Photobooks of 2021: Matt Stuart

Enri Canaj

Say goodbye before you leave by Enri Canaj, Self-published

Following the Arab Spring, this project started documenting the very first boats carrying migrants to EU waters, and the last episodes of the tragic fire in the Moria refugee reception centre in Lesbos. It combines images of migration throughout various stages, showing people’s arrivals, the first years of those who made it to their destinations, and the situations of the ones who are still waiting on the other side. Canaj photographs are beautiful, hopeful, calamitous and tragic, a true witness to these extraordinary times. Designed by Sybrian Kuiper, who has helped to make yet another beautiful book.

Anywhere but here by Alison McCauley, Photo Editions

Alison has itchy feet and can never quite settle down anywhere, hence the title. The maker of numerous hand made books has finally mass produced one (mass meaning more than 30!) Poetic, dreamy, surreal a totally unique photographer. Pleased to see McCauley collaborated with the bright, shining photobook design star Tom Booth Woodger to make this gem.

England!? les anglais ont débarqué! by Robin Maddock, Self-published

I’ve known Robin for a long time now, he totally immerses himself into his book projects, but non, quite in the way that he did for this one. He was angry about Brexit and England but knew that he needed to show the positives and the negatives , he had to be as objective as possible. He sent me so many title ideas and photos, then realized that each book could have its own sub-title and it’s own front cover (all 750 of them!) I think it is a great original book, reportage, piece of art. Essay by the fantastic Jonni Pitts.

Out of Place by Bas Losekoot, Kehrer

Making work that brings something new to the “street photography” table is difficult but Bas has managed it.  Losekoot seems to have almost predicted the pandemic, many of his subjects seem concerned, looking over their shoulders at the trouble to come. An unique, angst ridden, claustrophobic work from some of the worlds greatest and most difficult to “photograph in” Mega Cities. 

Chasing Amsterdam by Julie Hrudova, Ipso Facto

Following Julie’s weekly street photography column for Het Parool has been exciting and inspiring. Chasing Amstedam shows dedication and a keen eye to anything, it’s not easy to deliver a weekly photo from nothing but a place, a prime example of the flaneur at work.  With a years worth of Corona Virus restrictions this has become a significant,  work from these times, to add to the deep Dutch pool of photo talent. 


Hafiz by Sabiha Çimen, Red Hook Editions

In Turkey, many teenage Muslims are sent to religious schools where they are taught to memorize the Qur’an. In these single-sex, schools young people spend an intensive period of three or four years on their religious education. Sabiha returned to Turkey to photograph in these schools and has made (in my opinion) a perfect photobook. Tender pictures, wonderfully sequenced, printed and designed, a true treasure in my collection.

They might be giants by Brian Karlsson, Self-published

Some photographs, some poetry, some songs. What more could one want? 11,000 copies already sold within the month. Karlsson is a frenetic, energetic, surrealist and one of the most inspiring young photographers I know. If Karlsson is out there, the streets are in good hands.

Wild Flowers by Joel Meyerowitz, Damiani

Re-edition of the 80’s classic, with new photos and a new sequence. Meyerowitz came up with such a simple idea that has kept growing and growing, Wild Flowers have followed him throughout his extraordinary career. Wonderful to see this book bloom into a modern day classic.

American Geography by Matt Black, Thames & Hudson

Traveling 46 states and over 100,000 miles over 5 years, Black has documented the unseen America, the America that America doesn’t want to see. All of the places Black visited were designated “poverty areas,” places with a poverty rate above 20 percent, he discovered that poverty areas are so numerous that they’re never more than a two-hour’s drive apart. A sad, melancholy, but brilliant book. A true gentleman of photography, Blacks commitment goes unparalleled.

Encampment Wyoming: Selections from the Lora Webb Nichols Archive, 1899—1948 edited by Nicole Jean Hill, Fw:Books

Copy/paste what everybody else said!  Encampment Wyoming features Nichols’ own work and the images by amateur photographers she collected in the early 20th century as the proprietor of a photofinishing business in southern Wyoming. A brilliant collection, perfectly designed (by Hans Gremmen),  excellently sequenced and executed. Book of the year.

Matt Stuart is a British photographer based in the Netherlands. Matt loves photobooks and has a slight addiction to collecting them.  Matt publishes books every now and then under his small publishing company Plague Press. Matt hasn’t won any awards and didn’t have a formal education worth talking about, he did skateboard and learned a lot doing that.


Say goodbye before you leave by Enri Canaj
Anywhere but here by Alison McCauley, Photo Editions
Out of Place by Bas Losekoot, Kehrer

Alison McCauley

Out of Place by Bas Losekoot, Kehrer