Photobooks of 2016: Simon Baker
JH Engstrom – Revoir
Brilliant, wild, poetic, and deeply seductive. Plus it has fires on the covers.
Hanayo / Hajime Sawatari – Tenko
Part poetry, part photography, part family history, this moving and beautiful book adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Sawatari deserves recognition for many things, this is just the latest.
Mayumi Hosokura – Transparency is the new mystery
Following on from the stunning Chrystal, Love, Starlight, Hosokura offers more elegance, restraint and glacial cool.
Miyako Ishiuchi – From Yokosuka
Superlabo’s recent introduction of small, affordable magazine-style portfolios continue to show that less is more. A tight, tough edit of historic work that still speaks volumes today.
Boris Mikhailov – I am not I
Full disclosure, I wrote a very short text in this book (about Philip K Dick…) But it is Boris Mikhailov at his magic subversive best. As he puts it, by way of explaining this series: after the end of Soviet Union is the era of the ‘empty-hero’.
Andrew Miksys – Tulips
Definitely something Boris M would approve of. Belarus in the perpetual half-life of communism. Very clever, precise and stylish but also emotionally engaged; clearly made with love and humour. Look out for the special edition with collectable soviet-era objects.
Peter Puklus – The Epic Love Story of a Warrior
I didn’t understand this wonderful book at all, any of the times I tried. Long may it continue heriocally to defeat its readers. Perfect!
Shirana Shahbazi – Tehran North
Published to accompany an exhibition at Camera Austria, this is far from being simply an exhibition catalogue and sees Shahbazi blazing through the Iranian night in black and white. Beautifully printed in soft, sooty tones that any 1970s Japanese photographer would have envied. A gift from Lucy at Clare de Rouen: Thanks Lucy!
Deanna Templeton – The Swimming Pool
Not usually the kind of thing I would buy, and not completely comfortable with loving this simple, stylish and perfectly produced book. I hope it’s not just all the beautiful naked swimmers; that would mean I’m getting old…
Daisuke Yokota – Matter / Burn Out
More fire! Yokota is far from burned out. Photography, performance, film, flames, magic…Yataa!
Simon Baker is Senior Curator, International Art (Photography) Tate. I would like to thank all the photographers and publishers and book sellers who worked so hard, often for little reward, making 2016 such a great year for the photobook.
Images – top: JH Engstrom – Revoir, below: Mayumi Hosokura – Transparency is the new mystery