Nudes, Nostalgia and a World in Flux: The Best Photo Books of the Month

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Eniye, St Vincent and the GrenadinesPhotography by Alexandra Leese

From the packed dancefloors of 80s Ibiza to the deserted streets of 2020 New York, we round up December’s best photography releases

Me+Mine by Alexandra Leese, published by Antenne Books

In her new zine, Me+Mine, Alexandra Leese offers a fresh perspective on the female nude. Using just a webcam, the photographer captured 44 women from all over the world, shot in the comfort of their own homes. The result was a dreamy and diverse tribute to womanhood, entirely free from the objectifying constraints of the male gaze. “It became a space for me to be able to give the women involved a chance to feel empowered, beautiful and safe,” she told AnOther last month. “[I hope to] inspire others to feel this way too.”

New Queer Photography by Benjamin Wolbergs, published by Verlag Kettler

Who are the breakout photographers of the 21st century? This carefully curated book attempts to answer this question by spotlighting some of the most exciting new names in queer photography. As well as mixing both well-established and lesser-known talent, it also combines a varied array of photographic styles – from traditional portraits and documentary shoots, to fine art and abstract imagery.

IBIZA ’89 by Dave Swindells, published by IDEA

“It was easy to believe that almost anything was possible in Ibiza in 1989,” photographer Dave Swindells told AnOther last month. His book, Ibiza ’89, is like a sweaty, sun-soaked time capsule, transporting readers to some of the most famous dancefloors in history, right before the chaos of the rave era. 

Proenza Schouler 2020 New York, by Proenza Schouler

Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez team up with artist Daniel Shea for this new book, which they’ve called a “love letter” to New York. Created during the pandemic, it serves as a physical document of an extraordinary moment in the city’s history, and is packed full of portrait photography and evocative street scenes. The featured images also serve as a showcase for Proenza Schouler’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection. 

Morocco by Ilyes Griyeb, self-published

In his new project, Morocco, Illyes Griyeb returns to his familial roots, capturing the young people of Meknès. Drifting through the realms of realism, portraiture and fashion photography, it’s a vivid portrayal of life in a swiftly changing North African city. “I don’t think of myself as a classic documentary photographer,” Griyeb told us last month. “I want to photograph the truth, but in a way that it becomes appealing rather than bleak.”

Jungle Dreams by Drew Jarrett, published by PARADIGM

Drew Jarrett spent much of the 90s shooting supermodels and carousing in the heart of the fashion industry. At the turn of the century, however, he found himself burnt out and in dire need of a new direction. So, after re-evaluating his passions, he packed up his camera and headed to Asia to find inspiration. The result was Jungle Dreams; a collection of frenetic, stirring images taken inside a remote Thai boxing gym.

Amen Break by Thomas Prior, published by Loose Joints

Street photographer Thomas Prior documents New York at the height of lockdown in this special edition, large-format newspaper release. The project, titled Amen Break, aims to capture the “tension and pain” of a city forced into stillness. A portion of sales will go towards New York’s largest community food bank, 9 Million Reasons.

Lola & Pani Studio Portraits 2015-2020 by Lola & Pani, published by Palm*Studios

For the last five years, photographer duo Lola & Pani have been inviting creatives from across the worlds of art, fashion and music into their stripped-back east London studio space. The results are now being released in a new photo book, which is being self-published in the same location. “We wanted to create a space where the image becomes solely about the person in front of the camera,” they told AnOther in an interview last month. “We like the pared-back honesty that portraits have when made in this traditional way.”

Animal Chronicles 2021, published by Oui Non Editions

And of course, with 2021 fast approaching, you’re probably going to need a calendar – and you’re unlikely to find one better than this. Featuring photographic contributions from Roe Etheridge, Maisie Cousins, Mark Steinmetz and Paul Kooiker, this is a celebration of furry (and finned) talent from across the animal kingdom. Diverse, bold, and truly inspiring.