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Thursday, 23 January 2020

Why I didn't buy this book 2019





I bumped into ABC's Worst Photo Books of 2013 post a couple of days ago. this is what they said about Mishka Henner's Less Americains (which was one of my books of the year that year - even though it wasn't really a book).

1. Less Américains by Mishka Henner

He trashes Robert Frank, need we say more? Worst photo book of 2013. Let’s hope for Less Henner in 2014.


So Henner is part of ABC, so it's satirical, but at the same time it's not, how dare he, the bastard!I did a post a few years ago on my best books and then why (other) people didn't like them. So this is what was said about these books, it's really a Why I didn't buy this book list.
"Have I got to do it this way. I don't like being told how to read a book." "It's a bit foldy isn't it." "It's like a menu, but it doesn't have any food in it."

"Ha ha ha. That's great. How much is it?" "£20." "It's not very big for £20. I don't like it."

Ivars Gravlejs' Early Works  "It's stupid." "If he wanted to make it really good, he wouldn't have had a picture of a sticker on the cover, he would have had a real sticker on the cover."

I really like the best of year photobook lists, they get me wondering at all these books I haven't seen and give me a general sense of visual illiteracy. But at the same time, I wonder how many are that great and who the audience is (which is what the post is all about really).

The shelf-life of the Best Photobooks lists is so short too and they come out and then kind of end. And nobody ever says a bad word about any of the books - which is good and lovely, but at the same time, as the above comments show, we don't all think quite as alike as we sometimes think we do.

So I wonder what more critical comments on the best photobooks list of 2019 would look like. If anybody would like to contribute succinctly and politely the little niggles you felt, please do and I'll make a list to put up later...


I had these books in my list as best....

This is my own contribution, based on the fact that for the last 10 years I've subscribed to the Iranian Cheetah Newsletter which used to come with loads of camera trap pictures of cheetahs at night. 

The Pillar by Stephen Gill

"OK, so he sticks a post in the ground and the camera trap photographs the birds. What kind of picture is that. And why isn't there something exciting. Like cheetahs. And why's it called a pillar. It's not a pillar. It's a post. So the title's wrong."




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