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All images: © Thomas Sauvin, 线 / Xian, 2017


Since 2008 we have been asking experts to name their favorite photobook of the previous year and to justify their choice. This has resulted in around 30 books every year from renowned jurors from all over the world. The books showcase the current state of play in a medium that is incredibly lively and mobile. As forms, they range from very simple magazine-style publications to traditionally crafted books as well as handmade one-off items and heavy, exclusive, large format products in slip cases and cassettes. The essence of printed photography and the strong narrative force of photography in book form can be seen in the high-class selection of books included every year. Some of the works are already among the masterpieces and classics in the history of photography, while others are still waiting to be discovered. In 2008, we undertook a world’s first ›Best Of Experts‹ photobook listing, the aim being to create an annual overview of the most outstanding photographic books. At the time, we thought we were at a culmination point. Today it feels more like the medium is just being discovered.

All selected books will be shown at the ISTANBUL PHOTOBOOK FESTIVAL from 28 – 30 April.


Images and statements to follow soon!

    • Valentina Abenavoli »Anaesthesia«  (Akina Books) – selected by Lars Willumeit
    • Edmund Clark and Crofton Black »Negative Publicity«  (Aperture) – selected by Rob Hornstra
    • Dieter De Lathauwer »I loved my wife)«  (Lecturis) – selected by Tamara Berghmans
    • Leif Elggren Carl Michael von Hausswolff »The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland«  (Art & Theory) – selected by Chiara Capodici
    • Petrus Fieret »Gerard Petrus Fieret«  (Photo Institute Le Bal and Editions Xavier Barral) – selected by Willem van Zoetendaal
    • Alexander Gronskiy and Ksenia Babushkina »Schema«  (Orbita) – selected by Ekaterina Zueva
    • Jan Gross »The Jungle Book«  (Actes Sud) – selected by Yuan Di
    • Gregory Halpern »ZZYZX«  (Mackbooks) – selected by Martin Amis
    • Mao Ishikawa »Red Flower, The Women of Okinawa«  (Session Press) – selected by Lesley Martin
    • Miho Kajioka »And, where did the peacocks go?«  (Selfpublished) – selected by Pierre Bessard
    • Korhan Karaoysal »Reason-Purpose«  (MASA Books) – selected by Volkan Kiziltunc
    • Eric Kessels »Small Change«  (Kesselskramer) – selected by Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt
    • Justine Kurland »Highway Kind«  (Aperture) – selected by John Gossage
    • Jack Latham »Sugar paper theories«  (Selfpublished) – selected by Laia Abril
    • Shane Lavalette »One Sun, One Shadow«  (Selfpublished) – selected by Sebastian Hau
    • Anne Lefebvre »Hollingshausen«  (Pierre van Kleist) – selected by Daniel Blaufuks
    • John MacLean »Hometowns«  (jmaclean) – selected by Laurence Vecten
    • Arwed Messmer »Zelle/Cell«  (Hatje Cantz) – selected by Gerry Badger
    • Richard Mosse »Incoming«  (Mackbooks) – selected by Markus Schaden
    • Nicholas Muellner »In Most Tides An Island«  (SPBH Editions) – selected by David Campany
    • Christof Nüssli »Withheld due to:«  (Verlag cpress) – selected by Eva-Maria Kunz
    • Thomas Prior »Bomba«  (Selfpublished) – selected by Jeffrey Ladd
    • Moises Saman »Discordia«  (Selfpublished) – selected by Carlos Spottorno
    • Leif Sandberg »Ending«  (Bœcker Books ) – selected by Yumi Goto
    • Thomas Sauvin »线 / Xian«  (Selfpublished) – selected by Frederic Lezmi
    • Carlos Spottorno and »La Grieta«  (Astiberri) – selected by Remi Coignet
    • Defrost Studio »IMMO Refugee«  (Defrost Studio) – selected by Martin Parr
    • Batia Suter »Parallel Encyclopedia # 2«  (Roma Publishing) – selected by Thomas Gust
    • Guy Tillim »Edit Beijing«  (Editions Bessard) – selected by Anatole Desachy
    • Lorenzo Tricoli »Other Adventures of Pinocchio«  (Skinnerboox and d&books) – selected by Federica Chiocchetti
    • Peter van Agtmael »Buzzing at the Sill«  (Kehrer) – selected by Wolfgang Zurborn
    • Marie-Isabel Vogel, Alain Rappaport »Maximilian Stejskal – Folklig idrott«  (Edition Patrick Frey) – selected by Brian Griffin
    • Sun Yanchu »Ficciones«  (Jiazazhi Press) – selected by Zhang Xiao

