BEST PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS of 2015....and Some Honorable Mentions

 click on images to enlarge
FACING CHANGE: DOCUMENTING AMERICA a collection of images by award-­winning photographers Maggie Steber, Donna Ferrato, Carlos Javier Ortiz, David Burnett, Danny Wilcox Frazier, Stanley Greene, Andrew Lichtenstein, Darcy Padilla and Lucian Perkins, authored by Leah Bendavid-Val. It includes a wealth of images and important documentary stories that tell the story of today’s America....www.facingchangeusa.org/book

+  +  +

 Bil. Sandusky, Ohio. Photograph Alec Soth

SONGBOOK by Alec Soth. Known for his haunting portraits of solitary Americans in Sleeping by the Mississippi and Broken Manual, Alec Soth has recently turned his lens toward community life in the country read more here.
+  +  + 

Mrs. Jefferson, Fort Scott, Kansas, 1950
Photograph by Gordon Parks 

GORDON PARKS: BACK TO FORT SCOTT by Karen Hass. Photographs by Gordon Parks (Steidl). The first African American photographer to be hired full time by Life magazine, Gordon Parks was often sent on assignments involving social issues that his white colleagues were not asked to cover. In 1950 he returned on one such assignment to his hometown of Fort Scott in southeastern Kansas: he was to provide photographs for a piece on segregated schools and their impact on black children...read more here
+  +  +

DETROIT: UNBROKEN DOWN Photographs: Dave Jordano; Text by Nancy Watson Barr, Dawoud Bey and Sharon Zukin (powerHouse Books). Dave Jordano returned to his hometown of Detroit to document the people who still live in what has become one of the country’s most economically challenging cities....read more here

+  +  +

CHARTH VADER Photographs by Ashly Stohl. Follow the journey of the the photographer's visually impaired son, Charth Vader, as he battles his way through childhood. Profits from this book benefit the Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, published by Peanut Press.

+  +  +

THE PHONE BOOK by Robert Herman (Schiffer). Known for his award winning street photography, Herman used Hipstamatic's square format to create this unique collection of iPhone photographs made while traveling across the world. The New York Times Review here

+  +  +

Black #14, as seen at The Marlborough Gallery, 2011

POULTRY SUITE: Photographs by Jean Pagliuso (Hirmer Publications). Fashion photographer Jean Pagliuso created an homage to her childhood in Southern California, where she helped her father breed and show Bantam Cochins. POULTRY SUITE showcases more than twenty breeds of chickens—from Sebrights to Spangled Hamburgs—as they have never before been seen. 

+  +  +

"Shrouds/Sudarios" haunting images of women either in agony or ecstasy—the viewer doesn’t know which until he learns that these women were forced to witness the torture of their loved ones––are printed on linen in an effect that resembles the Shroud of Turin.

"Drifting Away/Rio Abajo" images of artifacts of the hundreds of people who have “disappeared" without a trace in Columbia ––a shirt, a shoe, or a pair of eyeglasses–– are photographed in water and then suspended in glass.  

A tribute to the more than 250,000 
"disappeared" in Colombia...

MEMENTO MORI: TESTIMENT TO LIFE (George F. Thompson Publishing) Photographs and text by Columbian photographer Erika Diettes. With an Interview by Anne Wilkes Tucker. Essay by Ileana Diéguez. "MEMENTO MORI: Testament to Life" presents four bodies of work in two volumes in a transparent slipcase. The first volume contains installation shots of the work in cathedrals, churches, museums, exhibitions, and memorials in Latin America, Europe, Australia, and the United States. The second volume contains the plates of the three series: Drifting Away/Rio Abajo, Relics/Relicarios, Shrouds/Sudarios.
+  +  +

