BEST PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS of 2014....and Some Honorable Mentions

Leon Levinstein
Steidl / Howard Greenberg Library

 Saul Leiter: Early Black and White
Steidl / Howard Greenberg Library

 James Karales
Steidl / Howard Greenberg Library

Howard Greenberg and his gallery teamed with Gerhard Steidl, the preeminent German art and photography book publisher, to launch their new imprint “Steidl / Howard Greenberg Library,” with the release of three monographs – Saul Leiter: Early Black and White, James Karales, and Leon Levinstein. Read more here

 Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography
Edited by Peter Barberie with Amanda N. Bock
Yale University Press (372 pages!)

Through his variety of innovative images, photographer Paul Strand (1890–1976) played a crucial role in establishing the medium's significance as a modern art form. Celebrating the Philadelphia Museum of Art's recent acquisition of the core collection of Strand's prints from the Paul Strand Archive, this stunning book comprehensively reassesses the artist's career in light of current scholarship and critical debates about his work. Featuring more than 250 plates, the catalogue includes many of Strand's iconic early photos such as Wall Street and Blind Woman alongside lesser-known master prints from all phases of his career. Read more here

 Private. Photographs by Mona Kuhn

Private. Grand Falls, 2012
 Photograph © Mona Kuhn

For her fifth book with Steidl, Mona Kuhn has entered the heart of the American desert and returned with a sequence of pictures that is seductive, enigmatic and a little unsettling. "Private" proposes a world in which concrete reality and the imaginary are one. Plants and animals on the edge of survival, sun-drenched landscapes and wind-sculpted earth are intercut with a series of nudes that push Kuhn’s renowned sensitivity to human form into unexpected directions.  

Tones of Dirt and Bone
Photographs by Mike Brodie, Twin Palms Publishers

"Tower Brodie climbed next to the railroad tracks near Jack Woody's house in New Orleans." Twin Palms Publishers, 2014. Photograph © Mike Brodie

 Mike Brodie spent years crisscrossing the U.S. amassing a collection, now appreciated as one of the most impressive archives of American travel photography. The pictures in this book are taken on the road; they precede the work in his first book, A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, subjects from New York City to San Francisco. Read more here

 Gomorrah Girl by Valerio Spada
 Twin Palms Publishers

Valerio Spada tells the story of the murder of Annalisa Durante, a young woman caught in the crossfire of a Mafia shootout, and the problems of growing up in a crime-ridden area. Bound together through an innovative, book-within-a-book design, are Spada’s photographs documenting adolescence in the land of Camorrah (the name for the Mafia in Naples) and pages detail the police investigation.  Read more here

 36 Blue Sky Books

Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, OR, now in its fortieth year of exhibiting great photography, published 36 monographs this year by 36 previously unpublished photographers they've shown in their gallery. Read more here

The Day the Dam Collapses
Photographs by Hiroshi Watanabe
Daylight Books / Tosei-sha Publishing, Japan

The Day the Dam Collapses
 Photograph © Hiroshi Watanabe

"....images somewhere between the real world and images pulled to form a single kigo-beyond Zen" read more here

Studio 54 
Photographs by Tod Papageorge
Stanley/Barker Editions

“Papageorge always had his camera at hand and between 1978 and 1980 he celebrated with the rich and beautiful, the artists and starlets; even today viewers can witness the eccentric and hedonistic party nights in his photographs. They revive the feeling of the disco era and express a profoundly urban spirit of directness, which condensed in New York at that time.” Read more here

Vivian Maier: A Photographer Found
By John Maloof 
Text: Marvin Heiferman  Foreword: Laura Lippman
Harper Design

The definitive monograph of American photographer Vivian Maier, exploring the full range and brilliance of her work and the mystery of her life. The selection of the photographer’s work—created during the 1950s through the 1970s in New York, Chicago, and on her travels around the country—is almost exclusively unpublished, including her previously unknown color work. It features images of and excerpts from Maier’s personal artifacts, memorabilia, and audiotapes, made available for the first time. This remarkable volume draws upon recently conducted interviews with people who knew Maier, which shed new light on Maier’s photographic skill and her life.

