2009 is drawing to a close and it was a good year for photography and art books. I had a very hard time weeding books out for this list. I see now it is a really odd mix that reflects my ever-shifting tastes.
Best Books of 2009
1. Lisboa: cidade triste e alegre by Victor Palla and Costa Martins. I applaud this incredible reprint of the classic Palla and Martins book as the production is as impressive as the photographs. An extremely complicated book to do a facsimile and they nailed it right down to the printing, paper and binding. Plus it is very affordable considering how expensive it was to produce each copy. Do not hesitate. These will not last long.
2. Robert Frank: Looking In. Priceless. 14 years in the making. And I thought I was tired of The Americans. Get the hardcover version with all the good additional material.
3. Protest Photographs by Chauncey Hare. Great photographs, fine Steidl printing.
4. John Baldessari: Pure Beauty. This catalog from LACMA has remained my bedside reading for the past two months. Great retrospective, great book.
5. Studien nach der Natur by Jurgen Bergbauer. The charm of this certainly should have worn off by now. It hasn't.
6. Bettie Kline by Richard Prince. Love Kline. Love Bettie Page. Love Prince for putting them together.
7. Greater Atlanta by Mark Steinmetz. The third in his Southern trilogy. I wish his photos would just keep coming.
8. Novemberrejse by Krass Clement. A quiet master of beautiful photographic sequences.
9. Wald by Gerhard Richter. The best of the twelve Richter books published this year.
10. In this Dark Wood by Elisabeth Tonnard. One of my favorite discoveries of the year. I need to get her other books now.
And since I had such a difficult time choosing, here are ten runners up that should be included above...
11. Landmasses and Railways by Bertrand Fleuret
12. Nothing But Home by Sebastien Girard.
13. Overpainted Photographs by Gerhard Richter
14. Not Niigata by Andrew Phelps
15. School by Raimond Wouda
16. Nationalgalerie by Thomas Demand
17. Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archive of Robert Venturi and Denise Brown
18. Gröna Lund by Anders Petersen
19. New Topographics by Britt Salvesen
20. Ruhrgebiet by Ulrich Mack