Best art photography books of 2015

 I stumbled upon this fascinating list of art photography books and thought i had to share it with you. This list is picked by Cheryl Newman who is the award winning Telegraph magazine’s photography director. Here is her best picks for 2015


Unlike homosexuality, transgender is a subject scarcely portrayed in contemporary art. Tiane Doan na Champassak aims to rectify this with Sunless, which documents his journey through Thailand and the variety of people he met along the way.

His beautiful, boldly coloured images of nude figures set against city architecture capture the fluidity of gender – male forms are shown to be delicate, and female forms strong and solid. The varnished cover comes in red, white or blue, an exciting way to introduce a study of the underrepresented to the artworld.

500 copies

Éditions du LIC 2015

ISBN 978-82-93341-11-6

Sunless, Tiane Doan na Champassak   
Sunless, Tiane Doan na Champassak    CREDIT: ÉDITIONS DU LIC 2015

The Whale’s Eyelash:

Art and science mingle in this riveting collection of 19th century microscopic slides, each of them containing their own tiny universe. The book is cleverly conceived as a play in five acts. Explanatory notes enhance the wonder of each curiosity – a cat’s penis for example, or the tongue of a Tortoiseshell butterfly – in what is a painterly, eccentric and exquisite collection.

The Whale’s Eyelash: A Play in Five Acts, by Timothy Prus. ISBN 978-0-9570490-3-1.

Transsection of Eyelash of Whale
Transsection of Eyelash of Whale CREDIT: ARCHIVE OF MODERN CONFLICT

Alec Sloth Songbook 

Disguised as a photographer for a fictitious local paper, Soth travelled between American towns, photographing their churches, bars and pageants in a bid to capture each community’s unique quirks. The resultant black and white images, stripped of explanatory captions, are posed as an alternative kind of news. Throughout, the images become increasingly disturbing, but the dancing Ohio man that introduces the book is an indicator of the prevailing message: that there is always refuge to be found in the joyful fellowship of community.

Published by Mack

Children of Eden. Maplewood, Minnesota 
Children of Eden. Maplewood, Minnesota  CREDIT: MACK

Wonderful Days:

The Wonderful Days cover is my favourite of 2015: two cats stare out at us from simple buff card. We soon know them to be Kabo and Hebo, the Siamese and fluffy mog that lived with Masahisa Fukase and his wife Yoko in their Tokyo flat. The photographs date from the 1960s, before the divorce that led Fukase to create his desolate photo book, ‘The Solitude of Ravens’. Here, the moody black and white photographs capture the weird and wonderful moments of the cats’ daily lives and offer a window into a marriage that will eventually crumble.

Published by Roshin Books ref: 978-4990723002

Kabo and Hebo

Nude Animal Cigar:

You’d be forgiven for mistaking the 200 photographs in this curious tome for relics from the Victorian age. Actually, conceptual artist Paul Kooiker took them all in the last five years, and behind the sepia tint that gives them their quaint, dated air is an unapologetic approach to sexuality and voyeurism. Kooiker places faceless nudes alongside pictures of forlorn Kangaroos in zoos and a series of butts. Some of the images are moving, and others simply surreal.

Publisher: Art Paper Editions

N O1,  Nude Animal Cigar by Paul Kooiker
N O1, Nude Animal Cigar by Paul Kooiker CREDIT: ART PAPER EDITIONS

The Middle of Somewhere:

This poetic album documents Sam Harris’s 12-year journey through India and Australia with his family. It’s candid, tender and acutely observed all at once. Details such as bubble gum stretched over his wife’s lips seem as majestic as snaps of pastoral adventures. Alongside the pictures are post-it notes and snippets from the family’s travel diary; touching additions which make it feel even more of a privilege to witness their intimate story. This book will appeal especially to anyone whose interest in photography began with dog-eared family photos.

Published by Ceiba

ISBN 978-194178-1-01-2

The Middle of Somewhere
The Middle of Somewhere

Looking For Alice:

Ninety-two percent of Downs Syndrome babies are terminated at the pre-natal screening stage – a shocking statistic, and one which inspired Sian Davey and Hannah Watson to raise enough money to produce this enlightening photobook. It documents Davey’s daughter Alice – who was born with Downs Syndrome in 2009 – as she discovers the world around her. Light-flushed images of Alice at home seem simple, but give an insight into their complex family life.

Published by Trolley Books

Alice and her grandmother 
Alice and her grandmother  CREDIT: TROLLEY BOOKS

Until Death Do Us Part

This dinky book, which celebrates the once glamorous act of smoking, opens like a pack of tipped Chinese cigarettes. It’s based around a Chinese tradition which required the bride-to-be to light a cigarette for each man invited to the wedding, and gives examples, through photographs developed from negatives found in a Beijing recycling plant, of the smoking games that have been invented over the years to liven up  such an onerous task. A joyful little book.

Published by Jiazazhi Press

Until Death Do Us Part

Imperial Courts

The Imperial Courts housing project in Watts, South Central Los Angeles, is known for its role in the 1992 riots, which were sparked when four police officers were acquitted of the brutal beating of Rodney King, a black taxi driver. Photographer Dana Lixenberg wanted to explore the town behind the media attention, and though at first the residents were wary of her large format camera, their trust grew and they let Lixenberg into their lives. The resulting photographs, taken over 22 years, add up to a powerful portrait.

Published by Roma Publications

Sa'Marra - Selena's daughter photographed in the Imperial Courts projects
Sa’Marra – Selena’s daughter photographed in the Imperial Courts projectsCREDIT: DANA LIXENBERG/ ROMA 

The Blank pages from an Iranian Photo Album

Iranian photographer Newsha Tavakolian, a recent Magnum Nominee, photographs her peers as a means of investigating the identity of contemporary Iran. Here, she tells nine stories. Mahud, for instance, who lives in Tehran and is studying drama, who speaks about how difficult it is to get permission to speak publically. Or Tvakolian, who began taking photos at the age of 16, and who likes to challenge the stereotyped perception of Iranians. This book is a testament to Tavakolian’s commitment and fearlessness.

Published by Published by Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg

From The Blank Pages 

The journey though Taratine by Daisuke Yokota

Yakota’s latest book, which takes its name from the ancient Japanese tree said to enhance fertility, is packed with lust, love and intimacy. Yakota mixes black and white and colour, covering the film with hair, acid and scratches. Yokota’s

subjects are his mother and his partner, and perusing this very personal book is like walking through his journey to adulthood.

Published by Session Press

Untitled, “Taratine” (session press 07) by Daisuke Yokota
Untitled, “Taratine” (session press 07) by Daisuke Yokota CREDIT: GP GALLERY, TOKYO

Deadline, by Will Steacy

The glamorous life of a journalist: exciting trips to beautiful locations and exclusive interviews with incredible people, right? Not so much. As Will Steacy makes clear, the reality consists of long hours, impossible deadlines and financial

insecurity. ‘Deadline’ is a candid peak into the harsh world of newspapers and their decline at the dawning of the age of the internet.

Published @


article by Cheryl Newman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s