Source Magazine: Thinking Through Photography - Issue 88

Order your copy of Source Issue 88 now using Paypal:

Europe and International postage options ▸

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.

Return to Season Page ▸

Browse Photobook Poll Results:

(indexed by voter name)

Photobook Poll Results - D-F:

Benjamin Diguerher

Publisher, Poursuite, France

Christian Patterson, Redheaded Peckerwood, 2012.

Petra Stavast, Libero, 2009.

Mark Cohen, Dark knees, 2013.

Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, The Great Unreal, 2011.

Pedro Cortes, Things Here and Things Still to Come, 2011.

Stephen Gill, Coexistence, 2012.

Nicolò Degiorgis, Hidden Islam, 2012.

Katsumi Watanabe, Story of the Shinjuku Thieves, 2013.

Batia Suter, Parallel Encyclopedia, 2007.

Viviane Sassen, Flamboya, 2008.

Making a 10 books list was not easy, thus I decided to pick them up into my personal library. This is a kind of personal list, books which were important to me, released this last 10 years.

Natasha Egan

Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA

Sophie Calle, Double Game, 2013.

Erwin Wurm, The Artist Who Swallowed the World, 2007.

Victoria Sambunaris, Taxonomy of a Landscape, 2014.

Vik Muniz, Seeing is Believing, 1998.

Christian Patterson, Redheaded Peckerwood, 2011.

Toshio Shibata, Landscapes, 1996.

Garry Winogrand, Winogrand, 1964, 2002.

Beate Gutschow, LS/S, 2007.

Barbara Probst, Exposures, 2007.

Christina Seely, Lux, 2013.

I'm bias here as I've listed several books I was involved in and others that I just love for their content and physical presentation such as the puffy cover on Erin Wurm's book or the ribbon on Sophie Calle's.

Christer Ek

Photographer and Book collector, writes the blog 'Who needs another photo blog', France

Moi Ver, Paris, 1931.
The best representation of Paris by the use of superimposed photos.

Bruce Davidson, East 100th Street, 1970.
One of the most impressive works I have ever seen. Complete immersion and showing empathy for the people photographed.

Chris Killip, In Flagrante, 1988.
The best counterpoint to the Thatcher era in England with a wonderfully sensitive approach.

Jim Goldberg, Raised by Wolves, 1995.
When a concerned photographer reinvents the documentary genre. Many photographers have walked in his footsteps after the publication of this seminal book. Still a point of reference today.

Richard Billingham, Ray's a Laugh, 2000.
Another fantastic book from an English photographer. Social and familial issues documented from the Inside.

Gilbert Fastenaekens, Noces, 2003.
Far better than Cartier Bresson’s explanation of the decisive moment, the slow process of using photography to let the subject reveal itself. The book does justice to this slow process and it is as if we could share the time that Gilbert Fastenaekens spent in this forest.

John Gossage, Berlin in the time of the wall, 2004.
I more or less love everything from John Gossage, but I think he has reached, with this book, a kind of accomplishment in the representation of a place/town.

Bruce Wrighton, At home, 2010.
A fantastic discovery, an American photographer who passed away at the age of 38. He remains widely unknown and thanks to Roland Angst for putting him in a well deserved light. The spiritual son of Walker Evans and Diane Arbus.

Pieter van den Boogert, What we wear, 2011.
One of the very rare examples of a successful leporello book which means something. A story of clothes consumption, from production in Bangladesh to sale in Europe and recycling in Africa.

Issei Suda , Fushikaden (complete edition), 2012.
The original edition in 1978 was poorly printed and this new edition really gives justice to the wonderful work of Issei Suda. The print quality is so gorgeous that I could even frame each page.

The Eriskay Connection

Rob van Hoesel, Carel Fransen, a book design studio, The Netherlands

Aglaia Konrad, Elasticity, 2002.

Nicoló Degiorgis, Oasis Hotel, 2014.

Annette Behrens, (in matters of) Karl, 2015.

Will Steacy, Deadline, 2016.

Stefano Graziani, Falma Fshazi, How Things Meet, 2016.

Helmut Völter, Cloud Studies, 2014.

Marie-José Jongerius, Edges of the Experiment, 2015.

Sanne Peper, Due to Lack of Interest Tomorrow Has Been Cancelled, 2015.

