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Best Books 2013: Alec Soth


Best Books 2013 Best Books 2013 Alec Soth Best Books picks from photographer and Little Brown Mushroom publisher Alec Soth.

By Emmet Gowin 
Aperture
 

A perfectly produced career retrospective by an underappreciated artist. Beautifully understated design, great printing and solid scholarship.
By Rinko Kawauchi
Aperture
 

Nothing gives me more inspiration than seeing a great artist successfully shift gears. Rinko Kawauchi made her reputation by making photographs that look like they were seen through the near-focused eyes of a newborn. With Ametsuchi, Kawauchi steps back, way back, and slows down. The book is a quiet and mature revelation.
By Jason Fulford
The Soon Institute 
 

It is incredibly difficult to mix photographs with words without one sapping the life out of the other. Like the best poets, Jason Fulford uses language not to explain, but to expand the mystery of his images. For another successful look at photographs being combined with text, be sure to check out the way Fulford’s images are used in his wife Tamara Shopsin’s 2013 memoir, MUMBAI NEW YORK SCRANTON (Scribner).
By Mark Steinmetz
Nazraeli Press
 

After I proclaimed last year that “pretty much any book by Steinmetz is guaranteed a spot on my top 10 list,” I was concerned when I heard the title of his new book. Who needs more classic photographs of Paris? But Steinmetz is just too good of a photographer to let this stand in the way. Every single picture negates my preconceptions.
By Mike Brodie
Twin Palms Publishers
 

I really wanted to dislike this book, but I was completely won over by the pictures, design and even Brodie’s essay. “I don’t want to be famous,” he writes, “but I hope this book is remembered forever.” I have a feeling it will be.
By Martin Kollar
MACK
 

“A photograph is a secret about a secret,” said Diane Arbus, “the more it tells you the less you know.” Every image in this Slovakian photographer’s depiction of Israel is a photograph of unintelligible secrets.
By Lieko Shiga
AKAAKA
 

The danger of Surrealism is that it can easily lead to self-indulgence and repetition. To avoid this trap, Lieko Shiga moved to the Japanese coastal town of Kitakama and became the town’s official photographer. The result is a dreamlike community album.
By Lorenzo Vitturi
Self Publish Be Happy
 

No book lives up to the DIY spirit of the publisher’s name – Self Publish Be Happy – more than this joyous book of photographs and sculptures made by an Italian artist at a colorful outdoor market in London.
By Thilde Jensen
LENA Publications
 


Books about medical issues have their place, but I never expected one to show up on my year-end list. Thilde Jensen’s investigation of people suffering from Environmental Illness manages to transcend the boundaries of the subject to become a haunting portrayal of the bubbles we create to protect ourselves from the world at large. My favorite self-published book of the year.
By Martin Parr
Multistory
 

Nosey Parr-ker hits it out of the park with this hysterically funny yet humane look at working class women in the English West Midlands. While the magazine format initially seemed like a joke, it actually prompted me to look at an otherwise invisible population and consider my own cultural bias.


Alec Soth (b. 1969) is a photographer born and based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2008, Soth started his own publishing company, Little Brown Mushroom. Soth is represented by Sean Kelly in New York, Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis, and is a member of Magnum Photos.

1 comment:

  1. "Who needs more classic photographs of Paris? But Steinmetz is just too good of a photographer to let this stand in the way. Every single picture negates my preconceptions." Soth exhibits the same anti-Paris bias ("preconceptions"), only much more eloquently, as Blake Andrews does in his brief comment about Steinmetz's book. It is bizarre that Paris is a catalyst for their prejudices; I wonder if New York City would provoke similar reactions from these writers.

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