Photobooks of 2019: Martin Amis
Some of my favourites from the past year in no particular order:
The End of Industry by John Myers
The final installment in RRB’s catalogue raisonné of the work of the, until recently, under appreciated British photographer John Myers. This subtly haunting ode to the death of manufacturing is for me the pick of the trio. Buy all three volumes if you can, to fully appreciate the brilliance of Myers work.
Animals by Sage Sohier
Page after page of truly wonderful photographs of owners engaging with their pets/animals. Sohier’s knowing eye reveals far more here about the humans than the animals in this flawlessly composed set of images.
Good Morning, America by Mark Power
Mark Power has started his epic five book set of books exploring America in grand style with Volumes I and II of Good Morning, America. Quite aware of the photographic legacy that has gone before it, Power’s series will surely itself be seen as an important and individual body of work on America in the fullness of time.
Slant by Aaron Schuman
Taking it’s cue from an Emily Dickinson quote, Aaron Schuman tells it slant in this perfectly realised and equally rewarding book. Dark humour pervades but it is the photographer’s arresting images that linger in the mind.
Americans Parade by George Georgiou
Another outsider’s view of America – the impressively printed and suitably handsome Americans Parade tells us much about America and it’s people. Georgiou’s images are brimming with detail that reward repeat viewing. Oh, and that lay-flat binding…kudos to the printing team at MAS.
Carnival by Mark Steinmetz
I seem to have a Mark Steinmetz book in my list every year, and Carnival is right up there with the best of Steinmetz’ recent photobooks. An imposing slab of a book, Carnival once again shows the photographer’s seemingly effortless ability to create evocative timeless work.
Christmas Day, Bucks Pond Road by Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter’s previous book with publisher The Ice Plant, Local Objects has quietly become one of my favourites of recent years. Here once again, we take a walk with Carpenter through this beautifully bleak series of photographs.
By The Sea by Markéta Luskačová
Markéta Luskačová’s delightful images of the British seaside are full of warmth and make for an interesting counterpoint to Chris Killip’s much darker work in the North East from a similar time period.
The Pillar by Stephen Gill
The ever inventive Stephen Gill once again shows he has adapted marvelously to his new life in Sweden. The magnificent Night Procession is a hard act to follow, but The Pillar may actually surpass that books’s greatness.
Should Nature Change by John Gossage
A treasure from start to finish. A sense of uneasiness spreads in this expertly sequenced and observed series of recent images by one of America’s great photobook makers.
As several other contributors have mentioned, this has been a good year for photobooks. A number of other books were vying for inclusion in this list. These included ¥€$U$ (Jesus) by Pawel Jaszczuk , An Eventual Saturation by Toshiya Murakoshi, Blackwater River by Robbie Lawrence, Ex-Voto by Alys Tomlinson, I walk toward the sun which is always going down by Alan Huck, Kleinstadt by Ute & Werner Mahler, The Book of Roy by Neil Drabble, and the recently received pairing of Entrance to Our Valley by Jenia Fridyland and Were it not for by Michael Ashkin which may well have made the main list had I been allowed more time with them.
Martin Amis founded Photobookstore in 2006, and is rarely more than 10 feet from a pile of photobooks. His book The Gamblers was published in 2018 by RRB Publishing, and he is currently working on several other photobook projects.
Images: top – By The Sea by Markéta Luskačová, below – Good Morning, America by Mark Power, Carnival by Mark Steinmetz