Interesting Artist and Photographic Books for 2021

How quickly this past year went by! And here we are, presenting you with our list of interesting books for 2021. Our selections feature intriguing photographic content, brilliant project concepts, and excellent book designs that support the artist/photographer’s intent in conjunction with spot-on production qualities; the books that are the most interesting have a delightful combination of all of these creative elements. Members of our editorial team – Paul Anderson, Debe Arlook, Melanie Chapman, Gerhard Clausing, Kristin Dittrich, Steve Harp, Madhu John, Douglas Stockdale, and Wayne Swanson – put this list together. We think that these photobooks are especially noteworthy, as we engage with them again and again; so please check them out. We would also like to encourage you to browse all of the 106 reviews we published since last November.

These sixteen books represent an amazing range of contemporary photography, and our team of volunteer professionals is proud to honor Regina Anzenberger, Matt Black, Emanuel Cederqvist, Lars Eidinger, Thana Faroq, Donna Ferrato, Misha Friedman, Johannes Groht, Abbey Hepner, Yumiko Izu, Ellen Korth, Ken Light, Katherine Longly, Peter Puklus, Paula Riff (in memoriam), and Wouter Vanhees. The book reviews of most are linked below the cover pictures; we intend to review the rest shortly. Please also remember to support authors and publishers with your book purchases whenever you can; the pandemic has been a difficult period for everyone.

We also want to express our thanks to all our readers/viewers around the world as well as to the authors and publishers for your interest and loyalty, and to wish you all a peaceful and healthy holiday season. We fervently hope that the pandemic will become less of a burden very soon.

Gerhard (Gerry) Clausing, for the Editorial Team

Here are our sixteen selections, in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names:

Regina Anzenberger – Gstettn:  A wonderful collection of stitched pamphlet books, each of which focuses on a part of the larger project investigating memory to create an equally layered and complex narrative.


Matt Black – American Geography:  Black and white imagery as stark as contemporary America, with tones as deep and rich as our troubled history.


Emanuel Cederqvist – The Ditch:  A beautiful treatise and reflection on the aftermath of conflict (World War II).


Lars Eidinger – Autistic Disco:  A gripping artistic search for trivia, providing insights into social issues and the human condition.


Thana Faroq – I Don’t Recognize Me in the Shadows: A fascinating account of the plight of refugees, viewed from within their own situational context.


Donna Ferrato – Holy:  A challenging broadside against patriarchy and its effects on our societies.


Misha Friedman – Two Women in Their Time:  Narrative of two courageous ladies who perform socially relevant theatrical events in a context of strife and hostile opposition.


Johannes Groht – Nice Not Nice:  A narrative rooted in the mysteries of the world around us, the world we pass through all the time, riven by gaps perhaps only visible to the observing stranger.


Abbey Hepner – The Light at the End of History:  An artistic account of the dangerous side effects of nuclear experiments and procedures.


Yumiko Izu – Saul Leiter: In Stillness:  Izu’s quiet found-still-life images of Leiter’s home capture his life, style, and painterly color palette in an impressive way.


Ellen Korth –  //Walks// :  This artist book is an absolutely beautiful work of art that underlines the artistic potential of photography, concept, design and book production to create something sublime.


Ken Light – Course of the Empire:  “A riveting historical and visual record of a complicated country in a complicated time” – “This is not the America I grew up in.”


Katherine Longly – Hernie & Plume:  A love story about two individuals who met at a mental institution, one a visitor and the other a patient, a narrative with an interesting photobook design that metaphorically echoes her narrative.


Peter Puklus – The Hero Mother. How to Build a House:  Stereotypes examined and countered in a visually compelling way.


Paula Riff – works on paper:  The minimalist design complements the mid-century modern feel of her camera-less photographic works.


Wouter Vanhees – Hà Nội:  A beautiful project of nighttime colors and late-night quietness, with strong compositions.


Articles and photographs published in the PhotoBook Journal may not be reproduced without the permission of the PhotoBook Journal staff and the photographer(s).

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