Other than the photobook award that goes across the year, we also found that the end of the year is an interesting time for us because we get to see these best of / favorite/ gift recommendation photobooks list.
With these lists usually we get to see a lot of books that we missed due to many reason. The fact is as a small bookstore of course it is not possible for us to stock every books published. Even we cannot stock every books that we known and interested in it. On another note, like it or not, these lists and awards in a way help sales of mentioned photobooks too, so in a way it is helpful for us. That’s why for us, we always looked forward for these lists to be published.
As a bookstore we get to see more books than the regular person, though the curse for us if the books are good and sold well chances are we don’t have a chance to read it (we need the money, so it is better for all copies to sell) and it is still in their plastic cover (and we need it to sell so we make money). That’s why you won’t be seeing “On Abortion”, “Past K-Ville“, or “Halfstory Halflife” in this list.
So our list will be full of great books that come this year to our store, don’t move fast in our stocks, and also will need to please our personal taste:
1. Hidden Islam (3rd edition) by Nicolo Degiorgis
It took us 4 years to finally see this book, so when we see Rorhof table at SIPF we are more than happy and devise a plan to took some books home when the event is done. I think it is a timely reminder for Indonesian muslim that they have it the easy way to practice their religion. For muslims living in a country where they are the minority, things are more complicated.
2. Kopi Susu by Rosa Verhoeve
Kopi susu means coffee with milk in Indonesian. In this book gladly Rosa doesn’t tell a story about coffee (which is quite a popular theme for Indonesian but sorry guys, its boring for us) but she traces her personal history as Dutch person with an Indonesian mother. An already delicate book made more poignant due the fact that Rosa passed away this year.
Jan Banning, the publisher of this book, told us that exhibition for this work are planned in Jakarta for earlier 2019. Looking forward for it.
You probably know by now that we are more into books that have an interesting personal view to the story. “Kuning” for us excel in that, in a way that 17 year old girl told a story about her deceased drug user father. Like “Kopi Susu” it is a poignant book too but it is made lighter by the way she tell her story.
Always found that Max Pinckers method of working to be interesting, the way that it is a documentary work but the photos are prepared. In “Margins of Excess” Pinckers went to USA and found these interesting “fake” news from years back. Another timely book when we are being bombarded by hoaxes, fake news, or alternative truth (whatever you may call it) to remind us that what we see is not always the way it is.
This is also the kind of work that we loved too, raw energy photography that doesn’t need much explanation. We saw a number of books in this vein that are strong works too, but Guts is our favorite for this year.
6. Behind The Glass by Alexandra Catiere
This book came a bit of a surprise for us. We will probably not stocking it only by seeing the photos and description from its publisher website but one of our customer requested it. When it finally arrived and seeing it in person I know that I want to own a copy of the book for my own. Strong unique design and lovely black and white photos that doesn’t need much explaining.
First image from Hidden Islam, the second ones from Guts.