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

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 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.
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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
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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

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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.

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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

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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. 

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"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.
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 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.

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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.

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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.
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 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. 

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 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.

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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. 

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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.

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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

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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.
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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.
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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

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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:


MONA KUHN: Stops Los Angeles Traffic With Art! Q+A With Mona Kuhn on Curating Billboards

Carolyn Doucette, Great North American Landscapes Vol.1 #3 (2014). Location: Hollywood West of Bronson, South Side, Facing West

Edward Ruscha's "Baby Jet" at Melrose by Paramount Pictures

Mona Kuhn, AD 6046 (2014)
at Highland North of Melrose, East Side, Facing North

Nathan Bell, Make It Rain (2015)
Highland South of Willoughby, East Side, Facing North

Geir Moseid, Untitled (2012)
Sunset S/L 240 E. Vine, Facing East

–Curator Mona Kuhn

The Billboard Creative (TBC) launched its second Billboard Creative Q4 Show, curated by photographer Mona Kuhn, this December on 33 billboards throughout the streets of Los Angeles. The billboards feature an outstanding number of emerging and established artists, from work submitted by the public over the last few months. Artist’s chosen include Jack Pierson, Andrew Bush, Shane Guffogg, Kim McCarty, Panos Tsagaris, among others, and double the size of its inaugural outing. I spoke with Mona about the process of choosing the final billboards.

Elizabeth Avedon: How was this project proposed to you?

Mona Kuhn: When Adam Santelli from TBC invited me to curate the 2nd Billboard Creative exhibition to be displayed all over intersections in LA proper, their main interest was to have an artist curate other artist’s works. FROM artist TO artist and FOR artist’s type of thinking!

EA: How many images did you receive or  were submitted?

MK: We received twice the expected amount of submissions compared to last year. It was a great surprise to see the artist community awareness for the Billboard exhibition growing. I am excited to be involved as a curator and artist, because I believe it is a great deal for the artists. It is exciting to see your artwork reproduced large on a billboard, in a proper area of Los Angeles, where 100,000 to 200,000 pass by every day.

EA: What was the criteria you used for your edit?

MK: A billboard exhibition can be a challenging proposition, because we are competing for attention within a busy urban setting with an audience that is mostly driving by.  My first step was to observed traffic in one of the main intersections and study the audience behavior while driving. There were two distinct moments observed: the audience would be either driving by or stuck on a traffic jam. In the first scenario my intention is to grab their attention by surprise with graphically strong artworks, pieces that are easy to read and understand in a relatively very short amount of time.  That was the case with artworks from Panos Tsagaris, Jack Pearson, Andrew Bush, Ed Ruscha, Carolyn Douchette, among others. But I also saw a need to reach out to an audience who might be stuck on a traffic jam. I thought about what works of art would transport me momentarily away from that jam, what would inspire me to mentally escape the traffic.  Some of the works selected were the delicate watercolors from Kim McCarty, the handmade knitted sculptures of Thomas Chung, and the emotional colors in Robert Zuchowski paintings. All works had a touch of sublime to me.

EA: How difficult was it to narrow down your choices?

MK: I had no idea we would receive a substantial amount of great artworks.   It was also a very interesting process for me from the artist point of view. The artworks selected were based on the criteria mentioned to you earlier, but we still had at least 100 great works that needed to be narrowed down to 33 billboard placements. The final selection was the hardest, as all works were equally strong to me. It was all based on the artwork standing on its own. I did not have the name of the artists together with the works. The final selection was then based on bringing a balance to the final 33 group of artworks selected. It was not an easy task, but I would do it all over again.

EA: In the end how many choices did you make?

MK: Last year, TBC placed 15 contemporary artist’s works on billboards across Los Angeles. This year we were able to guarantee placement for 33 artworks.  We have been talking about bringing this to a sister city in the U.S. or possibly Cuba!  It has been an exciting project, great for artist’s exposure, and I am hoping we can expand it further.

