Continuing our long-standing tradition of collaborating with some of photography's premier publishers, writers, photographers and photo professionals, photo-eye is pleased to present the Best Books of 2011. For us, it is always fascinating to witness the shift in trends and interests within the photobook community. This year we saw a peak of interest in crime related photography with Watabe Yukichi's A Criminal Investigation, Christian Patterson's Redheaded Peckerwood, and Deborah Luster's Tooth for an Eye on several lists. Two giants of photobook publishing -- Aperture and Nazraeli -- made a sizable impression on our contributors, as well as the relatively new publisher Mack Books. And 2011 proved that the self-publishing boom seems to be going as strong as ever.
When considering whom to invite for our annual Best Books list, we try to look at all of the diverse corners of the photography world. Of course, we have our regular favorites who are not only staples in the photography community, but offer an incredibly informed and diverse perspective for what makes a stand-out photobook. This year we have also included numerous independent publishers who are not only rising in popularity, but are also changing the focus of how they publish books.
Previously known for journal publications, Shane Lavalette added two new books to his imprint Lay Flat this year; Raymond Meeks teamed up with Silas Finch for their new Orchard Series; and Gordon Stettinius published Candela Books' already highly acclaimed Salt & Truth. We also invited an exceptional group of female photographers who have seen recent success and praise with their own publications including Anouk Kruithof, Susan Burnstine, Elisabeth Tonnard and Lauren Henkin. For us here at photo-eye, the annual Best Books feature is one of our favorite projects of the year; we hope you enjoy this feature as much as we do!