion of the exhibition, Araki Teller, Teller Araki at OstLicht in Vienna in spring, 2014).  Dashwood’s owner David Strettell’s first response to seeing this title was “The Japanese do know how to make a beautiful book”, and attests that this is one of the best of their publications.


5. Thomas Ruff, Lichten (Roma, 2014)

Roma has become an important art-publisher – and this Thomas Ruff title is a great example why this is true. Through this book I appreciate Ruff’s art more than ever – and I am now motivated to learn more about his work.


6. Katsumi Watanabe, Rock Punk Disco (PPP Editions, 2014) 

Outside of Japan, no publisher other than PPP Editions conceives the most beautiful Japanese photo-books. Publisher Andrew Roth’s deep appreciation of Japanese photography makes this publication as vibrant and exciting as Watanabe’s first Shinjyuku book, Shinjuku Guntoden 66/73 / Shinjuku Thievery Story 66/73 (Bara-gaho-sha, 1973).


7. Ken Schles, Invisible City (Steidl, 2014)

Ken Schles’ strong renderings of ’80s New York photography appear to be cinematic – and can be compared to Martin Scorsese’s early films such as Who’s That Knocking at My Door, Mean Streets, and Taxi Driver. Schles’ newly reissued Invisible City straightforwardly captured the ecstasy and despair which his beloved city screamed of.


8. Eiki Mori, Intimacy (Nanaroku-sha 2013)

Eiki Mori is one of the most important young Japanese photographers working today – he captures the reality of the contemporary Tokyo scene. Without drama or shock, Mori induces the viewer into his peaceful and tranquil world.


9. Daisuke Yokota, Vertigo (Newfave Books, 2014)

I very much respect Yokota’s vitality and integrity to create so many books over the last couple of years. Among his publications, Vertigo best presents his rigor and capacity as a talented, emerging artist. This beautiful publication must be the result of a close collaboration with his publisher, Kohei Oyama. Oyama is the one of the first curators/publishers who recognized Yokota’s talent – and supported his work for the past eight years.


10. Brett Lloyd, Scugnizzi (Dashwood Books, 2014)

Scugnizzi is an ambitious project by a young British photographer, Brett Lloyd, as it deals with two important themes in history of photo books: youth culture and beach imagery. There have been many masterpieces that dealt with these subjects including Lisette Model‘s Lisette Model (Aperture, 1979), Danny Lyon’s Bikeriders (MacMillan/Collier Books, 1968), Karlheinz Weinberger’s Photos 1954-1995 (Scalo, 2000), Bruce Gilden’s Coney Island (Trebruk Publishing, 2002), and Joseph Szabo’s Teenage (Greybull Press, 2003). His portraits of young people on the beaches of Naples are realistically alive and naturally glorious – and they are created through his pure curiosity and excitement about landscape. It is an absolute joy to discover that Lloyd’s Scugnizzi is in the same league – he should be recognized as one of today’s most talented young photographers.

Miwa Susuda is Photobook Consultant of Dashwood Books, New York. She is Director of Session Press to introducing new work by contemporary Japanese artists. As a contributing writer to Fraction Magazine Japan, she interviewed Alec Soth and Mitch Epstein.  Her writing includes “Photography and Language” for 10 x 10 American Photobook catalogue and “On Daido” exhibition catalogue for 6th International Fotobookfestival in Kassel, Germany.