Twelve Months, Twenty Books and a Publisher

07 December 2012

As the year draws to a close, the inevitable compulsion to analyze, list, and debate the most significant events of the past twelve months is feverishly embraced. Photobook publishing is by no means immune and if anything, listing the year’s ‘best’ publications has become an obsessive annual rite. Although many find this listmania tiresome, I’ve always seen it as an enthusiastic celebration of a creative and vibrant medium. This year I was kindly asked by photo-eye to list my ten favorite photobooks of 2012 for their annual collective ‘best of’ list. My personal selection (with explanations) can be seen on photo-eye’s website here. The chosen titles (in alphabetical order) are:


  • Nobuyoshi Araki, To The Past  (Little Big Man)
  • Christina de Middel, Afronauts  (Self Published)
  • Melinda Gibson, The Photograph as Contemporary Art  (Self Published)
  • Stephen Gill, Coexistence  (Nobody) 
  • Anne Golaz, Metsästä  (Kehrer)
  • Paul Graham, The Present  (Mack)
  • Pietro Mattioli, Two Thousand Light Years from Home  (Kodoji)
  • Anders Petersen, City Diary  (Steidl)
  • Michael Schmidt, Lebensmittel  (Snoeck)
  • Witho Worms, Cette Montagne C’est Moi  (FW Books)

Ten further books of note (which I would have loved to include in my photo-eye selection):


  • Leon Borensztein, American Portraits 1979-1989  (Nazraeli)
  • J. Carrier, Elementary Calculus  (Mack)
  • Tiane Doan na Champassak, Father of Pop Dance  (Self Published)
  • Keizo Kitajima, USSR 1991  (Little Big Man)
  • Paul Kookier, Heaven  (van Zoetendaal)
  • Martin Parr, Life’s a Beach  (Aperture/Xavier Barral)
  • Torbjørn Rødland, Vanilla Partner  (Mack)
  • Diana Scherer, Nurture Studies  (van Zoetendaal)
  • Nigel Shafran, Ruth on The Phone  (Roma)
  • Issei Suda, The Work of a Lifetime – Photographs 1968-2006  (Only)


When contemplating this list of photobooks, I was surprised how many were the product of one publishing company. With titles from a wonderful roster of artists including J. Carrier, Paul Graham, Luigi Ghirri, Ron Jude, Mårten Lange and Anders Petersen, MACK Books has consistently released exquisitely designed and beautifully produced titles. This year MACK has embraced smart, challenging and provocative projects, as they continue to set the standard for quality in photobook production.

Photobook Publisher of The Year: MACK Books


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