Tuesday, December 11, 2007

5B4 Best Books of 2007

OK…the end of 2007 is nigh and although there are still two healthy weeks left I have decided to put out my ‘Best Of” list now instead of spending my New Year’s Eve huddled over a keyboard since I’d rather be drink in hand trying to make that Terry Richardson clown puzzle sign Ole’ Lang Syne. (Maybe that’s an image best put out of your mind ASAP.)

So here are my favorites in an attempted order with five Honorable Mentions. Now mind you I haven’t seen ALL of the books that were published in 2007 so I’m sure I’m missing a few gems. Regardless, all of these titles made me think about photography in new ways even if some held firm to convention.

Favorite Books of 2007

1. Shimmer of Possibility by Paul Graham (Steidl)

2. Scrapbook by Henri Cartier-Bresson (Steidl)
A great study of Bresson. Perfect package.

3. The Park by Kohei Yoshiyuki (Hatje Cantz)

4. On the Beach by Richard Misrach (Aperture)

5. Putting Back the Wall by John Gossage (Loosestrife Editions)
Haven’t written about this one yet but it is a must see.

6. United States 1970-1976 by Jacob Holdt (Steidl)

7. Suzi Et Cetera by Boris Mikhailov (Walther Konig)

8. LA Waiting, Sitting...by Anthony Hernandez (Loosestrife Editions)

9. Some Afrikaners Revisited by David Goldblatt (Umuzi)

10. Passing Through Eden by Tod Papageorge (Steidl)

Honorable Mentions

1. Hackney Flowers by Stephen Gill (Nobody)

The first time I was provoked to buy one of Stephen’s books. I will feature this one at some point. Lightyears better than the more desired and over-hyped Hackney Wick.

2. Me and My Brother by Robert Frank (Steidl)

3. An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar by Taryn Simon (Steidl)
Intriguing book that challenges my usual suspicion of text and image. Elegant design and presentation.

4. This Is War! by Robert Capa (ICP/Steidl)

5. My America by Christopher Morris (Steidl)
Never featured this but I pick it up frequently and I am always surprised at how much I enjoy it.

Favorite Discoveries of 2007

This is a list of my favorite discoveries of the year. ‘Favorite Discoveries’ are books by artists I either didn’t know about or artists whose work I knew but did not expect I would enjoy as much as I have. Not all of the following titles were released in 2007 but that’s when I discovered them and this is my list so I make the rules.

1. Interregna by John Pilson (Hatje Cantz)

2. Photoworks 1982-2006 by Joachim Schmid (Steidl)

3. Memory of Pablo Escobar by James Mollison (Chris Boot Ltd)

4. The American War by Harrell Fletcher (J&L Books)

5. Zwischenzeit by Roland Schneider (Der Alltag)

6. The Day to Day Life of Albert Hastings by Kaylynn Deveney (Princeton Architectural Press)

7. On Duty by Arnold Odermatt (Steidl)

8. I Am A Real Photographer by Keith Arnett (Chris Boot Ltd)

9. Slipstream by Patrick O’Hare (Self-Published/Shared Ink)

10. Irish Travellers by Alen Machesney (New England Collage Press)

11. Ball Nights 1934-1950 by Jakob Tuggener (SCALO)

12. Pornografie by Klaus Staeck (Steidl)

13. Paris by Moi Ver (L7/Steidl)

14. Tempo Tempo by Marianne Brandt (Jovis)

15. Miroslav Tichy (Dumont Literatur)

Best Historical Books of 2007

The following are five of my favorite historical collections from the year.

1. Foto: Modernity in Eastern Europe (Thames and Hudson)
Great catalog that set me on the trail of another dozen artists I didn’t know existed. I will probably feature this early next year. Very handsome volume with hundreds of illustrations.

2. Books of Nudes (Abrams)

3. Art and the American Snapshot (NGA/PUP)

4. Dreaming in Black and White (PMA/Yale)

5. Dada (DAP)
This one is an oldie from 2005 but I bought it this year and I love it so much I am slipping it in to this list. Fine reproductions and well written texts all contained in this great catalog from the exhibition. A must have study of one of the most creative and influential time periods and movements.

I punished my bank account and shelves this year with well over 100 new additions/editions to the 5B4 Whiskets Center for the Understanding of Compulsive Behavior Research Library. I have already heard some buzz about new books for 2008 so funding for further research is being obtained and we will try to keep in stride with all breaking book projects...stay tuned, there are sure to be great wallet emptying times ahead.

Happy Holidays…Mr. Whiskets and Jeff

Book Available Here (The Park)

Book Available Here (On The Beach)

Book Available Here (Putting Back the Wall)

Book Available Here (Suzi Et Cetera)

Book Available Here (LA Waiting Sitting...)

