Photobooks of 2022: Alec Soth

Tom Sandberg

My favorite books of the year in alphabetical order:

After Children by Osamu Yokonami, Milk Japon

Whether it’s the Bechers or Baldessari, I usually know what’s happening when I look at a photobook. This isn’t the case with After Children by Osamu Yokonami. This book confuses me in the best way.

Odesa by Yelena Yemchuk, GOST

This dreamy document of Odesa’s youthful spirit was delayed publication due to the pandemic. The meaning it has acquired since then is wrenching.

Participation by Jordan Weitzman, Magic Hour Press

Pleasure is important, and there wasn’t a more pleasurable book this year than Participation by Jordan Weitzman. Between its floral-sketched covers are 37 delicious photographs that remind me of all the sensory pleasures to be had in this otherwise fucked-up world. Sweet relief.

My Husband by Tokuko Ushioda, Torch Press

Ushioda’s black and white domestic photographs are so understated that I originally overlooked them. It was only when I questioned the book’s peculiar title (Ushioda’s husband is photographed much less than their daughter and the spaces they live) that I found the key to unlocking the work’s psychological depth.

Some Say Ice by Alessandra Sanguinetti, Mack

Having participated in the problematic tradition of photographing in other people’s homelands, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have the tables turned. Sanguinetti isn’t really a foreigner (she’s lived in the US for two decades), and her book wasn’t made precisely where I live, but I still learned something important: if the work is exceptional, not much else matters.

Judith Joy Ross: Photographs 1978-2015, Aperture
Tom Sandberg: Photographs, Aperture

Two desperately needed retrospective monographs for two underappreciated photographers – thank you Aperture!

Mundo de Papel by Thomas Demand, Mack

I once had an idea that I wanted to pitch to Shark Tank: pop-up books of museum installations. Thomas Demand beat me to the punch with this extraordinary catalog for his exhibition at Centro Botín in Spain. The concept perfectly suits his work and blew my aspirations out of the water. I guess I’ll go back to my idea for selfie-stick umbrellas.

Hafiz by Sabiha Çimen, Red Hook Editions

Çimen's photographs and writing – both exceptional – are simultaneously incisive and mysterious. The book feels like a secret that's too good not to share. 

Pickpocket by Daniel Arnold, Elara World

A ball-of-fire photographer (“Hell-on Levitt,” Josh Safdie calls him in the book’s introduction) plus some seriously badass design – this book has smoke coming out of its ears.

Alec Soth is a photographer living in Minnesota

Tom Sandberg: Photographs, Aperture
Hafiz by Sabiha Çimen, Red Hook Editions