Just in time for holiday shopping, check out some of our favorite photobooks published by women, transgender, and non-binary photographers this year!
JESS T. DUGAN + VANESSA FABBRE — TO SURVIVE ON THIS SHORE
For over five years, Dugan and Fabbre traveled throughout the United States seeking subjects whose experiences exist within the complex intersections of gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and geographic location. They traveled from coast to coast, to big cities and small towns, documenting the life stories of this important but largely underrepresented group of older adults. The featured individuals have a wide variety of life narratives spanning the last ninety years, offering an important historical record of transgender experience and activism in the United States.
PURCHASE: Projects + Gallery | Amazon
KAREN MIRANDA RIVADENEIRA — OTHER STORIES / HISTORIAS BRAVAS
Other Stories is Ecuadorian-American photographer Karen Miranda Rivadeneira’s first monograph. It focuses on her relationships with the women in her extended family, especially her mother and grandmother. The resulting images exude tenderness and dignity, and incorporate symbols and visual elements subtly that hint at Rivadeneira’s Ecuadorian heritage. Other Stories threads personal and collective narratives that are centered in identity, intimacy, memory, and indigenous knowledge. The book contains an essay in English and Spanish by Alanna Lockward, a Dominican-German author and independent curator. She is the founding director of Art Labour Archives, an exceptional platform centered on theory, political activism and art.
PURCHASE: Autograph ABP
XYZA CRUZ BACANI — WE ARE LIKE AIR
Award-winning photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani tells the story of her mother, a Filipina domestic worker who has spent half of her life in Hong Kong. Also featuring other female migrant domestic workers, this compilation of Bacani's characteristic black-and-white photographs offers a poignant account of their life away from home and reveals a lesser-known side of Hong Kong beyond the city's skyscrapers and mega malls. In We Are Like Air, Bacani, who used to be a domestic worker herself, reclaims the story of the migrant worker that has been told countless times by others. This time around, she is telling their own tale - not as victims but as champions who have overcome the hardships life has tossed at them as they leave their families behind in their home country. The book portrays the experience of millions of mothers, daughters and families whose lives have been disrupted by migration. We Are Like Air because migrant workers are often treated like air, invisible but important.
PURCHASE: We Press | Amazon
NAOMI HARRIS — EUSA
EUSA documents American-themed places in Europe and European-themed places in America. Primarily portraiture, the photos are sentimental and idealized, a reaction to the homogenized, indistinguishable common world community, a direct result of globalization. In “Olde-World” towns in California, Wisconsin or Iowa the respective Danish, Swiss, or Dutch heritage being celebrated is ostensibly that of a significant segment of the local population and reflects a desire for authenticity. In other places the “heritage” is blatantly designed and marketed purely for its entertainment and touristic value. This is also the case with many of the Western theme-parks visited in Europe. Many of the pictures make it hard to locate when and where they where taken: are we in the US or somewhere in Europe? EUSA is an ambitious project that raises questions about authenticity, cultural identity, and appropriation, about the function of “other-directed” places and their enduring appeal.
PURCHASE: Kehrer | Amazon
ROSE MARIE CROMWELL — EL LIBRO SUPREMO DE LA SUERTE
El Libro Supremo de la Suerte gathers photographs from Cromwell’s largest body of work to date, made in Havana over a span of seven years. The title translates as “The Supreme Book of Luck” and refers to photocopied booklets used to navigate the covert lottery in Havana. Cubans refer to these booklets, or charadas, to match everyday objects and experiences to numbers; these meanings are by turns straightforward (85 is “clock”), mystical (60 refers to “dark sun”), and idiosyncratic (98 is “old prostitute”). Cromwell found parallels between this intentional look at everyday things and the way she makes pictures. “A turtle on the sidewalk, a can of red paint — these were simple moments that by the act of photographing were made more meaningful and monumental. It was a similar gesture to what people did when they picked lottery numbers,” she says.
