photo-eye is happy to present our Best Books of 2012. This is the time of year when nearly every publication comes out with at least one year-end list. Some people love them, some hate them, and their value is nearly always up for debate, yet they seem irresistibly interesting. What we strive for with our list is a little different from most, and this year we thought we'd clarify our process.
We start with recommendations for contributors from the photo-eye Bookstore staff. Our contributors are then asked to select up to ten books that they believe are the Best Books of the year. We have two simple rules: the books must be published in the current year and the contributor may not select a book that they have played a role in creating. There are no additional restrictions -- we do not prompt our contributors with a pre-selected list of books or ask them to choose from what's already in our online catalogue.
The result is a list of Best Books that contains between 150-200 titles -- not exactly a tidy top 10. But we don't see this as a problem; we aren't seeking consensus or a ranking. For us, Best Books is about discoveries. When generating our list of contributors, while some are annual fixtures, we strive for a diversity that will shed light on corners of the photoworld that we may miss. We assemble the list knowing that a certain amount of luck determines what a person happens to see, purchase or seek out during the course of the year. Because of this, it's important to note that a book selected by only one person may be no less great than a book selected by numerous people -- its fewer appearances may simply be an issue of access or chance. Knowing this, we also ask our contributors to write a sentence or two about each title on their list, making each photographer, curator, publisher or bookseller's list full of personal insight into what makes each book remarkable.
Just like every year, we have made new discoveries during the compilation of Best Books 2012, and we look forward to seeing each new book that comes through the door. In the coming weeks we will continue to investigate this list and give you a better look inside some of them with write-ups and reviews on photo-eye Blog and additional BookTeases. We hope that you will enjoy exploring photo-eye's Best Books of 2012, and hopefully find a new amazing photobook that will make it on to your personal list of Best Books.
Anne Wilkes Tucker
Ruben Lundgren/Thijs groot Wassink(WassinkLundren)