10 x 10 American Photobooks


copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am honored to be among those who are the ten on-line curators for the 10 x 10 American Photobooks exhibition. There are another ten curators who are selecting the photobooks for the reading room exhibition, which will preview in NYC next month (May 3-5), then move to Braddock PA for the PGH Photo Fair (May 18 – 19) and then the photobooks will move to Tokyo at the Tokyo Institute of Photography (September 11 – October 6, 2013). A book for this event is being developed and I will provide more details as they become available.

For continuing information on the 10 x 10 Photobook projects, please check here: http://www.10x10photobooks.org/

In making my selection for 10×10 American Photobooks, I believe that photobooks published over the last twenty-five years have evolved in style, design and content, as has photography. The challenge for me as a curator is to consider photobooks by American photographers within this time period that are under the radar and reflect these changes. To be under the radar, I interpret as book-objects that are not involved in current photobook discussions, but deserve more consideration. Fortunately, with the exception of Ken Schles – Invisible City: Photographs by Ken Schles, I did not have to look any further than my bookshelf and again with the exception of Schles, I have provided my narrative for the photobook on this blog.  My selection is a very broad and diverse look at American photographer’s work from the past twenty-five years that reflect this continuing photographic and photobook evolution.

Here is my selection of ten photobooks, in alphabetical order.  As a bonus, I am including two additional books that I think warrant consideration and are going to be available in the reading room exhibitions.

Bonus selection:

Nick_Brandt- On_This_Earth_A_Shadow_Falls_cover

Nick Brandt – On This Earth, A Shadow Falls (Big Life Editions, 2010)

Nick Brandt’s photobook reflects a self-publishing trend that allows a photographic project to continue to evolve. In this case, Brandt is very passionate about the ecology and plight of the wild animals in Africa, a situation that does not appear to be improving.


Kevin Bubriski – Pilgrimage (PowerHouse Books, 2002)

Ken Bubriski’s photobook is a personal documentary of the events in NYC immediately after 9/11, a project that is understated and for me, one that has been under the radar.


Keith Carter – Fireflies (University of Texas Press, 2009)

Ketith Carter’s photobook embodies a similar mysterious body of work to what is created by Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison, although investigating a different theme but with the same creative spirit.


Lee Friedlander – New Mexico (Radius Books, 2008)

Lee Friedlander is a prolific photobook artist and his photobook New Mexico is a combination of a Friedlander investigation and subsequent collaboration with the book design team at Radius Books. There is an elegant rawness to this publication, with the uncover boards and open spine, that was on the forefront of incorporating self-publishing design aesthetics into a trade book.


Renee Jacobs – Slow Burn (Penn State Press, 1986)

Renee Jacobs documentation of an ecological tragedy with economic and personal consequences that still continues to this day is a photobook that I fell has dropped off the radar.


Bill Jacobson – A Series of Human Decisions (Decode, 2009)

Bill Jacobson’s photobook is amongst those that facilitate the reader’s gaze of banal objects, a growing trend in photobooks during this period and perhaps became overlooked.


Rania Matar – Ordinary Lives (The Quantuck Lane Press, 2009)

A very personal photographic narrative that embodies what I feel is from a female perspective, part of a growing documentary trend to permit the photographer’s identity to permeate the narrative.


Paula McCartney – Bird Watching (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010)

This book by Paula McCartney is wonderful example of the transition of a self-published artist book to a trade book that still warrants attention.


Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison – The Architect’s Brother  (Twin Palms Publishers, 2000)

The Architect’s Brother created by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison garnered much praise at it’s publication and a photobook that steadily lurks just under the radar. This book is a wonderful combination of mysterious photographs, sublime concept and great book design and printing.


Ken Schles – Invisible City: Photographs by Ken Schles (Twelvetrees Press, 1988)

A gritty documentary project that brought the essence of Robert Frank into the city. A photobook that is a classic and a wonderful example of the progression in photobook publishing

My bonus selection:


Darin Mickey – Stuff I Gotta Remember Not to Forget (J and L Books, 2007) – selected by Alec Soth and available in the reading room

I had selected Darin Mickey’s photobook for my 2012 FotoGrafia International di Roma photobook exhibition and I continue to feel that this photobook is still lurking under the radar.


Joel Sternfeld – American Prospects (Time Books, 1987)

I feel that Joel Sternfeld’s photobook American Prospects is at the forefront of early color documentary road-trip projects that revitalized a genre developed by Robert Frank. I also felt this photobook was lurking under the radar until it was recently revised, enlarged and beautifully printed D.A.P. The review is linked to the early edition and I will be providing my commentary on the D.A.P. edition later this year.

8 thoughts on “10 x 10 American Photobooks

Add yours

  1. Congratulations on completing such a daunting project. Ill definitely try to get to NYC to see the exhibit. FYI there is a misspelling in the description of ParkHarrison’s book. “Gardened” should be “garnered”. Sorry – I’m a habitual proof reader!

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