Source Photographic Review

Source 88: The Photobook Issue

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The winter 2016 issue of Source is all about Photobooks.

What is the greatest ever photobook? We have conducted an international poll to discover the answer to this question, asking photographers, publishers, critics, booksellers, collectors and others to nominate their favourite books of all time. You can see additional analysis in the magazine but here are the results including the comments and selections of every nominator.
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Browse Photobook poll results:
(indexed by voter name)

Photobook Selections B:

Sheyi Bankale

Editor and Publisher, Next Level, UK

Thomas Ruff, Newspaper Photographs, 2014.

Jenny Saville & Glen Luchford, Closed Contact, 2002.

Daido Moriyama, Bye, Bye Photography, 1972.

Roy Decarave & Langston Hughes, The Sweet Flypaper of Life, 1955.

Henri, Cartier Bresson, The Decisive Moment, 1952.

Matthew Barney, The Cremaster Cycle (5 vols - complete), 1995-2002.

Nobuyoshi Araki, ABCD, 2003.

Alec Soth, Broken Manual, 2010.

Donald Rodney, Doublethink,1999.

Dennis Morris, Growing Up Black, 2012.

Julián Barón

Photographer, Spain

Josef Koudelka, Exiles, 1988.

Paul Graham, New Europe, 1993.

Michael Schmidt, Ein-heit, 1996.

Ad van Denderen, Go No Go, 2003.

Xavier Ribas, Sanctuary, 2005.

Bertien Van Manen, Give me your image, 2006.

Boris and Vita Mikhailov, Tea, Coffee, Capuccino, 2011.

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Holy Bible, 2013.

Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Archive Crisis, 2016.

Federico Clavarino, The Castle, 2016.

This list of 'best photobooks of all time' could have had any other focus, I've always felt a deep interest in all types of use and function of photography. In this case, I've submitted these ten photobooks, or rather, Eurobooks. All these books are very important for me and I come back to them often. They present me a resonant image of the ideals upon which Europe has been built over the past three decades.

Adam Bell

Photographer and writer, USA

Sophie Ristelhueber, Fait, 1992.

Michael Schmidt, U-NI-TY, 1996.

Tacita Dean, Floh, 2001.

Anthony Hernandez, Waiting, Sitting, Fishing and Some Automobiles, 2007.

Germaine Krull, Métal, 1927.

Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes, The Sweet Flypaper of Life, 1955.

Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan, Evidence, 1977.

Roni Horn, You Are The Weather, 1997.

Masahisa Fukase, Ravens, 1986.

Jitka Hanzlová, Forest, 2006.

Lists create consensus but they can also censure. Given their subjective nature, no one list can claim to include all the ‘best’ books. I’ve excluded some obvious choices as well as some I really love. We don’t even need to mention them, or do we? Even if they’re not here, they’re always with us.

Harvey Benge

Photographer, New Zealand

The New Color Photography, Ed: Sally Eauclaire, 1981.

William Eggleston, The Democratic Forest, 1989.

Lee Friedlander, Like a One-Eyed Cat, 1989.

Larry Sultan, Pictures From Home, 1992.

Gabriel Orozco, Photographs, 2004.

Collier Schorr, Neighbors / Nachbarn, 2006.

Paul Graham, A Shimmer of Possibility, 2007.

New Topographics, 1975.

Sacha Maric, Good Mother and Father, 2012.

Mitch Epstein, New York Arbor, 2013.

My criteria? Well, it's to do with a bookwork that resonates and doesn't give too much away, is demanding and beckons me back, has a sort of energy about it. Visually strong, of clear voice, is authentic and intelligent. Certainly not clever. The work is convincing and clearly comes from the artist's heart and head.

Pierre Bessard

Publisher, Éditions Bessard, France

Rob Hornstra and Arnold Van Bruggen, Sochi Singers, 2011.

Robert Frank, The Americans, 1959.

Larry Clark, Teenage Lust, 1983.

Araki Nobuyoshi, Sentimental Journey, 1971.

Joan Fontcuberta, Sputnik,1997.

Martin Parr, Common Sense, 1999.

Nan Goldin, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1986.

Thomas Sauvin, Silvermine, 2013.

Chris Killip, In Flagrante, 1988.

Geert Van Kesteren, Why Mister Why, 2005.

I propose this list now, next week I would give you another list with a focus only on the design, or the concept of the photobook, or just about photobook designers from SYB to Ramon or Ed Templeton...

BIND Collective

A collective of photographers, India

A.H. Bano, Chandan Gomes, This World of Dew, 2015.

Richard Bartholomew, A Critic's Eye, 2009.

Prabbudha Dasgupta, Women, 1996.

Gauri Gill, 1984, 2013.

Sohrab Hura, Life Is Elsewhere, 2015.

Kishore Parekh, Bangladesh: A Brutal Birth, 1972.

Dayanita Singh, House of Love, 2011.

Dayanita Singh, Sent a Letter, 2007.

Raghubir Singh, River of Colour: The India of Raghubir Singh, 1998.

Lionel Wendt, Ceylon, 1950.

Andreas H. Bitesnich

Photographer and collector, Austria

Moi Ver, Paris, 1931

Manfred Willmann, Schwarz und Gold, 1981.

Ed van der Elsken, Sweet Life, 1966.

Michael Wolf, Tokyo Compression, 2010.

Brassaï & Paul Morand, Paris de nuit, 1932.

