Photobooks of 2017: Martin Amis
Over the course of the year I share some of my personal picks from the Photobookstore shelves on the regular feature The List. A raft of impressive end of year releases made picking a final ten difficult this year. In no particular order, these were some of my favourites of 2017:
Feng Li – White Night
A new name to many but Chinese photographer’s Feng Li’s striking debut photobook may soon change that. Sharp flash illuminates an absurd chaotic barrage of surreal scenes in this utterly unique book. Probably the only book I picked up this year that I knew instantly would be on this list.
Mike Mandel – People In Cars
As the title suggest, People in Cars see Mike Mandel photographing passing motorists in 1970’s LA. Some are happy to be photographed, some less so, in this series of captured reactions. A simple premise, perfectly executed in this well designed photobook.
Mårten Lange – The Mechanism
It has been a strong year of releases by Mack Books, my favourite of the bunch was The Mechanism, Marten Lange’s expertly sequenced ominous look at contemporary urban life.
Krass Clement – Dublin
Dublin is a typically cinematic sequence of images from Clement’s time in Dublin in 1991, shot around the same time as his classic photobook Drum. An essential purchase for any Krass Clement aficionados and an excellent introduction to one of the finest photobook makers out there for everyone else.
Jamie Hawkesworth – Preston Bus Station
No half-measures in this impressive new book featuring Jamie Hawkesworth’s memorable images of the people flowing through Preston Bus Station. Exceptional printing, and a bold design make this reassuringly solid book a great success.
Stephen Gill – Night Procession
In 2014, Stephen Gill moves to the Swedish countryside to escape the busy city life. Reacting to his new environment, he placed cameras equipped with motion sensors, so that any movement triggered the camera shutter and an infra-red flash. In true Gill style, plant pigments from the area were used to make the remarkable final master prints featured in the resulting elegant photobook Night Procession.
Mayumi Suzuki – The Restoration Will
The Restoration Will tells the story of Mayumi Suzuki’s parents, owners of a photo studio, who went missing in the 2011 tsunami. This heartbreaking book was originally published in a small handmade edition early in the year, but thankfully a very similar trade edition has just been published by CEIBA Editions (see also their similarly excellent new edition of Picture of My Life by Junpei Ueda, one of my picks last year).
Rob Hornstra – Man Next Door
Man Next Door, is Rob Hornstra’s portrayal of his neighbor Kid, who passed away at the age of 42 which is told in a matter of fact manner, yet tellingly still manages to be very moving.
Leif Sandberg – The Ending
Ending is Leif Sandberg’s story of receiving news of a life-threatening disease. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 64, Leif began work on project where through the use of images he conveyed not only the emotional roller-coaster of dealing with the illness, but also coming to terms with the harsh reality of the ageing process. A thoroughly impressive debut photobook.
Fyodor Telkov – 36 Views
Inspired by the renowned series of prints 36 views of Mount Fuji by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, photographer Fyodor Telkov captured thirty-six images of the small mining town of Degtyarsk, in the Russian region of Sverdlovsk where at each end sits two huge waste heaps. A subtly powerful series of photos fill this highly effective book.
Martin Amis founded Photobookstore in 2006, and is rarely more than 10 feet from a pile of photobooks. His first photobook The Gamblers will be published in spring 2018.
Images: top – Feng Li – White Night, below Mayumi Suzuki – The Restoration Will, Fyodor Telkov – 36 Views