 Photograph by Ming Murray Smith

TIMELESS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY KAMOINGE Edited by Anthony Barboza and Herb Robinson, Coedited by Vincent Alabiso, Foreword by Quincy Troup (Schiffer). Kamoinge is the oldest collaborative group of photographers in the nation, a pioneering Photographic Collective of NY-based African-American Photographers founded in 1963 at the height of the American Civil Rights Movement. Roy DeCarava was their first Director. To commemorate it’s 50th year, this book includes over 280 stunning photos interspersed with insights and thoughts from Kamoinge’s 30 members, who include many of the nation’s most acclaimed photographers; Anthony Barboza, Adger W. Cowans, Salimah Ali, Mark Lee Blackshear, Spencer Anthony Burnett, Gerald Cyrus, C. Daniel Dawson, Albert Fennar, Collette Fournier, Russell K. Frederick, Jerry Jack, Wayne Lawrence, Ming Murray Smith, Toni Parks, John Pinderhughes, Radcliffe Roye, Herbert Randall, Eli Reed, Herb Robinson, June DeLairre Truesdale, Jamel Shabazz, Frank Stewart, Shawn Walker, Budd Williams.

+  +  +

INDECENT EXPOSURES: Eadweard Muybridge's "Animal Locomotion” Nudes" by Sarah Gordon (Yale University Press). Photographer Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904) presented his iconic Animal Locomotion series in 1887. He made thousands of photographs of humans and animals in motion, including more than 300 plates of nude men and women engaged in activities such as swinging a baseball bat, playing leapfrog, and performing housework—an astonishing fact given the period’s standards of propriety. This book includes many lesser-known photographs published for the first time.

+  +  +

JULIA MARGARET CAMERON: Photographs to Electrify You with Delight and Startle the World by Curator Marta Weiss (MACK Books). Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79) was one of the most important and innovative photographers of the 19th century. Criticized in her lifetime for her unconventional techniques, she is now celebrated as a pioneering portraitist. 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of her first museum exhibition – the only one in her lifetime – held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1865. Drawing on the V&A’s significant collection, which includes photographs acquired directly from Cameron and letters she wrote to the museum’s founding director, Curator Marta Weiss tells the story of Cameron’s artistic development. She presents, for the first time, a group of photographs recently revealed to have belonged to Cameron’s friend and mentor the artist G.F. Watts. This discovery sheds light on previously unacknowledged aspects of Cameron’s experimental approach.
+  +  +

 A is for Angels

In her new book, ALPHABET by Debbie Fleming Caffery (Fall Line Press), inspired by her grandchildren created a children’s book disguised as an art book (or vice versa). Caffery, one of my favorite photographers, extraordinary photographs are full of shadows and secrets. In this book she chose 26 black and white photographs of her work to illustrate the letters of the alphabet; creating some new images for the book, while pulling others from her extensive archive. This collection will warm both your eye and your heart. 

+  +  +

 Fur from Daughter
Photograph © Aline Smithson

SELF + OTHERS: PORTRAIT AS AUTOBIOGRAPHY Photographs by Aline Smithson (Magenta Foundation) Aline Smithson's first monograph includes photographs spanning over twenty years. A gorgeous must-have photography book, with a foreword by Paula Tognarelli, Executive Director and Curator at the Griffin Museum of Photography; an introduction by Karen Sinsheimer, Curator of Photography at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and some very interesting, revealing text from the photographer about her photographic series, opens each chapter.

+  +  +

Joni Sternbach/Courtesy of Rick Wester Fine Art

Joni Sternbach: Surf Site Tin Type (Damiani) texts by noted photo critic and historian Lyle Rexer, curator April M. Watson, and Chris Malloy and Johnny Abegg, both well-known surfers and filmmakers. Over the past decade Brooklyn-based photographer Joni Sternbach has traveled around the world, creating tintype portraits of contemporary surfers using the nineteenth-century wet-plate collodion process. Stunning in their detail, these one-of-a-kind images evoke the romance and adventure of surfing, and the bold individualism of the men and women who live to ride the waves. 