see all selected books since 2008


      • Robbert Flick »LA Diary « -– selected by Mark Steinmetz
      • Fernell Franco »Cali clair-obscur« -– selected by Anatole Desachy
      • Paul Gaffney »Stray« -– selected by Bertien van Manen
      • Dima Gavrysh »Inshallah« -– selected by Franek Ammer
      • Harry Gruyaert »Harry Gruyaert « -– selected by Christopher Anderson
      • Claudia Heinermann »Wolfskinder« -– selected by Pierre Bessard
      • Marie-José Jongerius »Edges of the Experiment« -– selected by Carolyn Drake and selected by Sybren Kuiper
      • Dana Lixenberg »Imperial Courts 1993-2015« -– selected by Todd Hido
      • Henrik Malmström »Life Is One Live It Well« -– selected by Thomas Wiegand
      • Xavier Miserachs »Miserachs Barcelona« -– selected by Markus Schaden
      • Kazuma Obara »Silent Histories« -– selected by Mutuko Ota and selected by Ramon Pez
      • Vicente Paredes »PONY CONGO« -– selected by Angela Ferreira
      • Mariela Sancari »Moíses« -– selected by Larissa Leclair
      • Thomas Sauvin »Until Death Do Us Part« -– selected by Zhang Xiao
      • Michael Schmelling »My Blank Pages« -– selected by Sebastian Hau
      • Helge Skodvin »240 Landscapes« -– selected by Martin Parr
      • Alec Soth »Songbook« -– selected by Gerry Badger
      • Carly Steinbrunn »The Voyage of Discovery« -– selected by Maria Inc. (Emilie Hallard & Pablo Porlan)
      • Michele Tagliaferri »Grass« -– selected by Fosi Vegue
      • Munemasa Takahashi »Laying Stones« -– selected by Claude Lemaire
      • Phillip Toledano »Maybe « -– selected by Marina Paulenka
      • Issa Touma »Women We Have Not Lost Yet« -– selected by Richard Reisen
      • Shōji Ueda »Shōji Ueda« -– selected by BIND Collective and selected by Alec Soth
      • Javier Viver »Révélations. Iconographie de La Salpêtrière. Paris 1875-1918« -– selected by Ilkin Huseynov
      • Michio Yamauchi »Hong Kong 1995-1997« -– selected by Aya Takada
      • Daisuke Yokota »Taratine« -– selected by Misha Kominek
      • Chen Zhe »Bees & the Bearable« -– selected by Chen Shen


The public visitor’s prize of the Kassel Fotobookfestival 2016 goes to Chen Zhes »Bees & The Bearable« – Jiazazhi Press

Within the photobook Bees & The Bearable, Chinese artist Chen Zhe presents her closing statement of her long contemplation on the disquieted souls, the wounded bodies and the elusive link between the two over the past nine years. As suggested by the title, this book contains two parts/projects, which face about the same topic but explore about her own self as well as a broader group of people separately yet intensely connected. Presented as a layered notebook which weaves in and out of images and texts, the book restores Chen’s practice as an ongoing process of exploration, discovery and research. What happens when actions that canjeopardize one’s existence, such as hurting one’s own body, in return serve the purpose of understanding the existence itself? Should we see it as a fluky escape, or a relief from the weight of modern life? While the individual response may differ, the book illustrates that there still lies psychological connectedness that undoubtedly link each of us together. Everything else follows from there. (Chen Shen, curator Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing)



      • Laila Abril »The Epilogue« – selected by Ramón Reverté
      • Christoph Bangert »War Porn« – selected by Gunawan Widjaja
      • Julián Barón »Los últimos días vistos del rey« – selected by Horacio Fernandez
      • Elegance Bratton »Bound by Night« – selected by Adam Murray
      • Terry Brown & Gordon Stettinius »Mangini Studio« – selected by Martin Parr
      • Alejandro Cartagena »Before the War« – selected by Manik Katyal
      • António Júlio Duarte »Japan Drug« – selected by Pedro Alfacinha
      • Laura El Tantawy »In the Shadow of the Pyramids« – selected by Gerry Badger, selected by Rudi Thoemmes
      • Stephen Gill »Pigeons« – selected by Maxwell Anderson
      • Geert Goiris »Prophet« – selected by Hans Gremmen
      • Go Itami »This year’s Model« – selected by José Manuel Suárez
      • Claudia Jaguaribe »EntreVistas« – selected by Pierre Bessard
      • Kim Kardashian »Selfish« – selected by Miti Ruangkritya
      • Sofie Knijff »ASNOIX« – selected by Gabriele Franziska Götz
      • Jungjin Lee »Unnamed Road« – selected by Wendy Ewald
      • Sylvain Maestraggi »Waldersbach« – selected by Sebastian Hau
      • Daniel Mayrit »You Haven’t Seen Their Faces« – selected by Juan Valbuena
      • Yann Mingard »Deposit« – selected by Louise Clements
      • Masakazu Murakami »KUMOGAKURE ONSEN: Reclusive Travels« – selected by Koji Onaka
      • Tiane Doan Na Champassak »Kolkata« – selected by Christoph Schaden
      • Kate Nolan »Neither« – selected by Douglas Stockdale
      • Mark Power »Die Mauer ist Weg!« – selected by Christian Patterson
      • Andy Rocchelli »Russian Interiors« – selected by Moritz Neumüller
      • LaToya Ruby Frazier »The Notion of Family« – selected by David Campany
      • Alina Schmuch »Script of Demolition« – selected by Jeffrey Ladd
      • Petra Stavast »Ramya« – selected by Katja Stuke
      • Paddie Summerfield »Mother and Father« – selected by Hannes Wanderer
      • Juan Valbuena »Salitre« – selected by Verónica Fieiras
      • Johann van der Keuken »Mise au jour« – selected by David Chickey
      • Awoiska van der Molen »Sequester« – selected by Ken Schles
      • Yuanyuan Yang »10 Days in Kraków« – selected by Yining He
      • Xu Yong »Negatives« – selected by Markus Schaden


The public visitor’s prize of the Kassel Fotobookfestival 2015 goes to Laura El-Tantawys »In the Shadow of the Pyramids«

I first saw this as a dummy at Unseen in 2014, where I felt it should have won the dummy prize. Laura El Tantawy’s book is a fascinating blend of the personal with the political. Going back to Egypt to discover her roots, she became caught up in the momentous events in Tahir Square during 2011, and stayed to photograph the whole event. Her highly impressionistic style is in the best tradition of Japanese protest books, and captures he confusion of the event extremely well – where people where having picnics in the middle of the square while others were dying in the surrounding streets. At first glance, her brightly coloured, semi abstract images seem too ‘aesthetic’, but when you really get into and study the sequence, journeying from hope and exultation to near despair, the toughness of her vision becomes apparent, and the whole is brought together with excellent production values and a beautiful, yet not overinsistent design.

(Gerry Badger)