EA: What are the locations?
MK: The billboard exhibition is concentrated in intersections around West Hollywood and Hollywood. I thought it was important to provide a mobile map of the show.  ArtMoi is an app anyone can download that shows the locations of the billboards and offer further info on the artists and their works.  Similar to a museum audio guide, but outside of the conventional walls of an institution! The locations and intersections are pretty great: I asked them to concentrate most locations by the gallery/museum areas.  It was not easy to guarantee space, as you can imagine, but it all worked out. Included are Santa Monica and Highland (by Regen Projects); Beverly and La Brea; Sunset and Western; Fairfax in front of LACMA; Melrose by the gates of Paramount Studio’s. You can see the list online  

TBC is a non-profit organization.  No one was paid for their efforts, it was literally a labor of love. In exchange for my time and advice (partnering with cultural institutions, expanding to new cities or possibly Cuba art scene, concentration of billboards by main LA areas, mobile application, etc.) they offered to place one of my artworks on a billboard. So I have a piece in this as well.

EA: The location of Mona Kuhn’s Billboard is at Highland South of Waring, East Side, facing North – Los Angeles, CA

The Billboard Creative QA 2015 Show
Curated by Mona Kuhn
From November 30th to December 27, 2015
750 Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038, USA
United States

ArtMoi Public App:


Q+A with Mona Kuhn
As Seen In L'Oeil de la Photographie


POWERHOUSE BOOKS: Vivian Maier, Dave Jordano, Quartersnacks and more....

Holiday Shopping at PowerHouse Arena Bookstore 

Photographs by Vivian Maier / Edited by John Maloof / Foreword by Geoff Dyer and Vivian Maier: Self-Portraits / Edited by John Maloof / Essay by Elizabeth Avedon.
Celebrated by The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, American Photo, Town and Country, and countless other publications, the life’s work of street photographer Vivian Maier has captivated the world and spawned comparisons to photography’s masters including Diane Arbus, Helen Levitt, Lisette Model, Walker Evans, and Weegee among others. Vivian Maier: Street Photographer collects the best of her incredible, unseen body of work. Self-Portraits with over 60 never-before-seen black-and-white and color self-portraits culled from the extensive Maloof archive, presents previously unexplored artifacts from Maier’s personal collection, including handwritten notes, film lab envelopes, and scores of contact sheets bearing Maier’s comments and marks-bringing us closer to the reclusive artist than ever before. More here....

7 Main St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Detroit: Unbroken Down, Photographs: Dave Jordano
Text by Nancy Watson Barr, Dawoud Bey and Sharon Zukin

Photograph © Dave Jordano
Detroit: Unbroken Down (powerHouse Books)

Detroit: Unbroken Down / Photographs: Dave Jordano / Text by Nancy Watson Barr, Dawoud Bey and Sharon Zukin

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. Stricken with mass abandonment through years of white flight to the suburbs, unemployment hovering at almost three times the national average, city services cut to the bone, a real estate collapse of massive proportions that stripped the tax base bare, and ultimately filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Jordano searches for the hope and perseverance of those who have had to endure the hardship of living in a post-industrial city that has fallen on the hardest of times. Read more here...

TF at 1: Ten Years of Quartersnacks

Quartersnacks, an online epicenter for the skate culture of downtown New York, never cared about “best-of-the-best skateboarding.” With acute self-awareness and biting humor, it chronicles the exploits of everyone bound together by a common interest in skateboarding in New York. In New York everyone skates with everyone else – “talent” is secondary.  TF at 1: Ten Years of Quartersnacks collects the best and worst from the site, along with new interviews, and documentation of the spots, the videos, the shops, and everything else that has changed and remained the same in New York skating in the past decade. Read more here...

Photograph ©  Jessica Yatrofsky

The subjects of I Heart Girl do not exhibit the expected stereotypes of women in mass media today. Instead, each face and each body is presented by Jessica Yatrofsky through study and repetition, examining femininity with irreverence and countering the widely accepted female image of past generations.

Purposefully capturing young subjects with varying degrees of “masculine” and “feminine” traits, Yatrofsky further ignores the clichés of conventional gender identifiers. In her series I Heart Girl, hyper-sexualized extremes of female archetypes do not exist, instead we are given a new picture of what contemporary female culture looks like. The photographs depict young women — nude, clothed, hard-featured, delicate, both alone and in pairs. Some subjects are adorned by tattoos, symbolic of their placement in history, others with hints of counter-culture peeking through extra pierced holes and candy-colored wisps of hair. It is a landscape whose breadth has extended and evolved further than ever before, but still one that is often at odds with itself.

