For nearly two decades photo-eye has been selecting the best photography books of the year. In the past we sat around the table at Director Rixon Reed's home or in our Santa Fe bookstore debating for hours on topics such as each book's historical importance, how a particular title contributes to the expansion of our understanding of an important photographer's oeuvre or the nature and relevance of the book as object. The features or factors making a book the best for one person are not always the same for another. As the years progressed, the list of nominees and the stack of books to review in one evening made the task of narrowing down the list to a few titles almost impossible. In 2008, photo-eye decided to invite some of our favorite contemporary publishers, writers, photographers and photo professionals to assist us in this process. Their opinions reflect the diversity of the medium. This year's list of contributors offers up the aesthetic tastes of 27 contributors from Europe, the US, Japan and Mexico.
The evolution and shift of interest in the photobook community has come to rest heavily on self-published and indie books. These titles have shot a breath of fresh air into not only the photobook world, but into the art community as a whole. Self-published titles such as Rob Hornstra & Arnold van Bruggen's Empty Land and Maxwell Anderson's See You Soon make it onto several of our contributor's lists and showcase the diversity and creativity that self-published and indie titles have brought to the table. Several of our contributors are leading voices in this exploding new photobook world. Self-Publish, Be Happy's Bruno Ceschel, Indie Photobook Library's Larissa Leclair and curator of Publish It Yourself Laurence Vecten were included this year as representatives of this phenomenal movement. Even well-established photographers such as Alec Soth and Martin Parr give their nod to the self-publishing industry. We are honored to have such a diverse list of contributors reflecting this shift in aesthetic trend.