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A time to look back: for many magazines, blogs and websites, Christmas is the time to evaluate the best of the year that is coming to an end. The same applies for us! However, rather than presenting the greatest portfolios, the most sympathetic photographers, and the most nail-biting productions, we’ve given a number of photographers the chance to speak.

We asked them which photo book they would be happiest to see under the Christmas tree, either as a gift from another or from themselves. The answers take us to cityscapes, Japanese amusement parks, traditional Mexico and much more. We hope that you find the suggestions as uplifting as we do and wish you all a wonderful holiday season!
Koral Carballo recommends: Saraí Ojeda: Donde no puedas verme, Inframundo, 2018. The book is available here.

“This is an intimate book. It seems that Sarai Ojeda thought that when we read it, that small space would be necessary to keep it in a bag or on a desk, and that it would become an essential book to read and look at while on our own. During the narrative, the author guides us to a journey of cruel fantasy, where we think she is telling us a fictitious story. It envelops us in a space where, visually, there is apparently no emptiness. However, it evokes the matriarchal history of most Mexicans, where the father is absent. This book is a recommendation for those women who want to recognize each other.”

Koral Carballo at LFI:
Coyolillo and the Mystery of the Disguised
Matt Stuart recommends: Charalampos Kydonakis: Warn'd in Vain, self-published, 2018. The book is available here.

“My favourite book of the year is Warn'd in Vain by Charalampos Kydonakis. It is an Argonautica inspired story made inside NYC’s urbanscape between 2014-17. The book is a twin with a future Minotaur parallel tale, titled Back to Nowhere, shot in Charalampos’s homeland Crete between 2009-17. Each one of these 2 stories works as a prelude to the other one and vice versa: Warn’d in vain is a stranger’s questionmark inside the world’s most photographed city, Back to Nowhere is a story about his island; the only place that he’ll never find out how it looks in the eyes of a stranger. Exquisitely shot, designed, sequenced and printed, it’s a book not to miss. The sequel will be incredible too.”

Matt Stuart at LFI:
One photo – one story
Hunting Ground
LFI Magazine 05/2016
Vera Torok & Robert Pap recommend: Mary Ellen Mark: American Odyssey, Aperture Foundation, 1999. More info can be found here.

“We would like to recommend American Odyssey by Mary Ellen Mark, one of our favourite documentary photographers. The book includes many powerful and iconic photographs from several of her projects, where she captures the everyday lives of ordinary people in a remarkable way. Her images are intimate, honest and deeply emotional. This beautiful black and white photo book will delight anyone who is into documentary photography. It is printed in tritone, making the images look like darkroom prints of an amazing quality. As you browse through the pages, you will discover that each and every one of the pictures is strong and powerful: there is not a mediocre one among them. Readers of this epic work are ensured a very special experience.”

Torok & Pap at LFI:
In the shadow of the thaw
Charlotte Schmitz recommends: Thomas Saupin: Until death do us part, Jiazazhi Press, 2015. The book is available here.

“This tiny book in a cigarette box makes me happy whenever I look at it. It also makes me want to smoke, and in the same, never to touch a cigarette again. A declaration of love, and a disappearing tradition at Chinese weddings.”

Charlotte Schmitz at LFI:
LFI Magazine 1/2019
Thomas Mandl recommends: Paul Hiller: Memories of Unreal Places, self-published, 2018. Available via DM on his Facebook-Page

“My favourite photo book is more of a photo-zine. The photographer Paul Hiller visited a number of different amusement parks in Asia, equipped with an analogue Hasselblad and lots of rolls of Kodak Portra 400 films. The scenes he captured there were surreal, with amazing images of fantasy worlds and roller-coasters, where people go to escape from their everyday lives. Paul Hiller is currently working on a new series and will hopefully be producing a larger book with his photographs in the near future.”

Thomas Mandl at LFI:
One World Flag
World Cup Girls
Cesár Rodríguez recommends: Abbas: Return to Mexico: Journeys beyond the mask, W. W. Norton & Company, 1992

”I am more or less new to the world of photo books; I’ve been looking at photo books for a long time, but up until about a year ago I didn't own any myself. I used to go to libraries or bookstores and spend hours just looking at photo books. Now I own a few, where you find authors like Juan Rulfo, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Walker Evans and Graciela Iturbide. The book I would like to recommend to you is one that I still don't own. It was recommended to me by a friend, and every time I have it in my hands I take my time to look at it closely. I really love this book because it makes me want to leave what I am doing, leave everything and just get lost in all the towns and cities portrayed in between the pages. It produces a feeling of nostalgia in me, and a kind of romanticism.”

César Rodríguez at LFI:
One Photo – One Story
LFI Magazine 07/2018
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