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Your favorite photobook DESIGN/LAYOUT ever?

I love photobooks but find many lack a dynamic or original layout. Am curious to discover your favorite photobook-designs. My last and most interesting buy is Kiyoshi Suzuki

by at 2009-05-30 12:04:33 UTC Paris , France | Bookmark | | Report spam→

mine of course …………. http://www.etrouko.com.au/artouko.htm

by Imants | 30 May 2009 14:05 | "The Boneyard 017º", Australia | | Report spam→
Agreed Tiane. Most are pretty prosaic when it comes to layout. I always liked Gene Richards’s Cocaine book since it mixed things up rather interestingly, with different types of text running through it. But I have been puzzling over this myself lately, open to new ideas if anyone has them.

by Jon Anderson | 30 May 2009 21:05 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
I will have to think about it, but I will disqualify any book whose photos are are printed on two pages and are bisected by the spine.

by J-F Vergel | 31 May 2009 15:05 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
While I enjoy good design as much as the next man, I do prefer photos to be presented in a simple uncluttered way, that allows me to concentrate on the content. But – while I have your attention – I am working on my own photobook right now, and wonder what is the general opinion between (1) captions with every photo (leading people (me at least) to sometimes just skim the words and not really immerse themselves in the picture, or (2) provide the captions elsewhere, such as at the end, so that people are forced to confront he photo on its own – but have the off-pissing experience of having to page back and forth between pics and captions? Thoughts? Opinions?

by BignoseTW | 31 May 2009 15:05 | Taipei, Taiwan | | Report spam→
mike and doug starn… got a chance to flip through this a few yeas ago. ….

Monograph (in progress)
A 400 to 500-page, 2-volume publication designed by
Doug and Mike Starn in collaboration with Goto Design.
It will present 25 years of the Starns’ artwork and
reflections on the essence of light, featuring holograms,
pop-up, over 10 distinct paper stocks and a dos á dos book cover connecting both volumes. We hope to announce a potential publication date by the end of 2009.

wonder if it’ll ever happen.

by Ed Leveckis | 31 May 2009 16:05 (ed. May 31 2009) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Probably not but the dummy is worth $20.000.

by [former member] | 31 May 2009 17:05 | | Report spam→
J-F, I disagree with you. I used to think like you but now find some of the most interesting books have full double spreads (Moriyama for example). Of course this depends on the kind of work. I still love the simplicity of Frank’s Americans but this was 50 years ago!
Bignose, I have the answer: no captions!
come on guys there are so many good books out there and nobody has proposed any interesting designs yet. here is one more:

by | 31 May 2009 17:05 | Paris, France | | Report spam→

by Ed Leveckis | 31 May 2009 17:05 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
That could be in the low end.

by [former member] | 31 May 2009 17:05 (ed. May 31 2009) | | Report spam→
Andy, no doubt.

Tiane, thanks for the links…diggin ’em both.

by Ed Leveckis | 31 May 2009 18:05 (ed. May 31 2009) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Hi Ed, I find Japanese photo books to be the most interesting when it comes to original and daring design. another book I have and love:

by | 31 May 2009 19:05 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
William Klein’s “New York – Life is Good & Good for you in New York”, shot and designed by Klein it was first published in 1956 and I think it still looks more sophisticated then 90% of what is done today. The images, sequencing and layout create unbelievable mood and energy.

by [former member] | 31 May 2009 22:05 | paris, France | | Report spam→
I agree with Tiane, some excellent books split the images, not all, but sometimes to make a change in the climate of narration. I would like to have some Brodovicht design, I remember that i saw very nice things did by him in the 60’s.

by Hernan Zenteno | 31 May 2009 23:05 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
Actually Klein’s Tokyo book is just as good as his New York.

I’d add Telex Persan by Gilles Peress, Winterreise by Delahaye, Why Mister Why by Geert Van Kesteren

by [former member] | 31 May 2009 23:05 | Phnom Penh, Centre of the Univ, Cambodia | | Report spam→
I’m with Bignose. I stay away from photobooks with a snazzy lay out that distracts from what the photobook is really about, i.e., the photos. I view photobooks as a portable photo gallery, where photos are often displayed centered on a plain matte board. In the Blurb books I made out of my Philippine and New York pictures, I placed the captions under the image or on the facing page. I had thought of putting all the captions at the end of the book, but as a “photo reader” myself I am annoyed when I have to ruffle through the pages of the book for contextual information, and of course I don’t want to annoy myself with my own books. I think photobooks with creative lay outs are part of the expression of the art side of photography which I have yet to learn to appreciate.

by Max Pasion | 01 Jun 2009 00:06 | Bayonne, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
Max what you are talking about is a portfolio. I don’t think a photobook should be simply a portfolio (this we do often enough to bore editors) and it is not a photoexhibition! It is about photographic literature, narration, conveying a message or not…
I agree with Tim, Klein’s New York is probably the true first powerful photobook when it comes to layout but photographically not all strong.
another go: Boris Mikhailov’s Case History. simple design but so so smart! I am not talking about the content of the book but the presentation of it.

by | 01 Jun 2009 10:06 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Tiane, I think that most photobooks are portfolios – books that showcase a persons work.
Books that are more conceptual i think fall in different category; perhaps that of an “Art” book or a “design” book since they showcase not just photographs but the graphics, the fonts, the paper that make up the book. I’d be interested to see a book of photos designed by Chip Kidd.

When I look at a “photo book” I want to see a book of photographs without the distractions of splashy graphics. I want to see the photographer’s work. Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate graphics as much as the next person.

Let me ask you this: when you look at a photo book do the photos stand on their own? or do they need the help of the graphic touches to make them work?

A book that has an interesting design and lets you take in the photographs quite nicely in “Avedon’s Portraits”.

But, these are just my opinions… and I’m full of them. ;-)

Interesting topic.

by J-F Vergel | 01 Jun 2009 12:06 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Great design, for me, is simplicity. Grid-design is great for photobooks. Keep pictures and captions together – and keep away from the gutter!

Example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebhayez/3553664098/sizes/l/in/pool-962722@N23/

Philip Jones Griffiths (2001) Vietnam Inc. is good design put in practice.

by Sivert Almvik | 01 Jun 2009 13:06 | Trondheim, Norway | | Report spam→
Another issue to talk about layout is the size of the book. Here are several examples but some design is not applicable in all the sizes.

by Hernan Zenteno | 01 Jun 2009 13:06 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
From a layout perspective Gary Knight’s Evidence is stunning.

by Matt Wright-Steel | 01 Jun 2009 13:06 | austin, texas, United States | | Report spam→
Tiane: What is a photobook but a publisher-made portfolio of someone’s work on a certain theme or subject matter? Can you name me a single-author photobook mentioned here that is not a portfolio? And when you put photographs together in book form, doesn’t it become an exhibition of photographs, only viewed in a different manner as one would see photos in a gallery? Often when I go to see a photo exhibit the gallery is also selling a collection of the exhibited photographs in book form, as though to say, “Here, buy this book and take this exhibit home with you.”

“I am not talking about the content of the book but the presentation of it.” You can’t talk about one or another exclusively since what is presented is presented in a certain way and there’s no photobook to design if there are no photographs.

What turns me off in “designy” photobooks is that they seem to compensate for not-so-good photos with the sort of design that screams, “Look at me, I’m a great photo!” Or that the book becomes about the art of book design and the photos in it are merely a design element equal to the font and other graphics and in that case calling it a photobook is somewhat doubtful.

by Max Pasion | 01 Jun 2009 15:06 (ed. Jun 1 2009) | Bayonne, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
J-F, I like your question! but first I have to say that I find terribly boring a photobook/portfolio unless the work needs to be shown that way and makes more sense that way (Frank’s Americans for ex.). now to answer your question: I don’t need to see a fancy design to appreciate a good photograph but an inteligent design will always highlight the intention. I guess this is all very subjective since for me looking at a book is not only about looking at a photo the way I do in exhibitions, museums,etc… the book is an object and this is a fascinating thing for us photographers to tackle.

by | 01 Jun 2009 15:06 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Max I am not talking about “designy” photobooks but rather looking for interesting projects where photography is as strong as the design. a perfect balance of some sort

by | 01 Jun 2009 15:06 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Yeah I also really really want to not have photos falling into the gutter, or god forbid, cross it.

by BignoseTW | 01 Jun 2009 15:06 | Taipei, Taiwan | | Report spam→
This is something I’ve never seen before that might be called the “comic book photobook”: The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan With Doctors Without Borders.

by Max Pasion | 01 Jun 2009 22:06 (ed. Jun 1 2009) | Bayonne, NJ, United States | | Report spam→

So finally this was translated in English. The French versions were a big commercial success. I am very happy that these books get a second life in English because Didier Lefèvre (he was is on LS), was one of my very best friends. He passed away way too soon… We were both at VU agency together, came to visit here in Cambodia in October 2005 to do a story on HIV/AIDS, and he was one of the gentlest, upright and funny persons I know. Really a GOOD guy. You can really have a clue as to who he was through these books.

by [former member] | 01 Jun 2009 22:06 | Phnom Penh, Centre of the Univ, Cambodia | | Report spam→
Thanks for the heads up on the phocomic book

by Imants | 01 Jun 2009 23:06 | "The Boneyard 017º", Australia | | Report spam→
At first I thought that the photographer is someone in his 20s, as I’m fooled by the comic book format of the book. It is indeed a novel way of presenting photography, and based on the reviews as well as it’s commercial impact, a very successful one. I just bought a copy from Amazon.com.

by Max Pasion | 02 Jun 2009 00:06 | Bayonne, NJ, United States | | Report spam→

I really like Geert Van Kesteren’s Why Mister Why layout.

Also “Cycles” by Illka Uimonen : very simple and pure design, almost no text.

More recently, “Places we live”, by J Bendiksen. I find it fascinating that you can “re-build” each interior by assembling each of the four spreads into a square.

I find that few photo books have this tactile feel that many books for children have.

Jim Goldberg’s “Raised by Wolves” is also innovative even if it’s obvious it was designed in the 1990’s.

Dayanita Singh’s “Sent a letter”, for the format of the books and the sequencing.

August Sander’s People of the 20th Century : the design in itself is plain but I find it absolutely fascinating to be able to delve into Sander’s concept and oeuvre with each of the seven volumes.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, but I would really like to see Brodovitch’s Ballet as well as Paris by Moi Ver

by Py Racine | 02 Jun 2009 12:06 | Rennes, France | | Report spam→
difficult to say the ‘best’…especially ‘ever’…but for me anyway, aside from ‘The Map’ by Kikuji Kawada, which is simply ground breaking and still has me hovering above my shoes years later; in terms of ‘design-meets-content, content-meets-design’ (in the perfect synthesis – where neither really matters, where both blur, cuz they’re one and the same thing)…I would have to say ‘Fait’ by Sophie Ristelhueber (1992)….super rare to find, but definite ‘marks/scars on the earth’ too.
And, double page spreads, throughout most of it….bled, utterly bled…gutted brilliantly in the middle….sliced.

some of her amazing work


by Olivier Pin-Fat | 02 Jun 2009 13:06 | | Report spam→
also “Evidence” by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel


by Olivier Pin-Fat | 02 Jun 2009 13:06 | | Report spam→
Mine Fields by Bill Burke -1995, diary, scrap book, history… comes with insert of replica of diary notebook from his trip (to Cambodia). The end papers ares stills grabbed from Apocalypse Now.


by Christopher Wise | 02 Jun 2009 15:06 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
Great ideas here….

by [former member] | 02 Jun 2009 16:06 | | Report spam→
Antonin Kratochvil’s vanishing, it’s amazing design.. The design company demo did oher books for VII and they are all great, defenately worth checking out..

by yusuf sayman | 02 Jun 2009 16:06 | new york city, United States | | Report spam→
Antonin Kratochvil’s vanishing, it’s amazing design.. The design company demo did oher books for VII and they are all great, defenately worth checking out..

by yusuf sayman | 02 Jun 2009 17:06 | new york city, United States | | Report spam→
Speaking of Bill Burke, “I want to take pictures” of course also comes to mind ! The concept which shapes the book is also great. Form and content are linked in an interesting way

by Py Racine | 02 Jun 2009 17:06 | Rennes, France | | Report spam→
at last this post has picked up. I’m with you my dear Oli. The Map and Fait are two mind-blowing photobooks, both photographically and in terms of design. and they rock the gutter!

by | 02 Jun 2009 21:06 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Tiane, you might enjoy Larry Towell’s ‘The world from my front porch’ in it’s book form, sort of like a scrapbook..but here is a mm piece about the work..http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essay/frontporch

and you can see some of the layout here if you go to ‘booktease’


by [former member] | 03 Jun 2009 14:06 (ed. Jun 3 2009) | New York, United States | | Report spam→

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Bangkok , Thailand
Imants, gecko hunter Imants
gecko hunter
" The Boneyard" , Australia
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
J-F Vergel, photographer J-F Vergel
New York, Ny , United States ( JFK )
BignoseTW, Videographer/Photographer BignoseTW
(Tobie Openshaw)
Taipei , Taiwan
Ed Leveckis, Ed Leveckis
New York , United States ( LGA )
Hernan Zenteno, Photographer Hernan Zenteno
Buenos Aires , Argentina ( EZE )
Max Pasion, Street Photographer Max Pasion
Street Photographer
Bayonne, Nj , United States ( EWR )
Sivert Almvik, Student Sivert Almvik
Trondheim , Norway ( OSL )
Matt Wright-Steel, Matt Wright-Steel
Texas , United States
Py Racine, Py Racine
Rennes , France
Olivier Pin-Fat, Olivier Pin-Fat
[undisclosed location].
Christopher Wise, Photographer/Designer Christopher Wise
Bangkok , Thailand
yusuf sayman, photographer yusuf sayman
Antakya , Turkey


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