Not unlike the way a lottery system attempts to harness the fickle concept of luck, this book organizes Cromwell’s richly colored and affective images through a design that conveys the chaotic, multisensorial, and disorienting character of Havana. Developed in collaboration with designer Ben Salesse, El Libro Supremo de la Suerte reflects the nonlinear narrative of Cromwell’s experience and suggests the randomness inherent not only to the lottery but also to life in this Caribbean city. “I came of age in Havana, not only as a person, but also an artist. This work is an homage to my experience of a specific geography. I am honoring the symbols and occurrences that have shaped my understanding of a place and time. I documented my relentless search for intimacy and spirituality, while navigating the politics of my presence in Cuba, as photographer and ultimately an outsider.”
PURCHASE: TIS Books | Light Work
LAIA ABRIL — ON ABORTION
Today, safe and efficient means of abortion exist, yet 47,000 women die due to botched abortions, every year. Millions of unwilling women across countries and religions are blocked from abortion technologies by law and trustopt social coercion, and forced to carry pregnancies to term. Many are minors and rape victims, their pregnancy is not viable or their health is at risk. Laia Abril's project “On abortion” documents and conceptualizes these dangers and damages caused by women's lack of legal, safe and free access to abortion. As she weaves her net of questions around ethics and morality, Abril also creates a series of meditative visual and textual manifestations of the social triggers, stigmas, and taboos around abortion that have remained invisible until now.
PURCHASE: Dewi Lewis | Amazon
ZANELE MUHOLI — SOMNYAMA NGONYAMA, HAIL THE DARK LIONESS
Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness is the long-awaited monograph from one of the most powerful visual activists of our time. The book features over ninety of Muholi’s evocative self-portraits, each image drafted from material props in Muholi’s immediate environment. These portraits reflect the journey, self-image, and possibilities of a black woman in today’s global society. A powerfully arresting collection of work, Muholi’s radical statements of identity, race, and resistance are a direct response to contemporary and historical racisms. As Muholi states, “I am producing this photographic document to encourage individuals in my community to be brave enough to occupy spaces―brave enough to create without fear of being vilified. . . . To teach people about our history, to rethink what history is all about, to reclaim it for ourselves―to encourage people to use artistic tools such as cameras as weapons to fight back.”
With more than twenty written contributions from curators, poets, and authors, alongside luxurious tritone reproductions of Muholi’s images, Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness is as much a manifesto of resistance as it is an autobiographical, artistic statement.
PURCHASE: Aperture | Amazon
SINA NEIMEYER — FÜR MICH
Für mich is the artist’s autobiographic story of sexual abuse. Sina’s project was born out of the necessity to understand and come to terms with what had happened to her as a pre-adolescent girl. To ultimately get to a place of forgiveness, in order to be able to close a chapter that hurt her so much, and influenced how she grew up to become a young woman.
With photography as therapy, the book itself is meant to serve as a tool for social change. It is small in size, but very dense in content. It is not a book with pretty pictures, it is not meant as an accusation of one specific person, it addresses the multiple and contradicting emotions a sexually abused person feels, where there is no clear black and white, but with all the shades of grey.
When every 3rd woman has or will experience physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in her life, then there is something wrong with society. It is our responsibility that a change happens.
As a society we must take care of our children, we must make sure that, if something wrong happens to them, they have a place to go, that they can talk to someone and that they are taken seriously by doing so, that it does not take up to 8 attempts before a child is heard.
And we must not only make it easier for children and women, but also for the potential abusers, to protect themselves and others, to recognise their wrong longings early enough and to find help more easily.
DANIELLE VILLASANA — A LIGHT INSIDE
A Light Inside by photojournalist Danielle Villasana documents the lives of trans women in Peru. Villasana spent three years in a close knit community of trans women in Lima, following them through their daily lives and the discrimination and harassment they face when looking for housing, employment and health care. Her work counters the sensationalized and stereotypical depictions of trans women rampant in popular media.
PURCHASE: FotoEvidence | Amazon
HOW WE SEE: PHOTOBOOKS BY WOMEN
With historical records establishing 19th-century British photographer Anna Atkins’s Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843-1853) as the first photobook, it is not surprising that women have consistently contributed to the rich history of photobook making. 10×10 Photobooks has organized How We See—a hands-on reading room, “book on books” publication and series of public events—to explore the distinctive content, design and intellectual attributes in photobooks produced by women.
LYNSEY ADDARIO — OF LOVE AND WAR
Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist and MacArthur Fellow Lynsey Addario has spent the last two decades bearing witness to the world’s most urgent humanitarian and human rights crises. Traveling to the most dangerous and remote corners to document crucial moments such as Afghanistan under the Taliban immediately before and after the 9/11 attacks, Iraq following the US-led invasion and dismantlement of Saddam Hussein’s government, and western Sudan in the aftermath of the genocide in Darfur, she has captured through her photographs visual testimony not only of war and injustice but also of humanity, dignity, and resilience.
In this compelling collection of more than two hundred photographs, Addario’s commitment to exposing the devastating consequences of human conflict is on full display. Her subjects include the lives of female members of the military, as well as the trauma and abuse inflicted on women in male-dominated societies; American soldiers rescuing comrades in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan, and Libyan opposition troops trading fire in Benghazi. Interspersed between her commanding and arresting images are personal journal entries and letters, as well as revelatory essays from esteemed writers such as Dexter Filkins, Suzy Hansen, and Lydia Polgreen. A powerful and singular work from one of the most brilliant and influential photojournalists working today, Of Love & War is a breathtaking record of our complex world in all its inescapable chaos, conflict, and beauty.
LOULOU D’AKI — THEY CALL US DREAMERS BUT WE'RE THE ONES WHO DON'T SLEEP
A book about the dreams and aspirations of youth, inspired that tha book about the dreams and aspirations of adolescents in the middle east. The photos in this book are inspired by the notion that youth should be an age of infinite possibilities because when you are young, your dreams are not yet conditioned by experience, so you may just believe in miracles. Most of these images have been shot in conflict zones or in places where dreams are conditioned by society.
PURCHASE: Photographer’s Site
Deana Lawson is one of the most compelling photographers of her generation. Over the last ten years, she has created a visionary language to describe identities through intimate portraiture and striking accounts of ceremonies and rituals. Using medium- and large-format cameras, Lawson works with models she meets in the United States and on travels in the Caribbean and Africa to construct arresting, highly structured, and deliberately theatrical scenes animated by an exquisite range of color and attention to surprising details: bedding and furniture in domestic interiors or lush plants in Edenic gardens. The body—often nude—is central. Throughout her work, which invites comparison to the photography of Diane Arbus, Jeff Wall, and Carrie Mae Weems, Lawson seeks to portray the personal and the powerful. Deana Lawson: An Aperture Monograph features forty beautifully reproduced photographs, an essay by the acclaimed writer Zadie Smith, and an expansive conversation with the artist Arthur Jafa.
PURCHASE: Aperture | Amazon
EMILY BERL — MARILYN
The promise and the peril of the Hollywood dream can be embodied in one person: Marilyn Monroe. It’s been over half a century since her death and her image seems stronger now than ever. Many who recognize her don’t know her movies, yet they accept her as the classic example of glamor and stardom. She is the ultimate symbol of Hollywood, but also a cautionary tale of the cost of fame. But despite the dark side of her story, she represents a place that inspires the imagination and offers a faraway glimmer of hope, generation after generation.
When I moved to Los Angeles in 2012 with a television writer and an actor, both pursuing the Hollywood Dream, I began to notice the face of Marilyn Monroe everywhere: T-shirts, murals, magazines. Her image was so ubiquitous that it blended into everyday life. But what Marilyn Monroe represents is not restricted to one city. All over the world, there are women who dress as her, whether as impersonators, tribute artists, or simply fans. For them, Marilyn is more than a storied icon. She represents an important part of their lives, in some cases a lifelong career, in others a focus of deep love and dedication. Her timeless celebrity inspires her admirers to channel, protect and pursue a traditional image of fame.
These photographs of women who dress as Marilyn Monroe examine the star’s endurance but more importantly, they are a look into these women who channel the classic yet powerful notion of the Hollywood dream that still thrives today.
