Photobooks of 2017: Ron Jude
Some books I enjoyed this year, in no particular order:
Tim Carpenter – Local Objects
This is a book that has enough depth and nuance to return to again and again. Portrait formatted Illinois landscapes sounds like a bad idea, but Carpenter’s surprising formal approach is extremely satisfying. It’s always a good sign when a book makes me remember why I love the medium of photography.
Bertien Van Manen – I Will Be Wolf
A phenomenal book of photographs that demonstrates once again that Bertien Van Manen has compiled an amazing and important body of work over her lifetime.
Helmut Völter/Masanao Abe – The Movement of Clouds Around Mt. Fuji
This is a book to be looked at in detail over many months. It’s a beautiful example of poetics colliding with scientific method that could have easily collapsed under its own weight, but the editing and design allow it to breathe and remain legible throughout. (Pairs nicely with Henryk Górecki‘s Symphony No. 3.)
Whitney Hubbs – Woman in Motion
I’ve been waiting for years (literally) for Whitney Hubbs to publish a book and this volume of 62 nudes being staged and performing for the camera didn’t disappoint. I saw a terrific exhibition of this work last year at M+B in Los Angeles, so I was eager to get my hands on this book, which has a life of its own.
Nicholas Muellner – In Most Tides an Island
Nicholas Muellner delivers another gut wrenching, beautiful book of photographs and text that is as much a novel as it is a photobook. Muellner’s writing is both smart and accessible and always rings true, while his photographs do far more than just support the text. This book received a well-deserved nod by being shortlisted for this year’s Paris Photo/Aperture Book of the Year award.
Sigmar Polke – Sigmar Polke Photographs 1968-1998
A catalog produced for the work’s inclusion at Paris Photo, this publication includes all my favorite Polke photoworks, rendered with great reproductions. This was hands-down the best thing I saw at Paris Photo this year. I think I was beginning to bother the staff because I kept hanging around their booth. (They were actually very nice and gave me a copy of this catalog.)
Mike Slack – The Transverse Path (or Nature’s Little Secret)
In a book full of hooks and surprises, Mike Slack returns with his first post-Polaroid major book since 2009’s Pyramids. This book demonstrates Slack’s incredible talent to consistently turn the visible world inside out while instilling a sense of wonder.
Mårten Lange – The Mechanism
Mårten Lange has a way of performing visual acrobatics while simultaneously tapping into an underlying sense of paranoia and dread. The Mechanism produces a tension that is addictive as it is hard to shake.
Geert Goiris – Lying Awake
Okay, this book was published in 2013, but remarkably it’s still in print and I just picked up a copy a couple of weeks ago, so it’s new to me. There are no words to describe this book. It’s shocking in its depth and mystery. Consisting of 88 images made over a period of 15 years, it is simultaneously clear-eyed and haunting, with an edit that effortlessly moves through everything from an Antarctic whiteout to desert landscapes and iconic Brutalist architecture. Buy this book.
Ron Jude is a photographer based in the western United States. He has published numerous books including Alpine Star, Emmett, Lago, and most recently Nausea. He teaches photography at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Images: top – Mårten Lange – The Mechanism, below – Nicholas Muellner – In Most Tides an Island, Mike Slack – The Transverse Path