Book Available Here (Hackney Flowers)

Book Available Here (Interregna)

Book Available Here (Memory of Pablo Escobar)

Book Available Here (American War)

Book Available Here (Day to Day Life of Albert Hastings)

Book Available Here (I am a Real Photographer)

Book Available Here (Irish Travellers)

Book Available Here (Ball Nights 1934-1950)

Book Available Here (Tempo, Tempo)

Book Available Here (Miroslav Tichy)

Book Available Here (Foto)

Book Available Here (Books of Nudes)

Book Available Here (Art of the American Snapshot)

Book Available Here (Dada)

Book Available Here (HCB Scrapbook)

Book Available Here (Passing Through Eden)

Book Available Here (American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar)

Book Available Here (My America)

Book Available Here (On Duty)

Book Available Here (Paris)


Anonymous said...

Great Best Book list Jeff.
If it makes any difference I am voting your blog as blog of the year. 5B4 has been interesting, insightful, well written and expensive!
I am looking forward to sharing a wallet damaging 2008 with you.

mmdesign said...

I was already well into the ugly category in terms of art/photography book purchasing. Your site has made it even worse, to the point that I've had to give up drinking as much. I'm also to the point where I have to figure out where to put more bookcases.

As Mr. (Mrs.?) Plate said, it is a worthwhile site and if I knew how to vote for it as best blog, I would. Thanks for all of your hard work.

Anonymous said...

indeed blog of the year.
most sincerely, well done!

no turkey award?
- I laughed my socks off at your Terry Richardson review.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the blog all year but I don't understand the need to create a "Best Books" list. It just undermines all the time and effort you put into the blog. Stop trying to grade everything and let it be unsaid.

Anonymous said...

Hang on! Are you the same "Anonymous" as the "Anonymous" that posted at 9.59am? In which case you have changed your tune...
I have actually been back to this Best Books List a few times today already. I think the end of year report is a good idea, it has quite a few books that weren't reviewed on the blog, which I have found interesting. It also has refreshed my brain just in time for Christmas, so now I know what to ask Santa Claus for.
How about a few less 'Anonymous' postings on this blog and a few more stupid nicknames...? That would be my only request for the New Year.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the list, Jeff.
It's a reminder to me to pick up some of them.

We all look over the photos we've made over the year to see whether we've succeeded or not. And I try to make a shortlist to print and frame, though I've yet to get as far as framing any of them.

So why not books? I find it interesting when I look at my favourites for the year and why.

My biggest surprises this year have been the names I've found on the remainder table at my local bookshop that carries a huge photo section. William Klein. Larry Fink. And a few other names I recognise plus plenty I've never heard of. Books by VII and Magnum.

The only thing I'd like in addition would be Jeff's favourite individual photos of the year. Bit of a stretch but not that much, I don't think.

Anonymous said...

I am a confirmed lurker, but I have to come out of the shadows to say that I am truly grateful for this blog. I live in a city that does not have a very strong photographic community and certainly has no bookstores that would carry many of the publications you review. 5B4 is an absolutely irreplaceable resource for me. Thank you so much.

ziskar said...

Thank you for the list Jeff, and for all your time and knowledge you put on this blog and share it with us.
Your Blog have become one of my favorite corners of the web this year.
Allow me please a personal request.
I understand you don't write your reviews on readers' demand but I would like to know your opinion on any of Craigie Horsfield's books and especially the exhibition catalogue "Relation" which seems to be the only book currently available of him.

Anonymous said...

I was happy to see the Cartier Bresson Scrapbook, I really like this book, surprising it has not been highlighted more often in the media.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Philip.

I didn't expect to be interested in yet another Cartier Bresson book after all these years. In fact I am no longer an inconditional fan of Bresson as I was when I started appreciating photography. But this book is unexpectedly gorgeous, sheds new light on his work, and is terribly well designed.

Anonymous said...

UNconditional, I beg your pardon.

Rudy Perpich said...

Dear Jeff,

I hope you lay in a few cases of tuna for Mr. Whiskets before you start your 2008 book shopping. If your muse starved because you spent his lunch money, you might stop writing.

When I first started reading your blog, I thought 'full bleed' and 'gutter' were words used by paramedics. Many thanks for all you have taught me, and for all the books to which you have introduced me.

Happiest of Holidays!


BTW: Did you ever think of starting a dating service based on book collections? People on Match.com are less interested in my books than in my astrological sign, my favorite drink, and my opinion on the Paris Hilton.(I've never had the opportunity to spend the night there.)If you don't want to start a dating service, then in the future perhaps you could recommend some talking books?

Anonymous said...

Interesting to note the spread from The American War shows GIs "waterboarding" a Vietcong prisoner. Didn't realize Mr Wiskets was so up on current events.
A great blog/resource. thanks.
I go back to Scrapbook often. Its a winner.

