The Greatest Photobooks

23 December 2016

SIG: Contemporary

The Winter 2016 issue of SOURCE, the Photographic Review, includes the results of a poll to select the greatest photobooks ever published. Responses from people with informed opinions on the subject were received from 112, made up of photographers, publishers, designers, booksellers, librarians, critics and curators. Each was asked to name ten books.

The 20 photobooks achieving the most votes included those shown. The list in order of numbers of votes is:
1. The Americans, Robert Frank
2. Evidence, Larry Sultan and Mike Mandela
3. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, Nan Goldin
4. New York, William Klein
5 equal. In Flagrante, Chris Killop
   Farewell Photography, Daido Moriyama
7. Ravens, Masahisa Fukasi
8. The Map, Kikuji Kawada
9 equal. Diane Arbus, Aperture Monograph
   Sentimental Journey, Nobuyoshi Araki
   William Eggleston's Guide
   For a language to come, Takuma Nakahira
13 equal. American Photographs, Walker Evans
    The Decisive Moment, Henri Cartier-Bresson
    Waffenruhe, Michael Schmidt
16 equal. Redheaded Peckerwood, Christian Patterson
    U-NI-TY, Michael Schmidt
18 equal. A Shimmer of Possibility, Paul Graham
    Sleeping by the Mississippi, Alec Soth
    Broken Manual, Alec Soth
    Paris by Night, Brassai
    Raised by Wolves, Jim Goldberg
    Ray's A Laugh, Richard Billingham
    Twentysix Gasoline Stations, Ed Ruscha
    The Afronauts, Christina de Middel

All these achieved 6 or more votes, with Robert Frank's The Americans attaining 27 votes.

There are a wide number of other books nominated by those who voted. The full list can be seen at