The Best Books of 2011 (self and indie published)

December 20th, 2011

This list below features a diverse and international selection of self-published and indie published photobooks from 2011 that are part of the Indie Photobook Library. My nomination for Best Book of 2011 for TIME Magazine is Iraq Perspectives by Ben Lowy. My list for photo-eye this year celebrated self-, indie, small and traditional publishers and will be published here.

courtesy of the Indie Photobook Library

(clockwise starting from the bottom left corner)

On Thin Ice, In a Blizzard
Paula McCartney
(self-published, 2011)

Once again Paula McCartney plays with our perception of what is real and what has been constructed to look real in her newest body of work about snow and ice. For fans of McCartney’s work that can’t afford her more expensive artist books, this edition – a mix of handcrafted and professionally printed – is the perfect beginning.

Ofer Wolberger
(Horses Think Press, 2011)

Wolberger explores authorship and control in surveillance photography – turning the dynamic of photographer versus subject and observer versus observed on its head. The beauty of this book is the subtlety in the face of the red stripe that runs down the gutter, deceivingly and blatantly marking the secret – brilliantly fabricated book spreads.

Unmarked Sites
Jessica Auer
(Les Territoires, 2011)

Canadian photographer Jessica Auer takes us on a quiet journey through historical sites of Newfoundland and Labrador in this very polished travelogue. The beautiful color landscape photographs of treeless tundra, rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean, and small communities nestled in coves are interspersed with short journal-like entries. What led people to these places and what leads us there now?

Law and Order Gets Me Through the Night
Laura Noel
(self-published, 2011)

This title pushes the boundaries of what a photobook can be – fifty 3×2 inch individual cards, a storage box and a miniature stand constitute this “photobook” by Laura Noel. The photographs are stills from Law & Order, one of the longest-running crime shows on American primetime TV. These frozen scenes captured off the television during times of insomnia are printed onto cards through the print-on-demand service Moo. For me, successful print-on-demand books often come when the result from the company is only the start of the final piece. Noel uses what is available but puts her artistic stamp on it. Interact with the piece and create your own rotating exhibition of Law & Order images by displaying them on the included stand.

Estaría Bien Poner Un Título Aquí
Alba Yruela
(PogoBooks, 2011)

“It would be good to put a title here”? is the English translation for the title of this book. The photographs within are an opaque narrative mixed and matched from Yruela’s photographic projects that come together in book form as a stream of consciousness and exploration of the photographer’s being, awareness, friends, environment, and life. They exude a youthful freedom that most born before the early 1980s no longer have.

Jamie Hawkesworth, Adam Murray, Robert Parkinson
(Preston is my Paris Publishing, 2011)

I was introduced to the publishing trio of PPP (Preston is my Paris Publishing) through the bibliophile and co-author of The Photobook: A History, Gerry Badger. In the self-publishing and indie imprint world, word of mouth among colleagues is one of the few ways to find out about some of these titles. And with some titles, by the time you hear about them, they are all sold out. PPP’s zines and newsprints are a bargain and they all encapsulate the spirit of DIY. Derby chronicles one weekend in this town in England. No text, just photographs – a woman smoking a cigarette, a busy store parking lot, a marching band, portraits of locals, people crossing the street. A whole lot of nothing in particular, but the publication successfully portrays a place, creates interest in the mundane, and is a smart use of materials that strengthens their artistic idea.

Movements and the Iceland Trilogy
Christopher Colville
(self-published, 2011)

Christopher Colville utilizes alternative photographic processes in a fresh and contemporary way. This exquisite two-book set contains four unique but interconnected bodies of work about ancestry, ritual, and a connection to the landscape. Each is a double-sided accordian-folded photobook with cloth-covered book board attached to the beginning and the end, so as you finish one series and close the book, the back cover becomes the beginning of the next. As day fades into night and dark back into light, this immutable cycle and passage of time parallels the continuous reading of this book and speaks to a much broader human connection to history and place and the people who have been there before us and after.

Jeroen Hofman
(self-published, 2011)

Book craft and quality in the Netherlands is hard to match and Playground by Dutch photographer Jeroen Hofman is a great example from this year of what can be done. The photographs: color landscape work of the training grounds for emergency personnel and military as seen from atop a cherry-picker. The book: hard cover, two different page sizes, great design, green text, and the dust jacket turns into a poster. Every detail is thought through.

