Over the course of the year, I am fortunate enough to have many photobooks pass through my hands. Since May I have been recommending books as they are released on a monthly basis for Fotografia Magazine, where several of these selections first featured. In no particular order, here are 10 of my favourite photobooks from the past year:
1. George Georgiou – Last Stop
London as seen from a bus; Last Stop make excellent use of the leporello format as we follow George’s serendipitous portrait of London.
2. Alec Soth – Songbook
More than adequate proof why Alec Soth is considered the best photographer of his generation. Many of us have seen the images already in his series of Dispatches, but Songbook takes them to a new dimension.
3. Sohrab Hura – Life is Elsewhere
A very personal diary style book, Life Is Elsewhere explores the photographer’s challenging relationship with his mother who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. A dark journey, but full of love and tenderness.
4. JH Engström – Tout Va Bien
JH Engström was awarded the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2015 for this body of work. The book is partly autobiographical and uses a dizzying array of imagery and photographic techniques in what is one of the photographer’s best books to date.
5. Sam Harris – The Middle of Somewhere
The Middle of Somewhere spans a twelve-year period in the life of the photographer Sam Harris‘s family, since they have boldly decided to leave the rat race in search for a simpler existence. Family album style photobooks are nothing new, but few are as well designed and captured as this.
6. Olivia Arthur – Stranger
Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur imaginatively explores the sinking of a ship in 1961 off the port of Dubai in this haunting new book. The stunning printing on transparent paper is far more than just a gimmick and perfectly complements this beautiful project.
7. Ron Jude – Lago
In this perfectly sequenced follow-up to his 2012 photobook Lick Creek Line, Lago sees Ron Jude return to the California desert of his early childhood in this lyrical exploration of identity.
8. Dana Lixenberg – Imperial Courts 1993-2015
Dana Lixenberg photographed the South Central Los Angeles community over a period of 22 years to produce this compelling documentary work and photobook.
9. Henrik Malmström – Life is One, Live It Well
For four years, Henrik Malmström befriended regulars, bartenders and clients to became part of the scene in the bars of St. Georg in Hamburg. He captured the mood and the lurid details brilliantly in harshly lit colour. An interesting companion to Anders Petersen’s classic photobook Cafe Lehmitz.
10. Laura El-Tantawy – In The Shadow Of The Pyramids
A powerful personal view of the uprisings in Tahrir Square, 2011. With it’s perfect use of the photobook format, In The Shadow Of The Pyramids recently received a well deserved nomination for for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.
A selection of books from the Photobooks of 2015 feature can be purchased here.
Martin Amis founded PhotoBookStore in 2006 and is rarely more than ten feet from a pile of photobooks.