Photobooks 2011: And (for now) a co-winner is…

In order that we lazy people don’t have to root around for all the best-of lists and make our own best of the best-ofs, Marc Feustel has considerately done this for us. And his job isn’t over: As stragglers reach the finishing tape of posting their own best-of lists, he’ll update his tallies (or so he promises).

For now, his list starts:

1st Place (7 votes)

  • Redheaded Peckerwood, Christian Patterson (Mack)
  • A Criminal Investigation, Yukichi Watabe (Xavier Barral/Le Bal)

I’ve never seen Redheaded Peckerwood, so no comment on that. As for Watabe’s A Criminal Investigation, it’s a lovely package for the book-fondler, but its content hardly competes with what’s in at least two other books by Watabe that now cost far less.

Still, if all this excitement results in book publication of excellent work by Watabe that hasn’t yet appeared in any book, then so much the better. More so if the publisher concentrates on what’s important and prices the result accordingly.

And of course there are plenty more Japanese photographers whose work is ripe for republication, from the unjustly forgotten (Shimizu Bukō) to the Parr/Badger-celebrated (Kurata Seiji).

Perhaps best of all, a big, fat (vulgar Taschen-style) anthology of photo features run by the Japanese photo magazines — Camera, Asahi, Sankei, Mainichi, Nippon, and more — back before their enfeebled survivors nervously shied away from Japanese “street” material: features that were often by photographers whose work would never become well known but that (for me) outclass much of what’s celebrated these days. (Example by Iwaoka Gorō.) Copyright nightmares would probably rule out such a book, and it might be a commercial disaster even if it somehow did emerge (no brand names for the bewildered masses to latch on to; and insufficiently introverted or pretty); but I can dream. . . .


2 Comments on “Photobooks 2011: And (for now) a co-winner is…”

  1. dan says:

    Oh, that is an excellent idea… Wonder how difficult it would be to make happen.

  2. microcord says:

    I know little of publishing but I’d wildly guess that a small team of hard-working, well-connected editors could pull something off, getting the OKs from the photographers or their estates. On the other hand if spreads were reproduced from the magazines, then I suppose Asahi/Nippon/Mainichi would want to get involved, and I haven’t a clue.

    Have you seen the latest issues? I’m not entirely sure why, but I bought Asahi today. There are some mildly interesting odds and sods within it. But the featured photographs at the front? Softcore porn from Shinoyama, soporific erotica from Hanabusa, cats…. my eyes stay glazed over until I reach the pages about Elliott Erwitt.

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