William Klein, New York, 1956.

Alexey Brodovitch, Ballet, 1945.

Nobuyoshi Araki, Erotos, 1993.

Takuma Nakahira, For a language to come, 1970.

Daido Moriyama, Farewell Photography, 1972.

Daniel Boetker-Smith

Director of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive, Australia

Masahisa Fukase, Ravens, 1986.

Thomas Sauvin, Slivermine, 2013.

Lieko Shiga, Rasen Kaigan, 2013.

Dayanita Singh, Sent a Letter, 2007.

Li Kejun, The Good Earth, 2012.

Yoshikatsu Fujii, Red String (Original handmade edition), 2014.

Tom Wood, All Zones Off Peak, 1998.

Chris Killip, In Flagrante, 1988.

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Fig, 2007.

Christopher Wool, East Broadway Breakdown, 2003.

There are no top ten greatest books, only the ones that are my mind today. The bottom four are books that have each taught me very different but very important things about photography, about storytelling, and about books themselves. The top six, starting with Fukase who sparked my interest in Japanese photography and photobooks decades ago, are each beautiful, unique and powerful projects and objects in very different ways. I drafted this list some days ago and sat with it, swimming around in my head, I was inclined to change a couple but I've stuck with my initial thoughts, these books remain because I can't imagine them being any better than they already are, any minute change would render them ineffective. Each book in this list in its own way allows the work to say what it needs to say with precision and poetry. I come back to these books again and again.

Michaela Bosakova

Head of the Photon Gallery Vienna / Project coordinator for the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava, Austria

Broomberg & Chanarin, The Holy Bible, 2013.
I am not a religious person and I like the idea of the Holy Bible being reformatted for our era. It is not a classical photobook, but the look of it, with all the additions gives an amazing picture of the present!

Josef Koudelka, The Gypsies, 1992.
Many have tried to picture this kind of nomadic community and I have seen many books on gypsies, but none like Koudelka´s. There is everything, the images, the emotion, the rawness and the unity.

Jim Rakete, Photografien 1970-1997, 1997.
A classical book of portraits of famous people of that time but the portraits are so strong and timeless that it makes me want to look at it over and over again and find myself in those portraits.

Justyna Mielnikiewicz, Woman with a Monkey, 2014.
A beautiful piece of craft, a rather simple, almost child-like but intense story.

Garry Winogrand, Women are Beautiful, 1975.
Any of his books basically.

Robin Hammond, My Lagos, 2016.
Nice documentary work, strong images, even though once again a classical approach, it has a well built story.

Eugenia Maximova, Associated Nostalgia, 2015.
I like the idea of story books and, especially in this work, the kitsch and colourful images give me nostalgic feelings and bring back a lot of memories from childhood of the common culture and taste of East European countries in the time of Communism.

Henrieta Moravčíková (ed.), photos: Olja Triaška Stefanovič, Fridrich Weinwurm, The Architect, 2014.
A beautifully done book. A comprehensive approach revealing a lot about this amazing architect and his work which has been ignored for a long time.

Nobuyosi Araki, Araki by Araki, 2014.
Who would not want to have it.

Michal Luczak, Brutal, 2012.
All of the books released by the Sputnik Photos collective are innovative, interesting, creative pieces of work.

Ana Casas Broda

Photographer, Mexico

Jim Goldberg, Raised by Wolves, 1995.
This book changed the way photobooks were made. It includes all sort of materials in a very free and interesting way. The mix of images, text, objects, handwriting of the people in the book construct a very interesting and rich proposal.

Richard Billingham, Ray's a Laugh, 1996.
It presents a personal and social theme in a new way at that time. In a simple and very powerful way it uses colour images to introduce to the family house and a part of England.

Seiichi Furuya, Mémoires 1995, 1995.
This book combines the images taken over many years by Furuya, intertwining the history of his wife who committed suicide. The history of the world at this time, the personal work of Furuya and the powerful portraits of his wife create a strong and poetic narrative.

Francoises, Bernard Plossú, 1996.
A very small and simple little book in passport form in which Plossu makes a portrait of his wife Francoise. The images are full of poetry.

Araki, Sentimental Journey, 1971.
A very powerful and personal book that takes us through the journey of love and death of Araki's wife.

Hannah Wilke, Intra Venus, 1995.
A book that goes through the process of dying for Hannah Wilke, where the pain is part of the reflection of an intelligent and great artist, that works with the nature of her own life.

Agustín Jiménez, Molino Verde, 1932.
It is a incredible free and interesting book. It mixes images of stars taken in this theatre with studio portraits, the fragments creating a cinematographic rhythm.

Thomas Sauvin, Silvermine, 2013.
These four little books show the story of China through the images taken from negatives that are sold by weight and Sauvin has been scanning for seven years. They make us reflect on the nature of photography and its relation to life.

Thomas Mailaender, Illustrated People, 2014.
The mix between the images from the archive and the performance creates a very special and unique book.

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Holy Bible, 2013.
The book questions religion, politics and also the book itself as a medium.

Browse Photobook poll results:
(indexed by voter name)

Source - The Photobook Issue

Order your copy of Source Issue 88 using Paypal:

UK & Ireland:

Europe:

Rest of World:

Subscribe for 12 months and get 4 Issues of Source including The Photobook Issue:

UK & Ireland:

Europe:

Rest of World: