Daniel Boetker-Smith’s Favorite Book from 2019

The Eighth Day by Gao Shan.   Published by Imageless.

With so many photobooks being produced each year the ones that stand out for me these days are those that overflow with authenticity. Self-taught Gao Shan's wonderfully simple tale of his adoption (at eight days old) and the exploration of his relationship with his adoptive mother is visually striking, bold, and feels at once tender, raw, and funny. The visual language of this young Chinese photographer is incredibly contemporary whilst never wandering far from the family home. The outcome is part-visual diary, part-portrait, and part-self-portrait, and there are some amazing moments in this book that allow access into another lifeā€”into the complexities of a mother-son relationship. This is a smart and accomplished first book, unobtrusively designed by Guoxiao and publisher Liang Ni from Imageless, n exciting new photobook imprint based in Wuxi, China, who have been producing some exceptional books in recent years.

Daniel is the Course Director of Photography Studies College (Melbourne), Australia's oldest photographic education institution. He is also Director of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive, a not-for-profit organisation and travelling library of self-published and independent photobooks. www.photobookarchive.com www.psc.edu.au