The Liminal Points Project
Nick Rochowski
(Rokov Publishing, 2011)

Rochowski’s seemingly other-worldly landscapes are devoid of people but there is a sensed presence whether from an alter reality or from ancient lore. There is also the sense that something is about to occur or of something having already taken place and the viewer is left with the afterglow. The photographs conjure up our childhood fears of being alone in the forest at twilight and take hold of our imagination.

(and ending in the middle)

16 Bilder
Rebekka Seubert
(1%ofONE Verlag, 2011)

I see this book as a poem in photographs by Rebekka Seubert of the water’s edge in winter.

The Indie Photobook Library, founded by Larissa Leclair, is an archive of self-published and indie published photobooks that showcases them through pop-up and feature-length exhibitions (most recently in China and at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC), promotes them through written articles and lectures, and preserves them as a non-circulating public library. Having a specific collection dedicated to these kinds of books allows for the development of future discourse on trends in self-publishing, the ability to reflect on and compare books in the collection, and for scholarly research to be conducted in years to come.

Blurb Photography Book Now 2011

July 6th, 2011


The deadline for this year’s Blurb Photography Book Now is July 14, 2011 and I am looking forward to meeting in New York at the end of the summer with this year’s panel of judges to spend the day looking at books for the competition.

I’d like to thank Darius Himes and Blurb for inviting me to be a judge this year. And I would like to thank Rebecca Drobis, a Washington, D.C. photographer and recently chosen as one of PDN’s 30 2011, for my professional headshot.

The Photography Book Now competition celebrates self-publishing and awards a $25,000 cash prize for the winning book. Many people wrongly assume that the competition is limited to only Blurb books. The competition is open to ALL self-published books. I encourage you to submit your handmade books. Darius Himes discusses the competition here.

As one of the jurors Lori Reddy asked me a few questions for the Blurb blog. I’d like to post the whole interview here:

1. Please describe what makes a great successful photobook to you.
LL: Aesthetically speaking, a successful photobook is one in which all of the pieces make sense together. It should be more than just a book of photographs. And for me these books are objects in and of themselves and I see them as collectible works of art.
2. Do you have any advice for photographers working on book projects?
LL: Make it a creative expression of the photographic project and yourself. Be realistic about the print run for your book. Think about the life of the book once it is created. Make sure a copy exists in at least one public collection.
3. What is a favorite photobook that you own or have seen from the last few years?
LL: That is a difficult question. I have trouble narrowing down my favorites every year to under twenty. Two books that immediately come to mind though are – for creativity and use of materials: Kitintale by Yann Gross which I nominated for the 4th International Photobook Award 2011 – and for content and form: Fifty-One Years by David Goldblatt (Actar). The Goldblatt photobook is a small reference book that provides an indepth overview of Goldblatt’s work and includes his early “On the Mines” series.
4. What is the most exciting aspect of the photography scene right now?
LL: Obviously I am excited about the self-published and indie published photobook scene right now. Whether you use Blurb or not to make your photobook, they have revolutionized our way of thinking in regards to traditional book publishing, and I look forward to seeing this germinate in photo communities that have yet to really explore the platform of the photobook.
5. You have a wonderful blog post listing your favorite self-published photography books for 2010. We know it’s still early but do you have any that you think will make your list for 2011?
LL: Thank you. It is still early for me yet and at the moment my thoughts are on my list of photobooks for the Indie Photobook Library’s first feature-length exhibition at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston which opens in September. I will mention, however, the book Svalbard by Greg White and Firework Studies by Pierre Le Hors (Hassla) – two books from 2010 but ones that I just saw this year.
6. What do the most compelling/most memorable photography books have in common?
LL: The most memorable books are the ones in which I forget about myself for a moment, lose track of my surroundings, and enter into the reality in the photographs. And from that response, it may seem that the book form is of no importance, but it is. The form and materials should aid in experiencing the work.
7. What photography blogs do you like/follow?
LL: I get all my news through facebook and twitter and follow hundreds of different people and organizations that way.
8. Is there anything we didn’t ask you that you think would be helpful or informative to anyone entered in or thinking of entering Photography Book Now 2011?
LL: If you are making a Blurb book, don’t forget about the spine.
Good luck to everyone entering PBN 2011!

Snap! Orlando

May 5th, 2011

100 Portraits – 100 Photographers: Selections from the Archivewill be screened at Snap! Orlando this weekend at the GAI Building, 618 E. South St, Orlando, Florida.

