Social Media

Eric Miles' Selections for 10x10 American Photobooks

10x10 American Photobooks is an event centered around the celebration of contemporary American photobooks that culmunates in a 100-book exhibition and reading room, a panel discussion, publication with ten essays and listis of the books and 20 online lists of some of the best books from the last 25 years. The reading room with selections by Leigh Ledare, Larissa Leclair, Harper Levine and John Gossage, Alec Soth and Brad Zeller, among others will open with a New York City preview on Thursday, May 3, 7–9 pm at Ten10 Studios. The project is on view May 3–5 and will be on display in Tokyo for a four-week run at the Tokyo Institute of Photography from September 11–October 6, 2013. For more info on 10x10 American Photobooks, the New York and Tokyo based events or a complete list of contributors, visit the website.

photo-eye is honored to have two of our staff contribute to the list that brings together over 30 photobook specialist to present a view of contemporary American photobook publishing. photo-eye’s Book Division Manager Melanie McWhorter and Auction Coordinator Eric Miles have taken on the difficult task of culling some of the best books of the last quarter of a century. Both contributors open with a statement of their selections and today we are honored to present Eric Miles' list. Published at the end of last week, Melanie McWhorter's list can be seen here.

The books on my list all reflect in their own ways a dramatic shift in photo culture that was already well underway by the mid-eighties. Approaches rooted in the traditions of documentary and “social landscape” photography were already giving way to an interest in vernacular imagery and the “banal,” influenced in no small part by the ubiquity of consumer culture. This paradigm shift inaugurated a new canon, with William Eggleston, Nan Goldin, Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld among the central influences on a new generation, supplanting those of Frank, Friedlander, Arbus and Winogrand. But more than just subject matter was changing; there was also the rise of the “snapshot” aesthetic, emphasizing not the subject per se, but a particular quality of observation. Over time, following Shore and Eggleston especially, but also the unsung Allan Ruppersberg, the Apotheosis of the Banal was complete. And while autobiographical pursuits were certainly not new among photographers, many would follow the 80s paradigm set by Nan Goldin, recording intense “domestic” dramas and pushing the bounds of painful intimacy and portrayal of emotional chaos. So, if I were to go way out on a limb and try to pull out a thread that tied these books together, I’d have to say that it is a radical engagement with the everyday, with nothing too prosaic to photograph – a desire to make the plain romantic and imbue the familiar stuff of our visual lives with a new sense of wonder. -- Eric Miles

American Prospects by Joel Sternfeld; Good By Angels by Paul Schiek; Highschool by Tim Barber; 99 Cent Dreams by Doug Aitken; Emmett by Ron Jude

American Prospects, Joel Sternfeld. Times Books, 1987.
Good By Angels, Paul Schiek. TBW Books 2006.
Highschool, Tim Barber. Nieves, 2007. 
99 Cent Dreams, Doug Aitken. Aspen Art Press, 2008. 
Emmett, Ron Jude. The Ice Plant, 2010.

A New American Picture by Doug Rickard; Not in Fashion by Mark Borthwick; American Surfaces by Stephen Shore;
Blame it on the Dog by Peter Sutherland; You and Me or the Art of Give and Take by Allen Ruppersberg. 

A New American Picture, Doug Rickard. White Press/ 2010. 
Not in Fashion, Mark Borthwick. Rizzoli, 2009. 
American Surfaces, Stephen Shore. Phaidon, 2008. 
Blame it on the Dog, Peter Sutherland. Seems, 2008. 
You and Me or the Art of Give and Take, Allen Ruppersberg. Santa Monica Museum of Art/JRP|Ringier, 2009.