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Source Magazine: Thinking Through Photography - Issue 88

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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 Poll Results - A:

10x10 Photobooks

Russet, Matthew and Olga, USA

Anna Atkins, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, 1843

Claude Cahun, Aveux non avenus, 1930

Nell Dorr, In a Blue Moon, 1939

Alicia D'Amico and Sara Facio, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, 1968

Diane Arbus, Diane Arbus, 1972

Claudia Andujar, Mitopoemas Yanomam, 1978

Miyako Ishiuchi, Yokosuka Story, 1979

Mao Ishikawa, Atsuki Hibi in Kyampu Hansen / Hot Days in Camp Hansen, 1982

Nan Goldin, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1986

Mariken Wessels, Taking Off. Henry my neighbor, 2015

With the first book illustrated with photographic images published by a woman in 1843, the 10x10 Photobooks team saw an opportunity to present a list of favorite photobooks created by women photographers. In the 173 years since Anna Atkins privately published Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, there have been many superb photobook examples by women. Listed here are ten books that highlight the diverse and distinctive voices that women bring to the photobook format.

Vince Aletti

Photography Critic, The New Yorker, USA

Robert Frank, The Americans, 1959.

William Klein, New York, 1956.

Nan Goldin, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1986.

Larry Clark, Tulsa, 1979.

Richard Avedon, Observations, 1959.

Irving Penn, Moments Preserved, 1960.

Diane Arbus, Diane Arbus, 1972.

Peter Hujar, Portraits in Life and Death, 1976.

Lucas Samaras, Samaras Album, 1971.

Ed Ruscha, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, 1966.

Martin Amis

Bookseller, Photobookstore, UK

Takuma Nakahira, For A Language To Come, 1970.
One of the bleakest photobooks ever made, this 1970 book exemplifies the Provoke aesthetic.

William Klein, New York, 1956.
Klein's raucous masterpiece has everything. Groundbreaking images, great design and perfect sequencing.

Kikuji Kawada, Chizu (The Map), 1965.
Anybody who thinks "Photobook as Object" is a new phenomenon needs to spend time with this incredible complex work with it's extraordinary folding design .

Krass Clement, Drum, 1996.
With just three rolls of film, Krass Clement created a photobook that most would take a lifetime to achieve.

Alec Soth, Sleeping by The Mississippi, 2004.
A book which inspired a generation of photographs, and one which made me want to sell and share photobooks with people.

Ikko Narahara, Spain: Idai Naru Gogo / Grand Tarde, 1969.
Not one for the bedside table, this bold, amazing (and huge) book features gatefolds throughout and deserves more attention in the lists of great Japanese photobooks.

Masahisa Fukase, Ravens, 1986.
A beautiful portrayal of depression, this obsessive study of ravens (a symbol of bad omens) is justifiably one of the most sought-after photobooks.

Yutaka Takanashi, Towards the City, 1974.
This luxurious book came housed in a complete with a metal disc on the cover, and is another brooding (and the final) masterpiece of the Provoke era of Japanese photobooks.

Chris Killip, In Flagrante, 1988.
Another dark book, In Flagrante is one of the finest examples of British documentary photography.

Richard Billingham, Ray's A Laugh, 1996.
Hard to believe this book is now 30 years old, it's influence can still be seen in many others. A candid, gently humorous chaotic family album.

Maxwell Anderson

Publisher, Bemojake, UK

Rinko Kawauchi, Cui Cui, 2005.

Josef Koudelka, Exiles, 1988.

Yamamoto Masao, É, 2000.

Lars Tunbjork, Vinter, 2007.

Nobuyoshi Araki, Sentimental Journey, 1972.

Stephen Shore, Uncommon Places, 1982.

Masahisa Fukase, Ravens, 1986.

Hiromix, Works, 2000.

Paul Graham, End of An Age, 1999.

Bernhard Fuchs, Portraits, 1999.

Blake Andrews

Photographer and Blogger, USA

Ed Ruscha, Every Building On The Sunset Strip, 1966.
Prescient in subject, novel in treatment, mute in judgement.

Lee Friedlander, Self Portrait, 1970.
Selfies gone Haywire.

Diane Arbus, Aperture Monograph, 1972.
Punch-to-the-gut portraits prefaced by the best intro of any photobook.

William Eggleston's Guide, 1976.
Knocks you off balance from the start, then keeps you there.

Nancy Rexroth, Iowa, 1977.
A perfectly paced book, beautifully out of step.

Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel, Evidence, 1977.
A watershed moment in curation and, more importantly, a collection of fantastic photographs.

Stephen Shore, Uncommon Places, 1982.
Sometimes a difference of inches is the difference between catching a fish or not.

Sally Mann, Immediate Family, 1992.
Bewitching combination of intimacy and removal.

Stephen Gill, Hackney Flowers, 2007.
A meditation on collage, whimsy, and decay by a self-publishing guru.

Ed Templeton, Deformer, 2008.
Skatepunk adolescent id spilled unfiltered across the pages.

Regina Maria Anzenberger

Director of the Vienna Photobook Festival, Austria

Eikoh Hosoe, Kamaitachi, 1969.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment, 1952.

Masao Yamamoto, Nakazora, 2001.