Anne Geene, Ornithology, 2016.

Batia Suter, Parallel Encyclopedia #2, 2016.

As we are both photobook designers and publishers, design played an important role when selecting our all time favourite photo books. But apart from the design, we are specifically interested in research-based projects where photography plays an important role. In particular we like books that tell a story, make a statement, expose a history, provide insight into the world we live in, or direct our view of the future. This selection of books varies from the more text-based research projects to autonomous investigations.

Rémi Faucheux

Publisher, RVB Books, France

Kenta Cobayashi, Everything_1, 2016.

Hiroshi Takizawa, Mass, 2015.

Tiane Doan na Champassak, Hardcore, 2016.

Johannes Schwartz, The Athens Recorder, 2016.

Will Boone, Cars, 2016.

Kim KangHee, Magic, 2016.

Beni Bischof, Playful Subversion, 2015.

Peter Puklus, The Epic Love Story of a Warrior, 2016.

Toby Mott, Showboat: Punk / Sex / Bodies, 2016.

Artie Vierkant, Image Objects, 2016.

Marc Feustel

Curator, Writer and Editor, France

Naoya Hatakeyama, A Bird, 2006.

Anthony Hernandez, L.A., 1971, 2014.

Mao Ishikawa, Atsuki Hibi ni Camp Hansen (Hot Days in Camp Hansen), 1982

Dana Lixenberg, Imperial Courts, 2015.

Jun Morinaga, River, its shadow of shadows, 1978.

Leo Rubinfien, A Map of the East, 1992.

Lieko Shiga, Rasen Kaigan, 2013.

Shomei Tomatsu, Oo! Shinjuku, 1969.

Lorenzo Vitturi, Dalston Anatomy, 2013.

Yukichi Watabe, A Criminal Investigation, 2011.

I haven’t provided explanations for each book, however, at the risk of stating the obvious, I didn't list the 10 books I consider to be the "best", but rather 10 books that have had a significant impact on me and my understanding of the photobook. In addition to this being a very personal selection I have tried to steer clear of some “great” books that appear a little too often on these lists.

Orla Fitzpatrick

Writer, Ireland

Ute Behrend, Girls, Some Boys and Other Cookies, 1996.
1990s girlhood and popular culture in vibrant colour.

Morten Bo and Erik Aalbeck Jensen, På landet, 1973.
A rural Danish community on the brink of change. Beautifully sequenced and un-sentimental.

Krass Clement, Drum, 1996.
The Beckett like atmosphere of a remote Irish pub in the border county of Monaghan is captured in these stark images.

Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, Subway Art, 1984.
A pioneering record of New York graffiti which pre-dates the current interest in street-art.

Tibor and Maria Kalman, un(fashion), 2005.
Images revealing creative encounters with costume across the world – full of colour and innovative customisation. Contains beautifully paired spreads and lots of fun.

Bertien van Manen, Give me your image, 2006.
Images within images: this book shows family photographs in situ as part of the domestic environment. Reveals how people interact with photography.

Tony O’Shea, Dubliners, 1990.
This book depicts dark Dublin suburbs with moments of humour. Its concentration upon the urban displaces the romanticised photographic preoccupation with Western Irish landscape.

Charles Van Schaick (photographer) Michael Lesy (compiler/editor), Wisconsin Death Trip, 1973.
An early and one of the best examples of the re-contextualisation of archival imagery. Hauntingly beautiful.

Kyoichi Tsuzuki, Tokyo: A Certain Style, 1999.
Perfect match of format and content. Photographs of small Japanese apartments are shown in detailed images within a miniature pocket book.

Wood Print Works, A Memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: visit to Ireland, 26th-29th June, 1963, 1963.
Cheap and cheerful with garish colours and pop sensibilities, this book welcomes and celebrates Ireland’s most successful emigrant son. Represents the optimism of the early 1960s in Ireland and copies could be found in thousands of Irish homes.

John Fleetwood

Director Photo, Johannesburg, South Africa

Sammy Baloji, Hunting and Collecting, 2014.
Great texts interlinked by fantastic sourced and authored images. The image essays talk about the complexities of the conventions of how images are made and understood, within a larger really interesting framework/analogy of hunting and gathering and coloniality, a fantastic research project and book.

