Photobooks of 2015: Robin Titchener

Shadow of the Pyramids

Next up in our end of year Photobooks of 2015 feature is collector Robin Titchener:

1.  Daisuke Yokota  – Taratine & Immerse


Another stunning production from session Press beautifully fusing a number of different styles from the seemingly unstoppable Yokota. His now trademark black and white images, warmer more emotional colour, and a stark monochrome reminiscent of the Provoke style. One of the finest collections of his work thus far, brilliantly edited and with a perfectly selected range of papers.  A special mention has to go to the fabulous  Immerse from Akina, completing the trilogy of titles from this innovative duo. Very rarely has a book so perfectly complemented the work of the artist. They will be missed.

2. Ljubisa Danilovic  Le Desert Russe


An eerie and at times dreamlike journey across a disappearing Russia. Quite simply one of this years most beautiful and haunting collections, from a photographer who more than deserves our attention.

3. Todd Hido  – Khrystyna’s World


Noir narrative and Hido’s trademark images, skilfully edited, and housed in an elegant and understated binding.  A very classy book.

4. Kou Inose  – Complete Works


Not since I first saw the work of Joel Peter Witkin have I come across such a collection of beautiful, yet unsettling and effecting fine art photography. A stunning book quite unlike anything else, from an artist who produces only a handful of images every year.

5.  Tiane Doan Na Champassak  Sunless / No Photos


Two amazing titles from a true master or the photo book Political as always. Sunless questions attitudes towards our perceptions of gender, sexuality, and even desire. It  captures (for the most part) faceless androgynous bodies sensuously posed and captured in stunning saturated single colour images. These are juxtaposed against abstract black and white details of the hotels in and around Bangkok where the photographs were taken. Gloss colour, sit opposite the silken black and white on paper that perfectly compliments the work. A stunning job, by the wonderful Editions du Lic. No Photo’s is a self published reworking of one Tiane’s earliest books. Covert images of sex workers in Amsterdam, snapshots of the girls, faceless, anonymous Plying their trade in the worlds most famous sex supermarket. The effect of their transience further exaggerated by the artists decision to photograph on vintage film where the images almost seem to dissolve before our eyes, and then print onto a matt black paper stock. An always innovative artist, and a wonderful social commentator.

6. Ed Templeton  Teenage Smokers 2


Some sixteen years after the appearance of his seminal work. This second volume, a continuation of the project, is bought to us by Japanese publisher Super Labo. A truly elegant follow up with beautiful graphics and open spine binding. A more than worthy follow up to the original.

7. Thomas Sauvin  Until Death Do Us Part


This inventive little book features images culled from Sauvin’s vast archive of found images, and looks at the Chinese tradition of playing smoking related games at wedding functions ! Beautiful little open spine book the size of a pack of cigarettes, and presented in a cigarette pack.

8. Issei Suda – Rei


Having been working for many years, without receiving the recognition he deserves, Suda is now having this situation rectified with incredible speed and intensity. My personal favourite of his this year is the gorgeous Rei from Akio Nagazawa, which in the publishers words presents “the photographer’s own idea of eroticism in perfection as embodied by the inorganic shapes of mannequins in show windows”. Immaculately presented in silk boards with matching slip case.

9. Pawel Jaszczuk – Kinky City


Although the title does hint at the content. Jaszczuk’s look at the underground night life of Tokyo’s sex clubs does make Araki’s Tokyo Luck Hole seem almost innocent by comparison. Another great design from Dienacht, which places this unassuming little soft cover in a screened, raw card slip case.

10. Mike Brodie – Tones of Dirt and Bone


The follow up to A Period of Juvenile Prosperity continues Brodie’s intimate look at an America dancing to it’s own tune, beyond the rules of what most of us would consider a “normal” life. As beautiful as it’s predecessor.

11. Alec Soth – Songbook


This wonderful book by Alec Soth has already achieved iconic status and a second print despite being less than a year old. For most of us, the USA is either the Frenetic (wonderful) cauldron that is New York, or the (seemingly) superficial, artificial sprawl that is Los Angeles. This is a warm, enlightening and life affirming look at that “little” bit in the middle. Quite simply, a masterpiece.

12. Mazakazu Murakami  – Kumogakure Onsen (Reclusive Travels)


Reminiscent of photographers of the classic Japanese Provoke era, a beautiful black and white collection that follows Murakami’s travels through Japan’s Hokkaido and Tohoku regions photographing the Onsen or hot springs that exist in the region. The result is a stunning collection that at times recalls the feel Fukase’s Ravens images.

13. Laura El-Tantawy – In The Shadow of the Pyramids


Evocative self published work that features work spanning more than a decade. The project which started life as an examination of Egyptian culture and identity, metamorphosed into something much darker as the recent political unrest in country reached a crescendo. The book has been edited to appear as if the images have all been taken over one twenty four hour period, with the dark violence of the night giving way to a bright and optimistic new day. A wonderful design featuring Japanese folds and eighteen pages as single sheets.

14. Lucy Helton – Transmission


This is an amazing piece of work by British artist Lucy Helton. Nine panoramic thermal prints made by the artist, in various lengths to form overlays, with Japanese clip binding. Rolled and presented in a tube. “The project was inspired by her father David Helton, a committed environmentalist and writer. In one of his novels he imagines a world without humans, where people live on other planets, allowing Earth to become a wildlife preserve.The photographer used this Utopian idea as a starting point to imagine her own very different Earth without humans”. A beautiful object, and certainly worth seeking out whilst it is still available.

15. Keizo Kitajima  – Modoru Okinawa


Not seen before, a body of work from the seventies documenting an important period in the history of Okinawa. Post Vietnam (the war),  American soldiers fom the US base at Koza city decamped to Okinawa to enjoy some “down time”. Kitajima , who was a regular visitor to the area at this time felt compelled to document this hedonistic melding of the two cultures. Beautifully printed in an edition of 1000 by Gomma.

A selection of Robin’s picks are available here.

Robin Titchener is a keen, bordering on fanatical photobook collector of thirty years. He still wouldn’t know a Rolleiflex if it fell on him…but certainly knows how to appreciate what they, and the people who use them, are capable of.  He lives in London, he still has no cats, and recently declined the kind offer of a goldfish.