Photobooks of 2023: Miwa Susuda

 Nick Waplington

Comprehensive by Nick Waplington, Phaidon

Waplington stands out as an authentic voice in an era when “Likes!” and social media validation seems to take precedent over substance. Eschewing the facile binaries of “right or wrong,” “good or bad,” he unflinchingly captures real life in all its imperfection, insignificance, and irrationality. Life can be more complex than feeling safe, comfortable, and practical. I appreciate how Waplington embraces our flaws, rather than trying to resolve them. This new compendium is a welcome survey of one of the most important photographers of our time.

The Crick by Jim Mangan, Twin Palms

The Crick is a scandalous book, not likely to be found on the bookshelves of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Mangan takes us behind the curtain of the fundamentalist Mormon sect, as seen through the eyes of a group of teenage boys navigating their disintegrating community. Limning the great American tradition of landscape photography, Mangan captures the rugged terrain of the American west and the people who live there, establishing his standing a compelling photographer in the process.

Monument by Trent Parke, Stanley/Barker

Is our technological society a utopia or dystopia? Monument has haunted my dreams. This is a great book by a talented storyteller.

Whereupon by Allen Frame, Palermo Publishing

Frame’s theatrical photography never fails to fill me with great expectations. A trust of unspoken spaces and moments shines through his lens, elevating everyday encounters with rather eloquent and poignant narration.

American Polychronic by Roe Ethridge, Mack

Ethridge’s American Polychronic is an antidote to our monochronic age, when culture tends to be dictated by a single, linear value system. It is the kind of book that prompts us to reevaluate our lives, opening us up to the polyphonic world outside of our calcified viewpoints. Ethridge’s popularity and fame are well-deserved. His appreciation of the accidental interruption to photography encourages the free enjoyment of unbridled creativity.

Wires Crossed by Ed Templeton, Aperture

Wires Crossed is another masterpiece from the insider perspective of this skateboarder-photographer, central to the scene since the ’90s. The work is sure to become an indispensable cultural reference to future generations of photographers, scholars, and art lovers alike. Every page could be an art installation at a gallery or museum. Moreover, it is a beautiful collaboration between a publisher and artist. Lesley A. Martin at Aperture did well in showcasing Templeton’s creative vitality.

Coming and Going by Jim Goldberg, Mack

Coming and Going constitutes a crowning achievement, wrought from Goldberg’s search to fill the void left by loss, heartbreak, and a rediscovery of love amidst the emotional tumult of the city. Goldberg shows that there is a silver living in the bittersweet realities of life. Along the way, I think his work will provide encouragement and hope to many young photographers who are still searching for their place in this topsy-turvy world.

New York Life by Daniel Arnold, New York Life Gallery

Arnold’s photography is a reminder of what I love about NYC: the people, in all their unapologetic rawness, brutally real, lonely, happy, miserable, pure, sad, and passionate about their lives. New York Life Gallery owner and publisher Ethan James Green’s appreciation of Arnold’s work is apparent throughout the pages, in a strong endorsement of one of Arnold’s best books to date.


Tender by Carla Williams, TBW

This Princeton graduate’s first monograph presents ample ground for academic interpretation, through the lens of racial fetishism and colonial studies. Yet what captivated me on a visceral level was William’s courage for self-examination, turning a critical eye onto her own desires, emotions, and body. Compiled in private, Tender is a tender self-portrait and affirmation that being true to ourselves is the most precious and powerful thing we can aim at in life.

Fashion by Paul Kooiker, Art Paper Editions

The ultimate anti-fashion book by one of the most brilliant photographers of our time. I admire Kooiker’s ability to bring his own unique viewpoint to any assignment. He is a true artist.

Miwa Susuda is a Photobook consultant at Dashwood Books, a publisher of Session Press, writer for IMA magazine, Tokyo and lecturer at Penumbra Foundation in NYC.  Upcoming Session Press publication “Solace” by Wing Shya will be out in Feb 2024.


top - Comprehensive by Nick Waplington, Phaidon
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Fashion by Paul Kooiker, Art Paper Editions