+  +  +

THE WATCHERS: Photographs by Haley Morris-Cafiero, Text by Amanda de Cadenet (The Magenta Foundation). Haley Morris-Cafiero has travelled the world to capture how people judge one another. Working with an assistant, she photographs herself in various locations being leered at, laughed at or ignored by people on the street. Each frame is chosen based on the strangers in the background, if they have a critical or questioning look, or if there is a gesture in their body language. By reversing the gaze back on the strangers, the collection begins a conversation about nonverbal interaction and the view society has on body image.

 +  +  +

EVERY BREATHE WE DREW: Photographs by Jess T. Dugan; Text by curator Amy Galpin; interview by Dawoud Bey, (Daylight Books). Over the past decade, Jess T. Dugan (born 1986) has created intimate portraits that engage with issues of identity, sexuality, gender and community. Her first book, Every Breath We Drew, compiles color portraits of the artist and others….read more here

+  +  +
Honorable Mentions

Irving Penn "Beyond Beauty” by Curator Merry A. Foresta (Yale University Press). Drawing from the extensive holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, including a major gift from The Irving Penn Foundation, this magnificent catalogue compiles 161 of Penn’s iconic images, including a number of unpublished works.
 +  +  +

That Day: Pictures in the American West. Photographs by Laura Wilson; Essay by Curator John Rohrbach (Yale University Press). Wilson’s subjects range from legendary West Texas cattle ranches to impoverished Plains Indian reservations to lavish border-town cotillions. Also featured are compelling portraits of artists who are associated with the region, including Donald Judd, Ed Ruscha, and Sam Shepard.
+  +  + 

COSPLAY IN AMERICA, Volume 2 by Ejen Chuang. Cosplay in America V2 takes a reader on a visual journey through the culture of cosplay in the United States. Photographer Ejen Chuang spent two years visiting 20 cities to gather images for this book... read more here

+  +  + 

FINDING HOME: SHELTER DOGS AND THEIR STORIES by Traer Scott (Princeton Architectural Press). Scott began photographing these dogs in 2005 as a volunteer at animal shelters. Her first book, Shelter Dogs, was a runaway success, and in this follow-up, Scott introduces a new collection of canine subjects, each with indomitable character and spirit:


Aline Smithson said...

Thank you to the wonderful Elizabeth Avedon for including Self & Others in your most excellent Best Photography Book List...so honored to be included with so many amazing books and photographers!

David Carol, Peanut Press said...

At the end of every year out come the "Best of Lists". There's always a bunch of "best photo books" of the year lists by people who really have no clue about what a good photo book is. On the other hand there are some people who know a lot about photography books. For example, Elizabeth Avedon, she has designed some of my favorite photo books of all time, for example Richard Avedon's "In the American West". So when she voices her opinion I listen. Well guess what happened, Elizabeth named Ashly Leonard Stohl's "Charth Vader" as one of 2015s "BEST PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS"! We at Peanut Press are not only thrilled that our first book sold out the regular edition so quickly but now to be included in such an impressive list of photographers/books is an amazing honor. Thank you to everyone that bought a copy of the book and thank you Elizabeth for selecting "Charth Vader" as a favorite of 2015!!

It's also very cool to be on the same list as friends, Joni Sternbach, Aline Smithson and Julia Margaret Cameron!

Ashly Leonard Stohl said...

Thank you, Elizabeth Avedon for putting Charth Vader in such good company!! (Honestly I keep refreshing the page to make sure it wasn't a mistake)

Michael Kirchoff said...

It's very rare that I see a "Best Of" list of any kind that I agree with, especially taking on the harrowing task of sorting through this years stellar photobook offerings, but Elizabeth has hit the nail on the head! Her expertise at the art and craft of creating beautiful books is beyond compare, and this list is a testament to the talents of each and every one of those selected. Wonderful to see so many talented friends like Aline, Ashly, Ejen, Traer, and Joni make the list as well. I have more than a few of these already, and am looking at getting the rest as soon as possible. The only one I would add to the list is Alexey Titarenko's "The City is a Novel", but that's just me putting my own beliefs into the list. Congrats to all!

the plant gardener said...

thank you

Unknown said...

I am honored to have "Indecent Exposures" listed in such illustrious company. Thank you!