Photobooks of 2023: Vanessa Winship

Phenomena by Morganna Magee, Origini Edizioni

It's been an immensely brutal year and doesn't looks like much is going to change soon. writing about books is a luxury - but it feels immensely fortunate to be able to. It was difficult to see books through the crowds at Polycopies in Paris (I’m not good in crowds)  so I ended up only  buying one - Tout va bien - finely observed drawings of various birds and animals by ten year old Vera Muratet by Départ Pour l’Image. Joy!…but there are others I/we bought before and some I'd like to have bought but haven't reduce the numbers and to figure out which books to not include from the list is the next issue

I've decided not to include the remake (revisit) of Mark Powers The Shipping Forecast (GOST). It isn't simply a remake of course - but would like to give it a mention. There are also a couple I've yet to see, like Daido Moriyama Shashin Jidai, (Session Press). I was lucky enough to see a big exhibition featuring his work in Italy not so long ago)The exhibition should still be on by the time I return to the UK,  Also Trent Parke's Monument (Stanley/Barker). Poignant. The Artist's Books of Francesca Woodman (Mack) will wait on as I need time with this I think

So, I’ve tried to differentiate small run artist editions such as Morgana Magee's Phenomena (Origini Edizioni) differently to so called trade editions  I only very recently got to know her work and through it also discovered Ilias Georgiadis who was involved in the editing -  it's slowness of pace and materiality creates an immersive experience. A truly beautiful thing.

Ta-ra by Sebastian Bruno (Ediciones Anomalas), a multi-year project piece of classic documentary and is rightly doing well. There have been several books in recent years I'd have bought for one or two great portraits alone but  a really good  book needs more than just that and this is one of them.

Bryan Schutmaat’s County Road (Trespasser) dedicated to his sister is a nice touch- remembering her within this particular landscape is a tender touch.

From the Photo Diaries of Mick Williamson, an incredibly modest book for a life's work.

Francesco Merlini's Better in the Dark than His Rider (Depart pour l’Image) is a great new addition to an exciting and original talent. It was a thrill to see it at the bookshop at the Henri Cartier Bresson Foundation! 

Speaking of the HCB, Jim Goldberg's Coming and Going (MACK) is an incredible volume - pictures taken from a whole lifetime of seeing and experiencing at its most visceral. Personal notes add rather than detract.

Into the Silence by Yasuhiro Ogawa (Photo Editions/Blue Lotus Gallery) - (into the  silence).

I was happy to make the first introduction for both Anne Rearick You Will Look To The Mountains and Gabriele Rossi The Lizard, two very different book published by Deadbeat Club. An intro is one thing but the work is all theirs beyond that. Rearick returns to one of her earliest bodies of work made in Appalachia. More than thirty years later the tenderness of her vision remains the same. Rossi’s The Lizard’s large format photographs across the United State are a continuation of his previous work- Iteca - a meditation on that search in subtle black and white.

I love that XYZ has the spirit of collaboration and experimentation - many of their books are an invitation for designers and editors from other publishing houses to come together. Tutti Frutti by Andrea Basileo - a spiral bound edition by XYZ where children play together in an atmosphere of joy and acceptance !

Jesse Lenz - The Seraphim (Charcoal Press)  - the second chapter of seven (the other five to come in four year intervals is the plan/hope)  The lives of five children  seen through the the lens of their father. Boys rough and tumble, sometimes still as statues as they stop to oblige their father, they gaze directly, wild creatures, birds in flight and again still - fungi gathered - girls dance for their father. Only glimpses of a world beyond the homestead and traces left behind

George bought this one so technically his pick, Shelby Lee Adams From the Heads of the Hollers (GOST). Moving portraits. Made over a period of forty years a series of Portraits from Eastern Kentucky - many overlooked until now.

Without taking too much credit (because again the work is theirs) it's rewarding to see a participant from a workshop we've led, finding their way forward. Louise Honée’s We Love Where We Live was her first book in which she considers the lives of young people mostly in rural settings. This year she returns to Europe with Double Roses (Le Bec en L’air) which feels to be a continuity of the same vision 

I've always respected the work of Melissa Catanese and how she's works with archive material, The Lottery (The Ice Plant /Witty Books) brings another elliptical narrative  A quote from Virginia Woolf's the Waves sets the tone. Can’t help but think about so called postcode lotteries both in the UK and in the US (Index G another example).

Vanessa Winship is a photographer. Her work explores the fragile nature of our landscape and society, about the legacy of our personal and collective histories.

top: Phenomena by Morganna Magee, Origini Edizioni
below: Better in the Dark than His Rider by Francesco Merlini, Depart pour l’Image

Better in the Dark than His Rider by Francesco Merlini, Depart pour l’Image