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Best Books 2013: Sarah Bradley


Best Books 2013 Best Books 2013 Sarah Bradley Best Books picks from photo-eye Blog Editor Sarah Bradley.

Collected and edited by Thomas Sauvin
AMC Books

The Archive of Modern Conflict has produced a number of impressive issues of their journal over the year, and Issue 8 is a perfect example of why I love what they’re doing. Another publication created from Thomas Sauvin’s remarkable photo-collection project in China (he’s also responsible for Silvermine), Issue 8 features a collection of full-length portraits presented in the kind of design that inspires engagement.
By Mike Brodie. 
Twin Palms Publishers
 

I know a number of people who still bristle at this title; I find it completely engrossing. Brodie’s impressively clear photographic voice pulls you into a temporal world of youthful exploration. The book stands outside the photo world that bustles around it and is best experienced on its own terms. Twin Palms did an excellent job of distilling the work and keeping it self-contained.
By Aleix Plademunt
MACK/Ca l'Isidret Edicions
 

This is a books that seems like it shouldn’t work yet it pulls off something unspeakably intriguing. Combining disparate images of landscapes, prehistoric artifacts, red blood cells, far-off stars and mundane interiors, Almost There is somehow both intensely personal and entirely universal, playing with distance on not merely a spatial level but also every metaphoric variation. Beautifully printed and cleverly arranged, it’s a book to keep coming back to.
By Dayanita Singh 
Steidl
 

File Room is a shockingly beautiful depiction of the crush of archival documents in India. The black and white images show shelves upon shelves of bundled papers deforming with time, decaying in a strange elegance. The book quickly transcends the expected banality of its subject matter to become something else, eventually feeling eerie and dreamlike. The book's production  is particularly lovely, and the heavy smell of the ink used for its rich blacks feels especially relevant.
By Lieko Shiga AKAAKA
 

For me, the physicality of this book is part of its power. Its size lends presence, presenting the images in a scale that quickly draws you into this strange and mysterious world, aided by the deep blacks, saturated colors and glossiness of the paper. Keenly atmospheric, Rasen Kaigan presents a village, a landscape, and its people, but nothing ever seems quite right.
By Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg 
MACK
 

Holy Bible is both troublesome and fascinating; my relationship to it seems to get more complicated the more time I spend with it. Combine the Bible with archival images and underlined text fragments and a certain kind of alchemy will be achieved no matter what. Overwhelming and certainly flawed, but a feat nonetheless.
By Mark Power 
GOST Books
 

Mass is a joy to look at and handle. The fold-out images let you dive into the details of the at times beautifully ornate, and other times starkly modern, cathedral interiors. There’s something kind of magical about a book where the images end up being double the size of the publication. From the purple cloth boards to the close-up shots of offering boxes, it’s perfect combination of form and subject.
By Ed Panar 
Spaces Corners & The Ice Plant
 

A little photobook experiment that seems quite basic on the surface but gets stranger and stranger the more you engage with it. It's almost like a little optical illusion. Nothing changes and nothing changes and nothing changes, until it does.
By Axel Hoedt 
Steidl
 

Another small book that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Photographing traditional German festival costumes, Hoedt manages to capture a liminal space between fantasy and reality, where knowledge gives way to imagination. It's easy to describe what this book looks like but not so easy to describe how it feels, and that’s what really sticks with me. That and some fantastically weird costumes.

By Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen
The Sochi Project
 

I’ve been a fan of all of The Sochi Project books, but this one displays the scale and importance of what Hornstra and Van Brugen have accomplished. Delicately presented and printed on newsprint, The Secret History of Khava Gaisanova is moving in both its written and photographic storytelling. It feels like an important document.
Dale Bradley


SARAH BRADLEY is a writer, sculptor and costumer, as well as Editor of photo-eye Blog. Some of her work can be found on her occasionally updated blog.

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