Andy Adams and I will be lecturing about 100 PORTRAITS on Saturday, May 7, 2011 from 4-5pm at the UCF Center for Emerging Media. 500 W. Livingston St, Orlando, Florida.

The Indie Photobook Library is also part of Snap! Orlando with a pop-up exhibition of photobooks from the collection. The iPL is pleased to have E. Brady Robinson, Associate Professor, UCF School of Visual Arts and Design, and Heather Comparetto, photographer and curator, curate the pop-exhibition of photobooks for Snap! Orlando. Roughly fifty titles will be on display during the event, allowing visitors to explore and celebrate the diversity, craft, and creativity in self-publishing today.

May 6 and 7, 2011 at the GAI Building, 618 E. South St, Orlando, Florida

Friday, 7pm – 12 am
Saturday, 7pm – 12 am

See the list of books on display here.

George Awde

January 22nd, 2011

Alley, 2007 © George Awde. Courtesy of the Artist.

This photograph by George Awde has stuck with me since the first time I saw it in 2008 at the Blind Spot Auction at David Zwirner. The print was part of the Yale portfolio being auctioned off. Inspired by A Photo Student’s Appreciate a Photographer Week, I contacted Awde, complemented his work, and asked him about this image. By email from Dubai, he said:

“It was shot in the mountains above Beirut in 2007.  title: Alley 2007. The photograph is part of a series that explores nationality and masculinity in Lebanon and Syria -”Quiet Crossings“. My work strives to capture homo-social spaces that act as an outlet for male bonding and love. At play in these spaces are the relationships of masculinity, class, and nationality in the social landscape.”
- George Awde

Thank you George for your work and I look forward to following your career.

Kevin Miyazaki on Flak Photo

January 17th, 2011

Kevin J. Miyazaki is featured today on Flak Photo as part of the WINTER PICTURES special. I’ve been following Kevin’s multifaceted contributions to the photography community over the last year and it was a pleasure to connect with him about this photograph.  While Kevin makes a living as an editorial photographer shooting portraits, travel and food assignments for magazines, I know him for his other work. Kevin is the genius behind collect.give. He teaches the Professional Practices class at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design with its accompanying resourceful blog MIAD-FA382, including the extensive list of interviews (699 and growing). His personal projects include Camp Home and Early Places and he has self-published the photobook(let) titled 38. This snowball photograph is not tied to a specific project but is part of work featured on his personal blog. He says “the blog has been really important to me in the past few years – it’s the platform onto which I can toss little visual thoughts. I come from an assignment-driven background, so I became used to passing up interesting images if there wasn’t a logical place for them. With the blog, they have a home.” I enjoy the journey that Kevin gives the viewer in his “visual thoughts.” I asked him to talk about his wonderful white on white study of a snowball and this is what he had to say:

“I made this picture last winter on Christmas eve, just after shoveling my walk. I packed the snowball and brought it inside to shoot, both on black and white pieces of paper. To me, this kind of picture is like a quick sketch (it only took about five minutes to shoot) – but is also a fully realized photograph. I like making pictures in a variety of ways, and not being limited by particular situations, conditions or equipment. I think we photographers all first began making pictures with a great deal of excitement and wonder, looking through the viewfinder with a really open mind. I hope to never stray too far away from that type of visual freedom and curiosity. It’s important to me to just always be making pictures, whether it’s part of a large scale project, or in fact, just a small, quickly melting snowball.” – Kevin J. Miyazaki

Christmas Eve snowball © Kevin J. Miyazaki

Christmas Eve snowball, 2009 © Kevin J. Miyazaki

Thank you Kevin!

The Best Books of 2010 extended

December 29th, 2010

a selection of books from the list

It was an honor to share my list of photobooks that made an impression this year for photo-eye‘s “Best Books of 2010.” For their list I intentionally wanted to highlight mostly self-published titles that had passed by my desk on their way to the Indie Photobook Library. Ten was just too limiting a number for me, and because I focused on self-published titles, I ended up omitting my favorite traditional trade publications. So here is the extended list (in no particular order) that includes everything from artist books, zines, self-published and indie published photobooks, to trade editions.