 You and I
Photographs by Ryan McGinley
Twin Palms Publishers, Second edition

Twin Palms publisher, Jack Woody, worked on this compilation for over seven years. He told me (while suppressing a laugh), "Some books just take longer than others." After viewing the sequencing of the book many times – it was well worth the wait. The images are skillfully edited and presented in a beautifully printed, clothbound, large format volume with essays by Vince Aletti and Sylvia Wolf, both in English and French. Read more here


Photograph © Paul McDonough
Photograph © Paul McDonough

Sight Seeing
Photographs by Paul McDonough
Hard Cover, 48 pages
Published by Sasha Wolf Gallery

"McDonough has often said that the intimacy he could feel, if only for a second, in the moments when he snapped his pictures was extremely seductive to him..." read more here

Seas Without A Shore
Photographs by  Chris Anthony

The scenarios document a species as seen everyday through the eyes of the artist, with the writings of Edgar Allan Poe serving as a beacon of light and a source of inspiration. Mask-making, sculpture, and costume design is an important part of the process, defining the unique and demented little world Anthony lives and shoots in. The mysteries of the sea figure greatly in these pictures with a crescendo of color images depicting survivors braving waves and currents, perhaps the result of a future world where ocean tides will wash away the planet’s coastlines.

A Field Guide to Snow and Ice
Photographs by Paula McCartney
Silas Finch
Includes 48 black and white and full color plates printed with UV inks on uncoated paper. Leporello binding with multiple panel widths and stiff front and back covers. With the spine detached from the front cover, the book becomes an installation piece approximately 34' long.

 Grays the Mountain Sends
Photographs by Bryan Schutmaat
Second Edition / Silas Finch 

 L.A., 1971
Photographs by Anthony Hernandez
Silas Finch

This sequence of 12 images – all taken in Los Angeles, California on the same day in 1971 – represents some of the earliest black and white work by Anthony Hernandez. Aluminum front and back covers.

Islands of the Blest
Edited by Bryan Schutmaat + Ashlyn Davis
Silas Finch

These photographs depict various places in the American West, and were taken over a one hundred-year period, from the 1870s through the 1970s. The photographers represented range from the completely unknown to some of America’s most distinguished practitioners of the medium. All of the images were sourced from digital public archives.


Photographs by Martin Schoeller

Whether portraits of political leaders, Hollywood stars, business entrepreneurs, or contemporary music royalty, these images are as daring as they are exacting, playful and precise. Regardless of the subject and setting, Schoeller's photographs seemingly come to life.

Hasted Kraeutler

Mont St. Michel and Shiprock
Photographs by William Clift
Pearmain Press

 Photograph  Lesly Deschler Canossi

Domestic Negotiations 
Photographs by Lesly Deschler Canossi

Domestic Negotiations conveys the emotional and intimate tenderness of family while revealing the raw and delicate nature of the relationships we try so desperately to preserve.

The Home Stage
 Photographs by Jessica Todd Harper
Text: Alison Nordström + Alain de Boton

Harper's naturalistic images pause or recreate real life for the camera; the play between the often-formal environment and her subjects--intimately portrayed family members--creates images that seem at once intimate and artificial. Her latest collection is thus aptly called The Home Stage, a double entendre that references the home-bound lifestyle of families with small children as well as the idea that home is the stage on which children first learn to live....read more on Amazon

Damiani Books 
Jessica Todd Harper 

Escape Artist
 The Art of Fran Forman
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd

In this rich and dream-like collection of photo-paintings, artist and fabulist Fran Forman offers characters, scenes and visual narratives that lure the imagination.The exquisite poems and story by writer Michelle Blake act as a guidebook to these vast imaginary worlds, suggesting voices for some of the characters and destinations for some of the journeys. 

