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Best Books 2014: Christopher J. Johnson

Best Books 2014 Best Books 2014 Christopher J. Johnson Best Books picks from reviewer, poet and photo-eye Bookstore associate Christopher J. Johnson.

By Peter Van Agtmael
Red Hook Editions

A good book, regardless of genre, is one that changes your life. It informs and, whether or not you want it to, expands what you’ve understood. Disco Night Sept. 11 has changed my life and, yes, it is a dark change, but by its darkness I know more than before.
By Sara Skogen Teigen

A Fractal State of Being challenges the photo-art book form. It shows us that there is always room for change, for trying something new. I am excited by a book that is, like this one, at first unassuming, but that travels with you like a seed designed to snag in your hair.
By Esther Teichmann

A beautiful cyanotyped board-book, each copy being ever so slightly different from the next. Its interior is of a dream and the beautiful dreamer. If you missed this limited edition, it’s okay to be sad about it.
By Nadav Kandar
Hatje Cantz

Kander is at his best when gathering a foreboding landscape into his lens. He is able to heighten nature beyond the mistakes of humankind via environments where we have done our worst and Dust is his greatest series so far in the genre.
By Captain Linnaeus Tripe

I am a sucker for history, especially history that isn’t of the common hedgerow variety. Captain Linnaeus Tripe is the most complete collection yet to explore the Burmese and Indian landscapes of this Nineteenth century photographer and the book is replete with copious information.
By Edited by Ryan Thompson & Phil Orr
The Ice Plant

Not often does a book come along that is as fun, well-designed and illuminating as Bad Luck, Hot Rocks. Hilarity ensues on every page, but so does our blatant inability to let ourselves get away with improprieties.
By Renée Jacobs
Editions Bessard

Though this collection seems to pick up where Jacobs' Paris left off, Rêves de Femmes has another layer of appeal; its small size and collectable C print bring it over from the world of books to the world of fetish object in the sense of something that can be hidden, enjoyed on the sly, fawned-over and, in short, coveted!
By Rafal Milach

The Winners is another illuminating book by Rafal Milach. His collections continue to expand my awareness of the world I live in, while the design of his books, their aesthetic, never fails to please. This books is less a book than an activity with its tipped-in pictures that hide their captions beneath.

Christopher J. Johnson is originally from Madison Wisconsin. He came to Santa Fe in 2002 and graduated from the College of Santa Fe majoring in English with an emphasis in poetry. He is a freelance writer and reporter.