Photobooks of 2018: Eva-Maria Kunz

Photobooks of 2018: Eva-Maria Kunz


I seem unable to make a normally numbered list, mostly because books talk to each other, there’s a red thread going through the whole selection of these, to me, noteworthy books published in 2018. Or probably it’s more a web than a thread. Or it’s only in my mind. So I start with the first ones and see where this goes.


When I first got Mar by Marijn Bax (Fw:Books) I thought: why, too complicated. But, as an unbound book with single spreads mixed to folded ones of different sizes when opened up, it does make sense. Just like Mar’s very long life hasn’t been a straight line, the narrative of the book isn’t one, either. Mar wasn’t married, didn’t have a family of her own, unlike Akihito Yoshida’s Grandmam, who looked after his cousin Daiki, until it was him looking after her. Then, one day, he disappeared. Their story is narrated in The Absence of Two (self published/RPS). Daiki took his own life, like Kenji Chiga’s friend. His The Suicide Boom (self published/RPS) is an investigation into motives, places and methods of the increasing number of people ending their own lives in Japan.


Women are not allowed to decide by themselves, for themselves, and additionally have to carry the shame, even though the wrong doing is inflicted by men. Maybe with time this will change, but right now, as Dina Oganova tells us in Frozen Waves (self published), men still have the power, backed also by custom and cultural upbringing. And what about the children, the most vulnerable ones in our societies? What if they get abused by representatives of an institution that should love and protect them: the Catholic Church? Tomaso Clavarino’s Confiteor (Zine Tonic) is a small book that gives a glimpse into how child abuse survivors cope. A huge topic that needs to be explored further.


Will My Mannequin Be Home When I Return by Arko Datto (L’Artiere) is a flashy coloured spin into a night wide awake, it takes me into a world that I’m not sure I want to get to know. As coloured as Datto’s world is, as black is Jorge Panchoaga’s. There is that feel of a deep connection to the land and water in Dulce y Salada (CROMA editorial y Editorial Unimagdalena), but also that end of the world feel, strengthened by an essay by Juan Cárdenas. And despite the fact that in a few years the eerie landscape we see in Cry of an echo (Lecturis) will be gone, the end of world feel does ease up a little bit, thanks to Malgorzata Stankiewicz poetic imagery.


I cannot not mention How We See: Photobooks by Women, edited by Russet Lederman, Olga YatskevichMichael Lang (10×10 Photobooks) as a book on books, and Vintage Addis Ababa, curated by Wongel Abebe, Philipp Schütz, Nafkot Gebeyehu (Ayaana Publishing) as a book on archive photographs.

As always with lists or best of’s, this is a very personal gut reaction to books I’ve bought this year. It seems to me that in 2018 the quality has gone up, as in there were more good books than last year. Besides being a book collector, I’m also a co-founder and the creative director at ceiba editions, a small independent publishing house, based in Italy.

Images: top – Will My Mannequin Be Home When I Return by Arko Datto, below – The Absence of Two by Akihito Yoshida