Photobooks of 2020: Christopher McCall

The Living Mountain by Awoiska van der Molen


Irmatar by Momo Okabe, Mandarake

Irmatar is yet another wonderful book by Momo Okabe. Like her two earlier monographs published by Session Press, the design and feel of this publication sets itself apart from most other photobooks. Okabe’s unique style shines through with the color-coded storylines weaving through, including the birth of her child. As always, this is an unflinching look into Okabe’s life and the beauty she sees in it. Hopefully everyone is paying attention to this great photographer.

Marakuya by June Canedo, 

For several months, this book sat on my coffee table. Marakuya sheds light on the immigrant experience from a deeply personal perspective. Canedo’s writing intermingles with the photographs to create an intimate and, at times, troubling story of what far too many people experience in the United States. With tenderness and care, she explores a topic that should concern everyone. Thank you to June for sharing this special book with me, and congratulations on a brilliant self-published endeavor.

Frauen by Hans-Peter Feldmann, Morel

I am a fan of Hans-Peter Feldmann and this treasure trove of images offers insight into the mind of this great artist. Mörel Books has done an exceptional job of making it feel like you are truly holding Feldmann’s album.

We have no place to be 1980-1982 by Joji Hashiguchi, Session Press

Another example of why you should buy every book Session Press produces. With this addition to their already stellar lineup, we are transported to the early 80s with photographs that make you feel like an insider. Full bleeds throughout feel perfect for this time and place.

MOM by Charlie Engman, Edition Patrick Frey

I am still digesting this book. Every time I open it, I discover something new. It is hard for me to fathom the experience of making this work and—like Leigh Ledare’s Pretend You’re Actually Alive—it is hard to look away. Overall, I am impressed with the layers upon layers of psychological overload, and how the design heightens every minute of it.

The Living Mountain by Awoiska van der Molen, FW: Books

This book is the perfect home for Awoiska van der Molen’s serene and beautiful work, from the modest saddle stitching to the papers chosen. But this is what we have come to expect from the great designer Hans Gremmen. 

The White Sky by Mimi Plumb, Stanley/Barker

Nothing to say here other than Mimi Plumb is making great books, and everyone should be paying attention to her work, which had been overlooked for far too long. This monograph from Stanley/Barker is no exception.

The Locusts by Jesse Lenz, Charcoal Press

They say once you lose the wonder and imagination you have as a child, you can never get it back. Jesse Lenz’s first book, The Locusts, is the closest I have come to recovering that magic. Everything about this book is touching, and I can only imagine it is a testament to the father behind the lens.

Houseplants by Daniel Gordon, Aperture

A pop-up book seems like the ideal vehicle for the work of the very talented Daniel Gordon. I have been a fan of this work for a long time and am amazed by how the form and function of this book brings Danny’s work to life.

As it is by Rinko Kawauchi, Chose Commune

I am a big fan of Rinko Kawuichi and Chose Commune. So, it is unsurprisingly that this exceptional book from this stellar French publisher found its way on to my list. Moving, tender, and aesthetically poignant, Kawauchi allows us into to her personal world. 

Christopher McCall is the Director of Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco, one of the largest exhibition spaces devoted to photography. In 2002, McCall received his MFA in Photography from California College of the Arts, studying under Jim Goldberg and Larry Sultan. After teaching for 7 years, he joined Pier 24 Photography in 2009 as the inaugural Director, assisting in the conceptualization of the organization’s mission and operating principles. Since opening the doors of Pier 24 in 2010, McCall has overseen the presentation of ten exhibitions and spearheaded the creation of the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program, a program in collaboration with California College of the Arts. In 2015 he implemented the Larry Sultan Photography Award in partnership with the Headlands Center for the Arts. 

Images: top - The Living Mountain by Awoiska van der Molen, below - 
MOM by Charlie Engman

MOM by Charlie Engman, Editions Patrick Frey