Photobooks of 2021: Tom Booth Woodger

Marvel Harris

Prison/Museum by Nicolò Degiorgis, Rorhof

A truly incredible book; one of those rare titles which has made me re-think everything. The form and content marry perfectly to create an object of total fascination. Nicolò and Allegra from Rorhof constantly push boundaries and expectations, both in content and book design/construction and this is no exception. Highest recommendation.

Arbeit by Laura Bielau, Spector

One of the highlights this year, a surprising and challenging book. Laura’s vision is refreshingly different from a lot of work which I see at the moment. Bizarre and obscure photographs from her studio, which feel anxious but also challenging too. A very affordable book too.

One Star and a Dark Voyage by Barbara Bosworth, TIS

Barbara’s pictures are truly unique, and this book is a wonderful escape to another world, one which is close ours but seems to have a special kind of magic which only Barbara could have seen. 

The Stick by Justine Kurland, TIS

An important addition to books which investigate family, from a refreshing and challenging perspective. Justine, Carl and Nelson managed to balance this challenging work into a beautiful object which is full of ambiguity and I can tell has much more to offer with further readings. TIS have put out some of my favourite books; and this and Barbra’s books are up there.

Who is Changed and Who is Dead by Ahndraya Parlato, Mack

Another important addition to books on family. Andrea tugs on my heart strings with this book; and means a lot personally. But even besides that I think it is a truly outstanding book; one of those rare books which manages to blend text and image effortlessly. The Nearest Truth episode with Andrea is a really interesting listen in terms of context for the book as well.

Marvel by Marvel Harris, Mack

I do not want to say too much about this book; and Marvels work as I will not be able to add anything more to this poignant and incredible book. Outstandingly honest pictures and incredible design and scale. Outstanding.

Amma by Vasantha Yoganathan, Chose Commune

Beautiful. The prettiest book on my shelf, incredible production and design. An outstanding way to finish Vasantha’s seven book volume, if only I actually had all seven books.

Encampment Wyoming by Lora Webb Nichols, FW: Books

If Lora Webb Nichols was making pictures now, they would still seem contemporary. Her seemingly natural affinity to photograph people is incredible, and even more impressive given when the images were made. Outstanding design and production from FW Books & Hans Gremmen which brings the work to life, even more

At Night Gardens Grow by Paul Guilmoth, Stanley Barker

Past and present. Reality and fiction. Paul’s incredible book muddles the layers of reality without loosing a connection to the real or the unreal, for me his work stands apart from the rest. Another incredible, stand-out book by Stanley/Barker.

Vacation by Judith Black, Stanley Barker

How can you follow up on a great first book? This is how. Vacation is universal and full of hope, Judith’s pictures are full of everyday beauty and they remind me of the importance of photographing family and the mundane rituals of life. But it is also greater than that. The work is a subversion of the classic, often male dominated, American cross-country road trip. Judith shows us and reminds us what is really important.

Tom Booth Woodger is a designer and photographer based in Brixton, London. He is the designer at Setanta Books, Photo Editions, Plague Press and also works individually with photographers to make books alongside running Besides Press


Marvel by Marvel Harris, Mack
Vacation by Judith Black, Stanley Barker

Judith Black