Photobooks of 2016: Rodrigo Orrantia

Photobooks of 2016: Rodrigo Orrantia

These are my highlights of the year. They were all photo books I spotted during this year’s photobook festivals (Photobook Bristol – UK, Encontros da Imagem – Portugal, and Rencontres D’Arles, Paris Photo, Offprint and Polycopies – France)

Hands down my favourite find this year. The images by Yesil and Sturm are as poetic as the book’s subject, the birdmen of Istanbul. The book design makes the visual narrative even stronger, standing out as an unusual object.

I saw this book at Arles, when Kajioka was finishing her few self-published copies. Needless to say by the time she was done they were all gone. This book embodies the delicate, ephemeral nature of her images. Everything seems lovingly thought through, from the choice of paper to the binding and finish.

Aaron is one the curators and academics I respect the most. This book is his personal project working with the collection at the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow. His impressive knowledge of photography but also his particular humour and wit are evident in the book. His image selection and the way he builds a narrative are both impeccable.

Tito’s images are mesmerising. The character of the book echoes the quiet mystery of his series Casa das Sete Senhoras (The House of Seven Women). Masterfully printed, it is sheer photographic enjoyment, cover to cover.

I’ve waited a while for this book, saw it on its different dummy incarnations. The final version, launched a few days ago in Paris, is quite a find. It is a book for lovers of art and photography who (like me) are keen to play John’s game of visual references.

A beautiful experiment on the relationship between images and books. I wasn’t expecting less from Rorhof’s mastermind Nicolò Degiorgis, working with two exceptional artists, Pinckers and Yokota. Books are patiently collated together, hand-wrapped and stamped with with a linocut block. A rarity (still haven’t dared to open mine).

This book well deserves the many award shortlists I’ve seen it on during the year. Ballard’s disciplined eye and persistence pay off, taking us behind the closed doors of this global community seeking immortality by freezing humans until we finally crack the enigma of never-ending life.

Second book about birds on this list. I have to accept I didn’t find this one, it was a recommendation from Martin at Photobookstore. Kichiraku is a sharp observer of the world, but also a delicate craftsman of images. The book is impeccably produced, I know it will really stand the test of time.

I saw Clark and Black explain the whole project behind the book at the Frontline Club a few months ago. Gobsmacked. Quite an enterprise, the unveiling of the complex and ‘invisible’ global system of modern warfare. As their endeavour, this book is not easy, but quite worthwhile.

This Must Be The Place By Bärbel Praun
Although this book was published before 2016, I put it on this list as I found it by coincidence at the Rencontres D’Arles Festival this year. I have been following Bärbel’s work with landscape and ephemeral constructions since then. Still a complete enigma, this book (and her work) have a presence and magnetism I can’t really put into words.


Rodrigo Orrantia is an independent photography curator and photobook publisher.


Images – top: The House of Seven Women by Tito Mouraz, below: The Prospect of Immortality by Murray Ballard

Murray Ballard

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