Anonymous said...


I do not know Craig Horsfield's books I will look them up. Thanks for the tip.

Double EE,

I am up on current events but I prefer snowboarding rather than waterboarding.

Anonymous said...

I'll stick to books. If I were to get into individual photos that would cut into my personal photography time. In that case I would assure that my own photos would never show up in my own list because I wasn't concentrating enough on my work to make it better. Catch 22.

I advise someone to start a blog dedicated to just that subject of best photos.

One Way Street said...

to expand the virtual obsessiveness, I urge you to look at librarything.com - links can be made to one's blog I believe.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, going to print this out and drag around, never know when you hit a bookstore ;)
Have some of them, and agree with Bresson's Scrapbook, was a revelation to see his doubts and choices of editing.

Anonymous said...

Holiday season is upon us, and as a fellow book lover and obsessive book buyer... I point to the author of this wonderous blog from the earlier days... and agree with the sentiment below... if at all possible,
support your local independent bookstores.

"So…if you want to buy a book, if you do it through my link below the postings, you will earn me a small commission. But, as much as I would like to get free books, I strongly suggest you support your local independent bookshops by looking there first."

Anonymous said...

Dear jeff and Mr. Whiskets,
First offf big shout out Mr. whiskets from Tina, la T-Cat. she say check out Queens we got curry for cats in Queens (and that ain't no Squeeze song)...Now: The wife is wrapping presents and I am on my 3rd glass of Ravenswood Zinfandel and instead of doing the Xmas cards I am writing you to express mah deethapointment with the world and you and me in it. To Wit: Re: ISBN 4-7942-1572-7 "labyrinthos" by Kikai Hiroh I showed thith here book to you boogerhead and you did not seem so impressed, Jeffie. I said it reminded me of "Sticks and stones" Friedlander but perhaps it is more correctly compared (and like analogies all comparisons being false ) with osamu kanemura or Araki at his non-nudity best. It twas one of the more sublime discoveries of the year for me. It was released in Japan last May. I believe, and it showcases in an in print satisfying way the urban landscapes shot square with a Hasselblad by the said photographer Kikai hitoh. This is a funny man, me thinks. Steidl is doing a monograph this spring on him but sadly I believe it will only focus on the portraits for which this man is primarily known fer. I think his urban landscapes are da bomb, bro. He is also going to be a part of the purported exhibit of Japanese photographers at ICP come this spring. Let us hope we get to see the prints (dark and loquacious, sly and Charles Sheeler-like even. all precisionist if you will.) Wikipedia the name 'Kikai hitoh' and read all about it (Does anybody remember "Grit"?)...I am also struck this year by Naoya Hatakeyama's "Bird" and of course I am shaking my fist at the Gods that have failed to bring us a book from Terri Weifenbach. heffee, you need to bit the bullitt and get yer Rinko Kawauchi thang on. ALSO, while I'm tellin you how to live yer life, be sure and thank God you live here in Ground zero where we were priveliged to see Hasted hunt's Martin Parr-curated show of Early European Color, shop at Dashwood's and kinokuniya and geegee's ICP. Yossi Milo's offerimgs of "the Park" and the Danny Lyon meltdown at NYPL with the all too gracious chasers of Paul Graham and Tod Papageorge and sweet Vince Aletti and the loquacious Philip Lorca Dicorcia, 2. Thank God for Dashwood and Cohen Amador gallery and used bookstores that shall remain nameless...Happy New Year and let's all be thankful that we are not living in Iraq or Afghanistan....Oh, and thank you to Bill Burke and Jack Woody and Howard greenebrg gallery for this excellent Czech Avant Garde exhibit and Guggenheim's too....

Anonymous said...


I need to get some of that Ravenswood Zinfandel.

Happy Holidays

Anonymous said...

Steidl is over represented :-)

Anonymous said...

Just to put things into perspective regarding Steidl being over represented either in our postings or in our 'best of' list, they published over 50 photography books alone in 2007. Aperture publishes on average 20 books a year. Hatje Cantz 10-12 per year.

;-] <--winking smiley face

Anonymous said...

Dear Jeff
For many years i struggled to pay my bills, let alone buying photography books. These days i can though. Your blog has helped me choose from what i like best.
There is a book/catalog i'm curious about: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nudes-Annie-Leibovitz/dp/2914171080/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208793348&sr=1-1
Have you seen it? Is it worth it?
Best regards
RR, Lisbon PT

Anonymous said...

(here we go again)
For many years i struggled to pay my bills, let alone buying photography books. These days i can though. Your blog has helped me choose from what i like best.
There is a book/catalog i'm curious about: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nudes-Annie-Leibovitz/dp/2914171080/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208793348&sr=1-1
Have you seen it? Is it worth it?
Best regards