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Photo books to fall in love with, from the founder of Yoffy Press

25.08.2017 | Culture , Literature | BY:

“Selecting 10 favourite photo books is a nearly impossible task, so I limited the scope to photo books I own. Each of these books represent aspects of the type of book Yoffy Press strives to publish in terms of design, innovation, and quality.” Says Jennifer Yoffy Schwartz, who founded her Atlanta-based publisher Yoffy Press. The publisher specialises in transforming photographs into bodies of art, creating a visceral and lasting celebration of creativity. We asked Jennifer to curate a selection of her favourite photo books – see her list below.

Black is the Day, Black is the Night, Amy Elkins, self-published

I tell everyone who will listen about this book. Elkins takes a subject that seems impossible to photograph – the thoughts and memories of death row inmates and the overarching capital punishment system – and brilliantly does just that. The book weaves together these images with ephemera, text, and representative objects. The design also happens to be gorgeous.

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Beyond Maps and Atlases, Bertien van Manen, MACK

This book is beautiful, and fairly straight-forward from a design perspective. But looking through is immersive. It feels like a world I want to know. I am also in awe of the edit. There are several images that are imperfect, flawed. I don’t know that I would have been brave enough to include them, but they make the book sing.

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Silent Histories, Kazuma Obara, RM Verlag

I randomly came across this book in New York last spring. It appears handmade, with dozens of little treasures tucked between pages, creating an incredibly engaging viewing experience. I bought it, because at the time, Louie Palu and I were deep into concepting mode for his book, Front Towards Enemy (to be released in October). The interactive aspect of this book was something we were striving for. Coincidentally, when I met up with Louie in New York that weekend, he pulled the same book out of his bag, and said, “this is our inspiration”.

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Ametsuchi, Rinko Kawauchi, Aperture

I recently bought this book off a recommendation from a friend, so I haven’t had a lot of time to spend with it yet. I bought it, because of the strong recommendation, and because I love images of fire. But the jackpot surprise is the French folds! You can peek inside to see the negative image of the photograph on the outside page. Brilliant.

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Swamp, Chloe Sells, GOST

Sells photographs in Botswana and then completes the images in the darkroom by experimenting with layers, texture, and forms to create unique works. The book captures the feeling of wildness through full-bleed images and oddly trimmed pages filled with intense color and overlapping patterns. This is a great example of what Yoffy Press strives to do – create a book that marries design to content to create a new work of art that is so much more than just a series of bound photos.

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Tori, Masao Yamamoto, Radius

I adore Yamamoto, and I have a bit of a bird obsession, so it’s not surprising I love this photobook. But beyond the obvious interest, the design makes a large book feel precious, like Yamamoto’s images. Flipping through the pages feels like carefully sorting through a Box of Ku. You want to touch everything. You want to know what will come next. You want to look closely and examine every detail.

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Vanilla Partner, Tørbjørn Rødland, MACK

I have a difficult time articulating why I love this book. It just feels smart and sexy and fun and a little unsettling. Looking through it feels like watching a really great movie you don’t entirely understand.

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Tones of Dirt and Bone (Special Edition), Mike Brodie, Twin Palms/TBW (Special Edition)

The color palate of Brodie’s images is distinct and striking, and the book does a great job of keeping the viewer in the mood the project evokes. But the closer for me is the slipcase in the special edition. The train window cut-out? So smart.

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My Last Day at Seventeen, Doug Dubois, Aperture

The integration of a comic into this book blows my mind. It tells a story that is based on true events – a story within a story. It’s like insight comes in sideways. It’s a hint of something beyond our grasp, but it’s enough information to let the viewer feel it. Then there’s that last page…

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The History of Photography in Pen & Ink, Drawings by Charles Woodard, A-Jump Books

While not technically a photobook, it is a book about photographs, and it is a delight.

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