My favourite Books of the Year 2015

As we come to the end of 2015 it’s time to share with you my favourite books I bought during the year. It has been a year in which ‘retrospective’ books caught my eye and heart. First up is Josef Hoflehner Retrospective 1975-2015.

Really the book contains only a couple of photos taken prior to 2002 so the work is taken from the many book he published between then and now. But having published over a dozen books in that time, there is a lot to choose from. And indeed there is a lot here in this teNeues publication.



With excellent printing quality, this large format (12inx13in ) book has over 200 black and white images, presented in a straight forward style, one square formatted photo per page. They are not presented in chronologically or grouped by publication but are mixed up, grouped in pairs perhaps of similar theme or others for contrast of content. This makes for a lively read through the book.




As can be seen from my illustrations, all photos float on the page which creates a quiet viewing environment which benefits the work.


I must admit that I have not got one of his books before but became aware of his work through magazines and on line. If you find his work interesting and inspiring and you have not got any of his books then this retrospective will give you a lot and is highly recommended.



Next up is Harry Gruyaert’s retrospective book published by Themes & Hudson which I wrote about earlier in the year here.

Likewise another great book which is reviewed below is On This Earth, A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt. It’s a beautiful soulful publication.


The City is a Novel by Alexey Titarento and Small Things in Silence by Yamamoto Masao were also great buys in 2015 and I will write more on them in the new year.



My favourite books of the year-2014

blogEntryTopperPhoto above shows my top books for 2014. My book of the year goes to DONT JUST TELL THEM, SHOW THEM by Jesse Marlow.
Jesse is an Australian photographer based in Melbourne. A documentary/street photographer, his early work was in black and white. Jesse decided around 2004 to switch to colour for his street work. This major shift has resulted in the publication of this latest book of his and is the result of a 10 year exploration in the medium. Published by M.33 it is a limited edition book of 1000 and can be purchased directly from Jesse’s website HERE

The book has high production values, heavy paper stock is used and colour reproduction is rich and vibrant. Every picture is placed on the right-hand side. This is good as the images are meant to stand alone and not have a relationship with each other. I found this to be is an inspiring and rewarding book. I will let the images speak for themselves and to thank Jesse for letting me reproduce some here.



Another marvellous book I got in 2014 was Jeff Jacobson’s THE LAST ROLL. This book project began in a low point in his life when he was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2004. The chemotherapy used in treating it took it’s toll, confining him to the house for some time. But slowly as his health returned so did his mobility and he began to travel across America again with his camera. It was at this time that Kodak announced the discontinuation of Kodachrome, his beloved film of choice. Stockpiling his refrigerator with as much as he could buy, these would become his last film shots and, for all he knew, his last images. The book deals with the transience and fragility of life with the poetic eye of a former Magnum photographer. The photographs are printed on a lovely matt paper stock.
Background Video


This inexpensive book by David Gibson is just a treasure for anyone thinking of trying to do street photography. It is all about the spirit of the genre. The reader is introduced to twenty acclaimed contemporary street photographers, among them Bruce Gilden, Nils Jorgensen and Saul Leiter, and intersperses the profiles with twenty invaluable projects that deal with the practicalities of street photography and break down different approaches into clear concepts. Written with obvious love and enthusiasm, it should be on every students list of essential books that can really make a difference to the quality of their photography if studied and lessons acted upon.

My books of the year-2013

blogEntryTopperThis year has been a very good year of for photography books. The picture above shows my top five. But the top place goes to Agnes Sire’s book on the Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain.

Published this year, one year after his death and some 40 odd years after he gave up professional photography, SERGIO LARRAIN is a welcome reminder of this man’s sensitive and poetic vision. I say reminder, but in truth, much of this work is new to me which makes it all the more exciting. Agnes Sire has collected around 200 works by Larrain. Most of the photographs were taken between 1951-1963 approx.


His photos have a lovely visual movement to them while at the same time placing the viewer in a contemplative space which is part of the genius of Larrain.


“A good picture is born from a state of grace. Grace becomes manifest when one is freed from conventions, free as a child in his first discovery of reality. The game is then to organize the triangle.” SL


The production values for this book are high. A comfortable size, 30 x 22cm, it handles well and the reproductions are quite fine. Layout design is unfussy, serving the work well. There are a number of double page spreads but I must say minimal damage is done to the many images due to content and the very good binding. In short the book looks good, feels good and is good.


As well as the photographs we find out about the photographer from copies of handwritten letters and photocopies of notebooks and texts which goes into his philosophy of life. An essay by Gonzalo Leiva Quijada tracing his life rounds off his portrait.

This is a book I will treasure, and learn from in the years to come.
Sargio Larrain published by Aperture 2013

Sergio Larrain Retrospective Rencontres d’Arles France

My other books of the year are:-

  • INTO THE ORIENT by Marc Riboud. Editions Xavier Barral See Blog
  • ONE PICTURS AT A TIME by Gunnar Smolainsky. Steidl. My discovery of the year. Review to come.
  • GENESIS by Sebastiao Salgado. Tashen See Blog
  • SUDEK -THE LEGACY OF A DEEPER VISION. Hirmer Verlag. Got late 2012 but I’ll include it for 2013