Laura El-Tantawy, In the Shadow of the Pyramids, 2015.
Intense, intimate and iconic, this book is such a close-up moment of the turbulence, trauma and tenderness of authoring such a critical shift in society.

Gilbert Garcin É, Mister G., 2009.
Every time I look at it I smile. Beautiful.

David Goldblatt, TJ, 2010.
Because I am from Johannesburg. Goldblatt’s publication on Johannesburg 1948-2010. Because he is the master of seeing.

Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong, Poppy: Trails of Afghan Heroin, 2012.
The book brings such epic encounters together. It’s an investigation and itinerary that also becomes a dairy of the authors.

Santu Mofokeng, Stories, 2016.
(2 Concert at Sewefontein, 3 Funeral, 4 27 April 1994) A series of publications, previously unpublished work, simple, unassuming but powerful essays, joining the dots of the work of a great photographer, of a difficult time then, seen now in another difficult time.

Christian Patterson, Redheaded Peckerwood, 2012.
Once you get the trail, you start to doubt. Love how the publication plays with fictions and non-fictions, narrative, layers, certainty, how the design holds all together.

Jo Ractliffe, The Borderlands, 2015.
Loaded landscapes dealing with the aftermath of the war in Angola, the histories of Apartheid in and outside the borders of South Africa. What makes the book so real is Ractliffe’s ability to pause, to flow, and the intertwined nature of the metaphors of visibility and invisibility. With this is the conversation/text between her and Patricia Hayes: intimate, poetic and critical.

Mikhael Subotzky, Retinal Shift, 2012.
What I like about the book is that the narrative layers of the different series of work come together in a competing almost argumentative way. Very much contested, like its subject matter, like the story.

Daisuke Yokota & Hiroshi Takisawa, Twin Effect, 2015.
In the aftermath of the representative photograph. Reading the textures, tones, thinking about the photograph as a process, thinking about the book as an object.

Roland Früh

Librarian, The Art Library, Sitterwerk, St.Gallen, Switzerland

Peter Fischli, David Weiss, Airports, 1990.

Peter Piller, Archiv Peter Piller, Zeitung, 2007.

Gerhard Richter, Atlas, 2006.

Bernard Rudofsky, Architecture without architects an introduction to non-pedigreed architecture, 1964.

Aglaia Konrad, Elasticity, 2002.

Veronika Spierenburg, In order of pages, 2013.

Batia Suter, Parallel encyclopedia, 2009.

Wolfgang Tillmanns, Manual, 2007.

Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Willem Oorebeek, Bild, oder, 2004.

Aby Warburg, Roland Recht, L'atlas Mnémosyne, 2012.

When the book collector Daniel Rohner donated his books to the Sitterwerk art library in St Gallen his personal system clashed with the convention of a public library. Yet, the people at Sitterwerk dismissed conventions and developed the 'Dynamic order', a system using RFID technology that remembers where the books are placed and so allows the users to re-organise the library as they wish. Serendipitous discoveries become possible: when people search for specific books, they also fall upon what they had not been looking for. A dear reference is Aby Warburg and his library and Mnemosyne catalogue, a pioneering concept in art history, allowing room for associative visual correlations. This is why our selection of photobooks represents books that challenged the way pictures can be selected and organized, books that are more than a portfolio, but where the use of images at the time was new, stimulating room for thoughts and new concepts.

Jason Fulford

Photographer and Publisher, co-founder of J&L Books, USA

Paul Graham, Empty Heaven, 1995.

Michael Lesy, Wisconsin Death Trip, 1973.

Roe Ethridge, Spare Bedroom, 2004.

Collier Schorr, Jens F, 2005.

William Gedney, Iris Garden, (Text by John Cage, Edited by Alec Soth), 2013.

John Baldessari, The Telephone Book (with Pearls), 1988.

Ute Behrend, Girls, Some Boys and Other Cookies, 1996.

Dirk Alvermann, Algeria, 2012.

Jacob Holdt, American Pictures, 1977.

Michael Schmidt, U-NI-TY, 1996.

It’s difficult to narrow this list down to ten. I’ve focused on books that have resonated with me over the years because of smart, original editing. These are some of the books that I go back to often for inspiration, education and pleasure.

Browse Photobook Poll Results:

(indexed by voter name)