PURCHASE: Photographer’s Site
DINA OGANOVA — FROZEN WAVES
In her latest book, Frozen Waves, acclaimed documentary photographer Dina Oganova examines the Georgian “tradition” of kidnapping girls into marriage. While the practice has garnered heavy scrutiny for human rights violations, it continues in many rural areas.
“My whole childhood I [was] used to hearing stories [about] how boys/men kidnapped girls with help of their friends, to [marry] them. Sometimes kidnapped girls didn’t even know who would become their future husbands.”
“It was a big shame to come back home after kidnapping. Everybody thought that [the girls] were not virgins anymore. So, who would marry them, who would marry disgraced girls?!
Families didn’t want to get them back, because now they had a new ‘owner’.
It was ‘normal’ in 90s Georgia, nobody even protested. When I grew up, I thought it was over, but at some point I realized that it’s still happening…”
— Dina Oganova
PURCHASE: Photo Eye
ISADORA ROMERO + MISHA VALLEJO — SIETE PUNTO OCHO
On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Ecuador. This book by Misha Vallejo (born 1985) and Isadora Romero (born 1987) compiles pictures of the survivors, on which the subjects have handwritten their accounts of the tragedy.
PURCHASE: Dashwood Books | Amazon
CARMEN WYNANT — MY BIRTH
Combining text and image, My Birth, by Columbus, Ohio–based artist Carmen Winant (born 1983), interweaves photographs of the artist's mother giving birth to her three children with found images of other, anonymous, women undergoing the same experience. As the pictorial narrative progresses, from labor through delivery, the women's postures increasingly blend into one another, creating a collective body that strains and releases in unison. In addition to the photographic sequence, My Birthincludes an original text by the artist exploring the shared, yet solitary, ownership of the experience of birth. My Birth asks: What if birth, long shrouded and parodied by popular culture, was made visible? What if a comfortable and dynamic language existed to describe it? What if, in picturing the process so many times over and insisting on its very subjectivity, we understood childbirth and its representation to be a political act?
BRENDA KENNEALLY — UPSTATE GIRLS
Welcome to Troy, New York. The land where mastodon roamed, the Mohicans lived, and the Dutch settled in the seventeenth century. Troy grew from a small trading post into a jewel of the Industrial Revolution. Horseshoes, rail ties, and detachable shirt collars were made there and the middle class boomed, making Troy the fourth wealthiest city per capita in the country. Then, the factories closed, the middle class disappeared, and the downtown fell into disrepair. Troy is the home of Uncle Sam, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Rensselaer County Jail, the photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally, and the small group of young women, their children, lovers, and families who Kenneally has been photographing for over a decade.
Before Kenneally left Troy, her life looked a lot like the lives of these girls. With passion and profound empathy she has chronicled three generations—their love and heartbreak; their births and deaths; their struggles with poverty, with education, and with each other; and their joy.
Brenda Ann Kenneally is the Dorothea Lange of our time—her work a bridge between the people she photographs, history, and us. What began as a brief assignment for TheNew York Times Magazine became an eye-opening portrait of the rise and fall of the American working class, and a shockingly intimate visual history of Troy that arcs over five hundred years. Kenneally beautifully layers archival images with her own photographs and collages to depict the transformations of this quintessentially American city. The result is a profound, powerful, and intimate look at America, at poverty, at the shrinking middle class, and of people as they grow, survive, and love.
KA-MAN TSE: NARROW DISTANCES
“Narrow Distances” is a series of photographs made in Hong Kong as part of an ongoing investigation of home, identity and community. Tse Ka-man, a New York based photographer whose works address the LGBTQ community, has endeavored to queer the space and social landscape through placement, foregrounding and recasting the protagonists in her works. From multiple perspectives including women, immigrants and queers, Tse has recast this world out of a desire to see it being repopulated and re-imagined.
