Photobooks of 2017: Rudi Thoemmes

Photobooks of 2017: Rudi Thoemmes


I looked at fewer photo books this year, about 400-500, which is probably about 10% or thereabouts of the total published. The proportion of interesting books seemed to be up on last year


Carolyn Drake – Internat
After what I felt were two over-designed books, this one really works beautifully in spite of the whiteish cover, (booksellers really don’t like white covers).


Chris Killip – Askam-in-Furness 1982
Prefered this simple Cafe Royal Book  to the well-printed Coffee-book version of Flagrante.  Anyone who ever has to wrap-up books has a distinct liking for small books but this is not the only reason why we like CRB at RRB.


John Myers – The World is Not Beautiful
On first sight probably one of the dullest books and it does not get much better on second or third sights. Makes Michael Schmidt look really exciting which is quite difficult to achieve. A slow-burner and a tribute to flatness from one of England’s most underrated photographers.


Susan Meiselas – A Room of Their Own
From Carnival Strippers to Room of Their own – there is a sense of Susan closing the circle here. Very different, modestly produced and well worth the effort.


Laura El-Tantawy – Beyond Here is Nothing
Most annoying book of the year in some ways though still interesting enough. Particularly brilliant if you like photo books and enjoy origami.


Anouk Kruithof – Automagic
The book which originally was going to enrich UPS and Federal Express (five kilos was mentioned) it ended-up as ten small books and works and looks much better for it. Comes in a nice box too so no complains in the packing department.


Marketa Luskacova – To Remember
Self-published in 2016 but it did not really come to our or anyone else’s attention till this year. Another white cover but hey, who cares with photographs like this?


Krass Clement – Dublin
My totally unbiased choice for book of the year and one of the reasons we went  into publishing. It must be quite annoying to the Chris Killip School of Photography (where you have to study the family tree for at least 15 years before you can take a portrait) to have someone like Krass come along who in less than three days produced Drum and Dublin.


Christian Borchert –  Schattentanz / Shadow Dance
Simple and well-designed book of one of the most important East German  photographers working in the former DDR. Slow moving and in black and white


Mathieu Asselin – Monsanto
Clever and brilliant. Probably the clear winner as the best book in the poll of polls  this year, for good reasons.


Rudi Thoemmes, Bookseller and Publisher at RRB Photobooks in Bristol. He also runs Photobook Bristol and is a Trustee at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol.


Images: top – Carolyn Drake – Internat, below – John Myers – The World Is Not Beautiful, Susan Meiselas – A Room Of Their Own