Photograph (c) John F. Martin /All Rights Reserved

  In Character: Opera Portraiture
Foreword: Amy Tan  Preface: David Gockley

In Character: Opera Portraiture showcases the work of John F. Martin, who for years set up a portable studio in the basement of the San Francisco Opera and photographed the players in costume and full makeup right before or after they took the stage. The subjects include operas greatest stars, such as Anna Netrebko, Natalie Dessay, Deborah Voigt, Juan Diego Flórez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Their roles run the gamut of opera personalities: heroes and heroines, villains and outcasts, royalty and common folk, Biblical figures and creatures of myth. Includes an interview with world-renowned soprano Danielle de Niese.
Crusade For Art
Jennifer Schwartz
Crusade Press

“In Crusade For Your Art, Jennifer Schwartz has written one of the most comprehensive guides to date for both the professional and emerging fine art photographer to navigate the current world of Photography. With contributions from leading photography museum, gallery and photo directors, the expert advice given is instrumental in creating what every photographer needs to know to navigate the current art market. I absolutely love this guide. It covers all bases!  I whole-heartedly recommend this masterful guide to the photographic community.”–Elizabeth Avedon

Pine Lake by Douglas Stockdale
Pine Lake by Douglas Stockdale
"A semi-fictional narrative about a multi-generational summer rite"

The Memory of Stone
Photographs by Erv Schroeder
Univ. of New Mexico Press

Erv Schroeder’s portrait of the Colorado Plateau bears witness to the primordial forces of the earth—the raw power that moved and shifted huge hunks of rock to form natural stone sculptures. Read more here

East or West:
A Walking Journey Along Shikoku's 88 Temple Pilgrimage
Photographs by Alexandra Huddleston

In September 2010, the photographer Alexandra Huddleston set out on an 800-mile walk around the island of Shikoku, Japan. To complete the Shikoku Ohenro trail pilgrims worship at 88 temples on the island, following a route that loosely traces the life and legends of the Buddhist saint Kōbō Daishi.  Read more here

Edited by John Maloof
Essay by Elizabeth Avedon
Published by PowerHouse Books 2013

 Photography books are alive and well at The Strand Bookstore. Open since 1927, The Strand carries new, used, rare and collectable photography books http://www.strandbooks.com

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The above list is just a small portion of the excellent photography books from 2014. Check out some of the other 2014 Best Photo Book Lists for many more!

TIME Best Photobooks List


Lawrence Schwartzwald said...

The Levinstein is one of my favorite all time photo books!

Sandy Alpert said...

The Paul Strand book is wonderful. The current exhibition of his prints at The Phila. Museum Of Art is fantastic! Until Jan. 4th.

Lesly Deschler Canossi said...

This is wonderful in every way. i love these lists. Thank you for including my little book "Domestic Negotiations". I am both thrilled and humbled in such beautiful company! 2015 promises to be a magnificent year.

Stefan Vanthuyne said...

That Paul Strand book looks really interesting.

Kathleen Clark/Spot Photo said...

Thanks to Elizabeth Avedon for including Spot Photo Works artist Chris Anthony in her selection.

Mindy Veissid said...

Students: if you're looking for some photography books to add to your collection, check this list out.

Douglas Stockdale said...

Thanks for including my artist book "Pine Lake" on Best Photography Books of 2014!! Wow!!!!
and I am in amazing company ;- )

Paula McCartney said...

Thank you for including "A Field Guide to Snow and Ice" on your list!

Sarah Hadley said...

Congratulations to Fran Forman, Jennifer Schwartz and Douglas Stockdale for making this amazing list!

Katrin Eismann said...

Beautiful choices by Elizabeth Avedon for Photobooks of the Year.

Christopher Rauschenberg said...

Our Blue Sky Books are in excellent company on Elizabeth Avedon's great list of the best photography books of 2014.

Fran Forman said...

Delighted to be included among these illustrious Top PhotoBooks for 2014, as selected by Elizabeth Avedon!

John F. Martin said...

Thank you Elizabeth for including my book in your best of 2014. A very impressive list indeed!

Susan May Tell said...

GREAT!! Great list! Thank you for this.


Unknown said...

Merry Christmas and happy new year!!