PURCHASE: Candor Arts
ALEXA VACHON — RISE
18-year-old Sana wakes up every day at 6am in the apartment she shares with her three sisters and mother on the outskirts of Berlin. She rides the S-Bahn 45 minutes across town and shows up for class by 8am. In school she learns history, geography and math but mostly she learns German. It's a far cry from her life in Kabul, Afghanistan where, instead of going to school or learning how to read and write, she worked as a hairdresser. Now, five days a week Sana goes to school. Once a week she leaves school and puts on borrowed football cleats to join her teammates at Champions ohne Grenzen, a football team for refugee women in Berlin, Germany. The players come from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Somalia and Albania. For most of them, this is the first time they have ever played football.
RISE is a photo and text based book project exploring the players' experiences both on and off the field – at home, with family, navigating German bureaucracy and growing as they become contributing members of their communities. In Berlin since the mass wave of migration in 2015, the women have spent the past few years learning German, going to school and establishing new lives. Two years in the making, the final work combines photography, journals, texts, interviews, poems and drawings in exhibition and book form. It is an intimate portrait of a group of young women and the highs and lows inherent in establishing a new life in a different culture.
PURCHASE: Photographer’s Site
MIMI PLUMB — LANDFALL
Created from images taken during the early 1980s, Mimi Plumb’s Landfall encapsulates the anxieties of a world spinning out of balance, a mirror-land eerily reminiscent of our own time.
The burnt out remains of a house fire open out onto equally decimated alpine landscapes, group shots of humans in lackadaisical embrace with high tech weapons of war...Plumb’s photographs of manmade scars and refuse mingle in seductive rhythm with portraits of friends and strangers in disquieting poses, reveling in the underlying unease the artist saw in herself, her community, and the world at large.
“Years later the burnt lamp reminded me of when I was 9 years old, during the Cuban missile crisis in 1963, my mother told me there might be a nuclear war. For a period of time I would wake up in the middle of the night to repeatedly look at the hallway clock, and worried about not sleeping. At school, my classmates and I practiced getting under our desks.”
Plumb's jarring yet delicate approach to image-making comes together in Landfall to fuel a narrative as foreboding as it is beautiful.
PURCHASE: TBW Books
NICOLE FRANCO — MEXICAN DIARY
Mexican Diary is a collection of images and memories, of encounters, fleeting emotions and moments of beauty found and hidden within the landscape of my family's birth... Mexico. It’s my visual diary with sentiments of nostalgia that manifest while here in this place. My entries are not calculated nor can be predicted but they lie in a quiet state of continuum.
LOLA ÁLVAREZ BRAVO — PICTURING MEXICO
This stunning and lyrical volume highlights the personal work of Lola Álvarez Bravo (1903–1993), one of Mexico’s foremost photographers. Álvarez Bravo worked as a photojournalist, commercial photographer, portraitist, and educator and played a critical role in her country’s cultural renaissance. In the years following the Mexican Revolution, she captured a profoundly transformative moment for the country’s land, architecture, and people. She remains best known for these works and for her portraits of prominent modernists working in Mexico, including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Lola Álvarez Bravo delves into a lesser-known body of work, in which attention to pattern, light, and abstraction guides the artist’s depictions of urban and rural landscapes and their inhabitants. It also addresses her role in building and securing the legacy of the post-Revolutionary period, her dialogue with modernist photographers, and her place within the broader cultural sphere, offering new insight into the mutual influence she shared with prominent painters, filmmakers, and literary figures of her time.
SALLY MANN — A THOUSAND CROSSINGS
For more than 40 years, Sally Mann (b. 1951) has made experimental, elegiac, and hauntingly beautiful photographs that explore the overarching themes of existence: memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and nature’s magisterial indifference to human endeavor. What unites this broad body of work—portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and other studies—is that it is all “bred of a place,” the American South. Mann, who is a native of Lexington, Virginia, uses her deep love of her homeland and her knowledge of its historically fraught heritage to ask powerful, provocative questions—about history, identity, race, and religion—that reverberate across geographic and national boundaries. Organized into five sections—Family, The Land, Last Measure, Abide with Me, and What Remains—and including many works not previously exhibited or published, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings is a sweeping overview of Mann’s artistic achievements.