7 Main St, Brooklyn, NY 11201


THE CENTER FOR FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY: "Illuminate" With Juror Elizabeth Avedon

021-New York
1st Place Winning Image by Sheri Lynn Behr
 from her surveillance series, Watching You

Honorable Mention by Guanyu Xu
from his series, One Land To Another
and Directors Honorable Mention  
In The Cold Light of Night
Honorable Mention by Ellen Jantzen   
from her series, Unity of Time and Place

Cicada II
Honorable Mention by Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer
and Director's Selection

Alex's Chest
Honorable Mention by Rebecca Moseman
from her series, The Summer of Flying Lanterns

Woman and Ball
Director's Honorable Mention by Susan Guice

Slide and Clouds 
Director's Honorable Mention by Brenda Biondo

Illuminate, to supply or brighten with light; to make lucid; throw light on a subject; to decorate with lights; to enlighten; to make resplendent or illustrious; to decorate a manuscript with gold or silver.

The act of illumination, since it’s introduction in the 15th century, has influenced our way of seeing and subsequently the world throughout the ages; and so, keeping the definition of ILLUMINATE posted on my computer screen, I set out on an adventure to journey through the fine work submitted along this theme to The Center for Fine Art Photography back in August. There were many images documenting the real world, others imagining a world far away from this one, inspiring us to imagine places we have never been, or situations we’ve never experienced before this visual moment.

A photograph primarily conveys a static image, although by playing with contrast and depth of field, we may focus more precisely on a certain object. To bring voice to an image is not a precise physical quantity which can be measured - rather it is the sum of many often complex operations that arrive as an expression of a photograph – this is how I juried ILLUMINATE. In this international call for entries, there was no precise quality I was looking for. I was not looking for truth, but something more elusive, ethereal, untouchable. I was looking for personal themes, universal themes, complex or dramatic scenes. I wanted to experience quiet moments just to reflect on the beauty of the subject matter, the technique or simply the tonalities of light and shadow. 

Sheri Lynn Behr received First Place for her photograph “021-New York,” from her series, “Watching You” about her interest in surveillance and privacy. Behr writes, “With a concern about government intrusion into our personal lives, I continue to find ways to photograph aspects of the gray area that is surveillance in our modern age. I came to realize while I was making photographs, I was being photographed as well.”

Honorable Mentions were awarded to photographers Guanyu Xu, Rebecca Moseman, Ellen Jantzen and Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer. 

I chose Guanyu Xu for his photograph Mirror,” part of his series, “One Land To Another.” He was also chosen as Directors Honorable Mention by C4FAP’s executive director, Hamidah Glasgow. “Born and raised in a conservative family in Beijing, I use self-portraiture of my death to confront the struggle between being both a homosexual and a homophobic person.”  

Rebecca Moseman was selected for her photograph Alex's Chest ” from her series, The Summer of Flying Lanterns.” “My boys have always played an important role in my photography. Their innocence, innate boyhood, relationship to nature, slow process of maturing have always fascinated me.”   

Ellen Jantzen was chosen for her photograph In The Cold Light of Night,part of her 2015 series, “Unity of Time and Place.Jantzen writes, “Some say, all time exists at once; the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future are regarded as a whole.”  

Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer was chosen for her evocative photograph “Cicada II,” also chosen as Director's Selection. “In making art, I seek to peer beyond the surface while embracing mystery – to open doors to forgotten memories; to glean that which is ethereal and distant yet magnetic and strangely familiar.”  

Director Hamidah Glasgow’s Honorable Mentions also include Brenda Biondo’s “Slide and  Clouds" and Susan Guice’s “Woman and Ball.”

The Center for Fine Art Photography was founded by photographers in 2004. It is a nonprofit photography organization providing support to photographic artists through exhibition, solo exhibition, promotion, portfolio reviews, publication, education and connection to a large community of other artists, curators, gallery owners and photographic professionals. They are always free and open to the public.

December 4, 2015 - January 16, 2016
The Center For Fine Art Photography
400 North College Avenue 
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA