Some things I bought this year

I've seen quite a few end of year lists popping up over the last week. There are the best books of 2009 lists, the more eclectic lists of "stuff I liked this year", the lists of books acquired in 2009 and many more. I think you need to be a breakfast-lunch-and-dinner kind of consumer of photo-books to post a best books of 2009 list and having just discovered a great many fantastic-looking ones through the future of photo-books discussion, I am not going to stick my neck out on that one.  Instead in order to jump onto the list-mania bandwagon, I am going to go with a list of a few of the photo items that I bought in 2009 (these weren't necessarily made in 2009). Looking back over the year, I think this is an interesting way of seeing trends in the things that you gravitate to and also seeing how much money you wasted on things that you spend no time with at all.

Some photographic things that I bought in 2009

(Note: I am in a fortunate position where a number of books that come into my possession I don't actually have to pay for, so there are a number of terrific books that I discovered this year that won't make it on to this list)

Anders Petersen & J.H. Engström, From Back Home (Bokförlaget Max Ström, 2009)

This won the Author Book Award at Arles 2009. I posted a review a while back.

Akihide Tamura, Afternoon (M Light label No.1, 2009)

Spread from bookshop M catalogue, Akihide Tamura's 'Afternoon'

Although I just got this and have already posted about it, I get the feeling this is one that I will keep coming back to.

Ryuji Miyamoto, Cardboard Houses (signed, Bearlin, 2003)

Ryuji Miyamoto, Cardboard Houses

Beierle + Keijser's "Becher box": Jogurtbecher

I have already spent the best part of an evening with E deciding what images we are going to use in our Jogurtbecher grid. And I actually hate yoghurt.

Michio Yamauchi, Stadt (Sokyu-sha, 1992)

Naoya Hatakeyama, A Bird (Taka Ishii, 2006)

Naoya Hatakeyama, A Bird

OK I cheated, I didn't actually buy this, but this is probably the book that I have gone back to most frequently this year so it had to be included. Check out Jeff Ladd's review here to get an idea why.

Ikko Narahara, Pocket Tokyo (Creo, 1997)

Ikko Narahara, Pocket Tokyo

Eikoh Hosoe, A Butterfly Dream (signed, Seigensha, 2006)

Eikoh Hosoe, The Butterfly Dream

The extragavance of the year. This book was produced as a companion to the first edition of Kamaitachi. Hosoe presented it to Kazuo Ohno for his 100th birthday, shortly before his death. (As Michael rightly pointed out, Ohno is still around!)

bookshop M

Spread from bookshop M catalogue, Akihide Tamura's 'Afternoon'

One of the discoveries that I made at Paris Photo this year was the Japanese bookseller, bookshop M, situated right at the entrance of the fair. There is so much work to see on the walls that I sometimes find it difficult to find the time to spend with all of the books that are on show (and in the case of Schaden, to wade through the crowd of people parked in front of his booth).

But bookshop M's minimalist stand did catch my attention. They have an interesting model, as they are actually an offshoot of the design studio, MATCH and company (the Japanese do like to muck around with capitalisation), which is run by the extremely talented art directing brothers, Satoshi and Hikari Machiguchi. Their father, Tadashi, was a renowned designer in the 'golden age' of Japanese photo-books (1960s and 1970s), and so they fell into the cauldron of photo-books from an early age, growing up surrounded by design but also by inks, papers and printing techniques. Their design work really stands out in an increasingly crowded photo-book world. Despite their education, their designs do not feel like 'retro' throwbacks to the 1970s, but instead they manage to be contemporary and, most importantly, extremely well-suited to their subject.

If you want proof you will have to get onto the internet, as bookshop M is an online-only venture: another interesting aspect of their model. The website is very well put together (the best I've seen in this field), with short slideshows showing the inside of all of the books that they sell. Also they have gone the extra mile and translated the site into (very approximate) English, which makes the whole experience even better as you are regularly treated to moments of hilarity.

At Paris Photo I picked up Akihide Tamura's Afternoon, a collection of 23 beautifully simple and sparse landscape photographs taken between 1969 and 1989. In a numbered and signed limited edition of 700, this was a bargain for 35 euros ($33 online). An extra bonus is that the book is not officially published until December 9, the first time I have spent two weeks with a book that doesn't really exist yet.