The Best Photo Books of 2007

From Afghanistan to the plains of North Dakota, affluence to homelessness, this year's books define photography's big world.

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-2007

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-2007

|| |---| | | © Sebastião Salgado/courtesy Taschen| | Salgado's "Dinka group at Pagarau cattle camp, southern Sudan, 2006." Click photo for more images.| Art on paper

In an art world where the price of an original print by an established photographer is beyond mortal means, photo books are the next best thing. And like prints, the finest of them only seem to increase in value. Go to eBay and you'll find dozens of out-of-print titles, monographs especially, selling for much more than their original price.

A photography book is its own unique medium, of course, involving aesthetic considerations beyond those of the individual images it contains. Its success is in the sum of its parts -- picture choice and sequencing, sizing and pacing, production values.This year's best books go way beyond monographs and photo histories. Publishers are taking more chances to catch the buyer's eye, and not just with big, elaborately packaged tomes. This year we saw everything from photographic board books, a format that brings back memories of childhood, to diminutive volumes that make a virtue of their preciousness. (One of these, Kadir van Lohuizen's 5x5-inch Diamond Matters, has a rhinestone embedded in its cover.) Even Aperture, which can always be counted on for cutting-edge photography books, has produced its largest volume ever, Richard Misrach's handsome, 17x24-inch On the Beach.

The most daring of these books come from smaller publishers at a time when many of the big names in the business have not only cut back on the number of photo titles they release but also become more conservative in the subject matter they consider. We sometimes worry about the economics of photography books, wondering how, let alone why, so many get produced. But with the remarkable range of offerings we have seen this year, we won't look a gift horse in the mouth.

-Russell Hart

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Daddy-Where-Are

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Daddy-Where-Are

*Daddy, Where Are You? By Tierney Gearon*SteidlDangin;144 pages;more than 70 photographsAn image from Gearon's Daddy, Where Are You?
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Daddy-Where-Are

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Daddy-Where-Are

*Daddy, Where Are You? By Tierney Gearon*SteidlDangin;144 pages;more than 70 photographsAn image from Gearon's Daddy, Where Are You?Tierney Gearon
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Daddy-Where-Are

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Daddy-Where-Are

*Daddy, Where Are You? By Tierney Gearon*SteidlDangin;144 pages;more than 70 photographsAn image from Gearon's Daddy, Where Are You?Tierney Gearon
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Daddy-Where-Are

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Daddy-Where-Are

*Daddy, Where Are You? By Tierney Gearon*SteidlDangin;144 pages;more than 70 photographsTierney Gearon
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

*Earthlings By Richard Kalvar*Flammarion;88 black-and-white photographs;$65
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

*Earthlings By Richard Kalvar*Flammarion;88 black-and-white photographs;$65Richard Kalvar/courtesy Flammarion
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

*Earthlings By Richard Kalvar*Flammarion;88 black-and-white photographs;$65Richard Kalvar/courtesy Flammarion
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

*Earthlings By Richard Kalvar*Flammarion;88 black-and-white photographs;$65Richard Kalvar/courtesy Flammarion
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

*Earthlings By Richard Kalvar*Flammarion;88 black-and-white photographs;$65A Richard Kalvar image, Oise, France, 1989.Richard Kalvar/courtesy Flammarion
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Earthlings-By-Ri

*Earthlings By Richard Kalvar*Flammarion;88 black-and-white photographs;$65Richard Kalvar/courtesy Flammarion
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Stylist-The-Int

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Stylist-The-Int

*Stylist: The Interpreters of Fashion Text by Anna Wintour and Sarah Mower*Rizzoli;250 pages;more than 600 color and black-and-white photographs
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

*Ralph Lauren*Rizzoli;512 pages;900 illustrations;regular edition: $135;deluxe edition: $400
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

*Ralph Lauren*Rizzoli;512 pages;900 illustrations;regular edition: $135;deluxe edition: $400A Bruce Weber image shot in 1983.
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

*Ralph Lauren*Rizzoli;512 pages;900 illustrations;regular edition: $135;deluxe edition: $400
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

*Ralph Lauren*Rizzoli;512 pages;900 illustrations;regular edition: $135;deluxe edition: $400A 2005 photo by Carter Berg.
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

*Ralph Lauren*Rizzoli;512 pages;900 illustrations;regular edition: $135;deluxe edition: $400
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

*Ralph Lauren*Rizzoli;512 pages;900 illustrations;regular edition: $135;deluxe edition: $400
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Ralph-Lauren-Ri

*Ralph Lauren*Rizzoli;512 pages;900 illustrations;regular edition: $135;deluxe edition: $400
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

*Finding Grace: The Face of America's Homeless By Lynn Blodgett*Palace Press; 136 pages;140 black-and-white photographs;$55
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

*Finding Grace: The Face of America's Homeless By Lynn Blodgett*Palace Press; 136 pages;140 black-and-white photographs;$55Lynn Blodgett/courtesy Palace Press
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

*Finding Grace: The Face of America's Homeless By Lynn Blodgett*Palace Press; 136 pages;140 black-and-white photographs;$55Lynn Blodgett/courtesy Palace Press
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

*Finding Grace: The Face of America's Homeless By Lynn Blodgett*Palace Press; 136 pages;140 black-and-white photographs;$55Lynn Blodgett/courtesy Palace Press
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

*Finding Grace: The Face of America's Homeless By Lynn Blodgett*Palace Press; 136 pages;140 black-and-white photographs;$55Lynn Blodgett/courtesy Palace Press
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

*Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota By Jim Dow*Center for American Places/North Dakota Museum of Art;224 pages;more than 180 photographs;$35
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

*Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota By Jim Dow*Center for American Places/North Dakota Museum of Art;224 pages;more than 180 photographs;$35Jim Dow
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

*Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota By Jim Dow*Center for American Places/North Dakota Museum of Art;224 pages;more than 180 photographs;$35Jim Dow
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

*Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota By Jim Dow*Center for American Places/North Dakota Museum of Art;224 pages;more than 180 photographs;$35Jim Dow
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

*Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota By Jim Dow*Center for American Places/North Dakota Museum of Art;224 pages;more than 180 photographs;$35Jim Dow
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

*Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota By Jim Dow*Center for American Places/North Dakota Museum of Art;224 pages;more than 180 photographs;$35Jim Dow
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Finding-Grace-T

*Finding Grace: The Face of America's Homeless By Lynn Blodgett*Palace Press; 136 pages;140 black-and-white photographs;$55Lynn Blodgett/courtesy Palace Press
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

*Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota By Jim Dow*Center for American Places/North Dakota Museum of Art;224 pages;more than 180 photographs;$35Jim Dow
The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

The-Best-Photo-Books-of-the-Year-Marking-the-Land

*Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota By Jim Dow*Center for American Places/North Dakota Museum of Art;224 pages;more than 180 photographs;$35Jim Dow