Cristina de Middel, The Afronauts, 2012.

Rafal Milach, The Black Sea of Concrete, 2013.

Carolyn Drake, Two Rivers, 2013.

Gregory Colbert, Ashes and Snow, 2005.

Ester Vonplon, Gletscherfahrt, 2015.

Alena Zhandarova, The City of Brides, 2013.

Klaus Pichler, Golden days before they end, 2016.

It is very difficult to choose ten from so many excellent historical and contemporary books. Therefore my selection is a very subjective list. I love books which combine different medias like drawing, painting and photography and I love excellent and creative designs. I tried to get a balance in my choice of female and male photographers as well as black and white and colour photography.

Simon Armstrong

Book buyer for Tate and founder of Armstrong Projects publishing agency, UK

Saul Leiter, Early Color, 2006.
My all time favourite, both the images and the book itself, perfectly executed.

Henry Chalfont, Spraycan Art, 1987.
Where my passion for art, type and photography began. This book changed my life.

Yu Ogata and Ichiro Ogata Ono, House, 2009.
A wonderful series of images of derelict houses filled with sand.

Christian Patterson, Redheaded Peckerwood, 2011.
Fine example of photobook as story. Enigmatic and impressively designed.

Bruce Davidson, Subway, 1986.
An undisputed classic. The colour and the up close shots make you feel the heat and grime of New York.

Sergio Larrain, Vagabond Photographer, 2013.
I was a fan of his London 1959 series, but this book has everything. Essential.

Alec Soth, Broken Manual, 2010.
A great photobook about hermits turned into a fictional tale. Concept, images, text and design all 10/10.

Cristina De Middel, The Afronauts, 2012.
A blend of fact and fiction surrounding Zambia's attempt to join the space race in 1964. Surreal and majestic.

Mike Brodie, A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, 2013.
Brodie's remarkable document of his travels trainhopping and hitching across America.

Todd Hido, Intimate Distance, 2016.
Just released, a stunning mid-career retrospective from the master.

Olivia Arthur

Photographer, UK

Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, The Great Unreal, 2011.
A book that I come back to again and again. It is clever and funny and it questions as well as celebrates photography.

Luc Delahaye, Wintereise, 2003.
A book that made me realise that the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts.

Jim Goldberg, Raised by Wolves, 1995.
Engrossing in a way that is normally only possible in film or a good novel. I got lost in the characters, the story, the involvement.

Yto Barrada, A Life Full of Holes, 2005.
A book that was very influential for me at a certain time. The quiet thoughtfulness of the images goes well beyond what they contain on the surface.

Jacob Aue Sobol, Sabine, 2004.
A love story shared that is so close it makes you fall in love with her too.

Saul Leiter, Early Colour, 2006.
A celebration of the simple pleasure of photography.

Stephen Gill, Hackney Flowers, 2007.
When I first saw images from Hackney Flowers I found them too contrived but the work really grew on me and I think it captures Stephen Gill's quirkiness and appreciation of the things many of the rest of us miss perhaps more than its more famous brother, Hackney Wick.

Wolfgang Tillmanns, Burg, 1998.
A work that Philipp (Ebeling) introduced me to and a way of seeing that broadened my horizon.

Giles Peress, Telex Iran, 1984.
Combines text and image in such a startling and fresh way that makes the journey he takes us on incredibly powerful.

Vivianne Sassen, Flamboya, 2008.
For the playfulness in the way the images have been put together and the mysterious feeling it gives as a whole.

I tried to make a 'best ever' list but in the end I realised that it is just impossible to compare some of the early books to things that are made now in a completely different climate. So this list is really just the books that have influenced or been important for me in some way.

Tommy Arvidson

Writer and photographer in Gothenburg, Sweden

Gerry Johansson, Sverige, 2005

Kent Klich, Killing Time, 2013

Bruce Davidson, Subway,1986

Sune Jonsson, The village with the blue house, 1959

Anders Petersen, Café Lehmitz, 1978

Lars Tunbjörk, Country beside itself, 1993

Trine Søndergaard, Now that you are mine, 2002

Christian Patterson, Redheaded Peckerwood, 2012

Nina Korhonen, Anna Amerikan mummu, 2004

Agneta Ekman, Tall-Maja, 1967

What I can give you is a very personal list – ten books that I like very much and that I return to often. My list also leans towards Scandinavia because I wonder how well known, for example, Lars Tunbjörk would have been, had he been living in the USA. Then, I presume we would have seen volume after volume being produced by Aperture and Steidl.
PS. The Americans is not be on my list. It's far too obvious a choice.

Craig Atkinson

Publisher, Cafe Royal Books, UK

John Baeder, Sign Language, 1966.

Martin Parr, Bad weather, 1982.

Ed Ruscha, Thirtyfour Parking Lots in Los Angeles, 1967.

Moriyama, Bye Bye photography.

Tom wood, Looking for love, 1989.

Stephen Gill, A series of disappointments, 2008.

Harry Smith, aper Airplanes - The Collections of Harry Smith, 2015.

John Myers, Middle England, 2012.

Britt Salvesen & Various, New topographics, 2009.

Lisa Phillips, Beat Culture and the New America: 1950-1965, 1996.

Browse Photobook Poll Results:

(indexed by voter name)