The Best Books of 2010 extended

Get Off My Lawn by Geoffrey Ellis, Noah Beil, Grant Ernhart, Alan W George, Liz Kuball, Sarah Lacy, Ian Lemmonds, Jennifer Loeber, Dalton Rooney, Andrew Martin Scott, Justin Visnesky (self-published by Geoffrey Ellis, 2010) *

Interior Relations by Ian van Coller (Doring Press/self-published, 2010) *

Kitintale by Yann Gross (self-published, 2010) *

10: 10 Years of in-public by Nick Turpin, David Gibson, Richard Bram, Matt Stuart, Andy Morley-Hall, Trent Parke, Narelle Autio, Jesse Marlow, Adrian Fisk, Nils Jorgensen, Melanie Einzig, Jeffrey Ladd, Amani Willett, Gus Powell, Christophe Agou, Otto Snoek, Blake Andrews, David Solomons, George Kelly, Paul Russell (Nick Turpin Publishing, 2010) *

Fragments, Volume 1 by John Steck Jr (Make Book Blog/self-published, 2010) *

NY low and high by Marco Onofri (self-published, 2010) *

Carry Me Ohio by Matt Eich (self-published, 2010)

Tell mum everything is ok – issue 3 – “A Postmodern World by many contributing photographers (Editions FP&CF, 2010) *

The Kaddu Wasswa Archive: A Visual Biography by Andrea Stultiens and Arthur C. Kisitu (post editions, 2010) *

Eastward Bound by Marco van Duyvendijk (self-published, 2010) *

See You Soon by Maxwell Anderson (Bemojake/self-published, 2010) * and its sequel Ten Days in July by Maxwell Anderson (Bemojake/self-published, 2010) *

Thrills & Chills by Isa Leshko (Exit 12 Press/self-published, 2010) *

Burn.01 by many contributing photographers, edited by David Alan Harvey, Anton Kusters, Anna-Maria Barry-Jester and Diego Orlando (David Alan Harvey, 2010) *

Lay Flat 02: Meta edited by Shane Lavalette and Guest Editor Michael Buehler-Rose with many contributing photographers (Lay Flat, 2010) *

Not Many Kingdoms Left by Jeff Luker (PogoBooks, 2010) *

Working the Line by David Taylor (Radius Books, 2010)

Zwelethu Mthethwa (Aperture, 2010)

Days with My Father by Phillip Toledano (Chronicle, 2010)

A Road Divided by Todd Hido (Nazraeli, 2010)

Hiroshi Sugimoto (Hatje Cantz, 2010)

Fault Lines: Turkey /East /West by George Georgiou (Schilt Publishing, 2010)

Books marked with an * can be found in the Indie Photobook Library. Click on the * to take you to the iPL catalog record for each book. If you cannot find a way to purchase books through the photographers’ websites or book sites, visit The first ten books listed above were part of Photo-Eye’s “Best Books of 2010″.

Exhibition: Isa Leshko’s “Thrills & Chills” at Houston Arts Alliance

December 23rd, 2010

Point Pleasant, NJ #1, 2006 © Isa Leshko

The image above by Isa Leshko from her “Thrills & Chills” series reminds me of the image by Robert Adams that begins his revised and expanded edition of “Summer Nights, Walking.” I originally saw Adams’ image in the exhibition “In the Darkroom” at the National Gallery of Art and sought out his book just for that one image. I had hoped for more of the same, but for those who know this series, the amusement ride image seems an outlier. For Leshko, though, these rides are the focus.

Isa Leshko’s solo exhibition “Thrills & Chills” is currently on view at the Houston Arts Alliance, co-organized by the Houston Center for Photography and the John Cleary Gallery, and includes twenty-one prints from the series. The exhibition runs through December 31, 2010. space125gallery, 3201 Allen Parkway, Houston, TX 77019

courtesy of the Houston Arts Alliance

About this work Leshko writes, “[a]musement park rides terrify me, which is why I began photographing them. I am fascinated by what compels people to surrender themselves to these mechanical beasts. The rides seem to challenge the very limitations of being human. We can’t fly; yet these vertigo-inducing machines allow us to soar through the open air. The experience combines elation with fear; thrills with chills.

These images explore the fantastic and sinister place these rides hold in my imagination. With some of these images, I suspend disbelief and embrace the underlying fantasies of these rides. With other images, I examine the tensions that exist between fantasy and reality. I am interested in exploring the range of emotions—from anger to shock to exultation—that people exhibit in pursuit of the amusement these rides are supposed to provide.”

Coaster at Dusk, Hershey Park, PA 2008 © Isa Leshko

To see more work from “Thrills & Chills” visit Leshko’s website as well as the John Cleary Gallery. There is also a collectible little limited edition book available of this work.

RELATIVE EXPOSURE | photographs of family

December 16th, 2010

310 conTEMPORARY / RELATIVE EXPOSURE: photographs of family
December 6, 201
0 — January 29, 2011
310 S. Michigan, Chicago, IL
Monday – Saturday 11:30-5:30

Artists’ Reception: Thursday, December 16, 2010 5:00 — 8:00 pm

“RELATIVE EXPOSURE | photographs of family” features the work of Nick Albertson, Matt Austin, Latrice Dixon, Aron Gent, Julie Jones, Heather Kouros, Natalie Krick, and Eric Pickersgill. The 310 conTEMPORARY Gallery is a collaborative project between the Columbia College Chicago Photography Department and the Hyde Park Art Center. This exhibition is part of Chicago Loop Alliance’s Pop-Up Art Loop initiative.

I’m a big fan of Matt Austin and his photographic work and for this exhibition I love the fact that he is the only one not showing work in a framed photo form. Instead, his artist book “Wake” will be on view (see images above)-  a stunning hand-made box of loose prints and text. This format for presentation slows down the reading of the work and creates an intimate dialog with the viewer.

“Wake,” as well as three other titles, “Freedom Isn’t Free,” “Try to be more positive,” and “Desert Days,” can be found in the permanent collection of the Indie Photobook Library. And if you live in Chicago, copies of “Wake” can be borrowed for a two-week period. Love that. To find out more about Matt Austin, visit his website and tumblr, and read his recent interview at Geronimo Projects.

“Objects and Places” – Photographs by Alan Trachtenberg

December 14th, 2010

“Objects and Places” – Photographs by Alan Trachtenberg
Yale University, Koerner Center, 149 Elm St., New Haven, CT
Open weekdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m.

Object and Places” closes on Friday, December 17 with a reception from 3-5pm.

“Black-and-white images of diverse scenes in America — ranging from a Mississippi “ghost” town to rooftops in Pennsylvania to an upper New York state racetrack — are featured in a new exhibition of photographs by Yale professor Alan Trachtenberg at the Henry Koerner Center for Emeritus Faculty.

The exhibit, titled “Objects and Places,” is a selection of 22 photographs that Trachtenberg made over the past 30 years using a large-format (8×10) camera.” – excerpt from the Yale Daily Bulletin.

Select Books by Trachtenberg:
Classic Essays on Photography (1980)
Reading American Photographs (1990)
Lincoln’s Smile and Other Enigmas (2008)


December 13th, 2010

Pleased to be a transatlantic friend of #PHONAR this semester; Jonathan Worth’s free and open undergraduate photography class live at Coventry University in the UK and online at Read more about it here. Lots of great nuggets of thought by guest contributors including Simon Roberts, Wayne Ford, Pete Brook, and Chris Floyd, plus podcasts from visiting speakers, and #phonar followers contributions.

Inspired by Wayne Ford’s suggestions of books on Photography and Narrative, Worth has compiled the FRIENDS OF PHONAR PHOTOBOOK LIST of “notable/ inspiring/ seminal/ provocative photobooks, in it’s narrative structure/approach or perhaps in it’s ‘discussion’ of narrative.” Books on the list were nominated by Alec Soth, Andy Adams, Cory Doctorow, Daniel Meadows, David Campbell, Edmund Clark, Fred Ritchin, Geoff Dyer, Gilles Peress, Grant Scott, Harry Hardie, Jeff Brouws, Joel Meyerowitz, John Edwin Mason, Jonathan Shaw, Jonathan Worth, Ken Schles, Larissa Leclair, Ludwig Haskins, Matt Johnston, Michael Hallett, Miki Johnson, Mikko Takkunen, Nathalie Belayche, Peter Dench, Pete Brook, Sean O’Hagan, Simon Roberts, Stephen Mayes, Steve Pyke, and Todd Hido. Check out the list. What a great way to end the semester.

My selections include Intensive Care by Andrea Stultiens (2010) and Thinner Air by John Mann (2010).

Continue on with Worth and his students next semester with “Picturing the Body” (#picbod) and the Photobook Club. I look forward to following along.