Fine Art Photography Daily

The Lenscratch Favorite Books of 2022


©Aline Smithson, Sweet Dreams

Today we feature some of our Favorite Books of 2022 (and a few from previous years). I’m not a big believer in the word BEST as that definition is different for everyone. There were so many spectacular books created this year but we had to narrow it down to some favorites. We invited out staff and the 2022 Lenscratch Student Prize winners to share there picks.

In case you aren’t aware, we have done a ton of articles on photo book publishers with our Publisher’s Spotlight effort (ongoing). One note: we need more women publishers!

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©Justine Kurland, Scumb Manifesto

Artist Justine Kurland produced a most brilliant, brave, and inspiring offering in 2022 that totally blew me away. SCUMB Manifesto, published by MACK Books was inspired by Valerie Solanas’ iconoclastic feminist tract SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto. “SCUMB Manifesto introduces us to photographer Justine Kurland’s own uncompromising initiative: the Society for Cutting Up Men’s Books. This volume presents a collection of collages Kurland created by cutting up and reconfiguring photobooks by male artists, as she went through the process of purging her own library of roughly 150 books by straight white men that have monopolized the photographic canon.”


©Stephen L. Starkman, The Proximity of Mortality

This year, photographer Stephen L. Starkman was given a life changing diagnosis. That revelation was the impetus to chronicle his cancer journey from both the reality of hospital rooms and treatments, but also from the internal perspective of seeing and appreciating this thing called life. The book is titled The Proximity of Mortality: A Visual Artist’s Journey Through Cancer.

Linda Alterwitz, Lenscratch Art + Science Editor


©Richard Misrach, Notations

My favorite book of the year is Richard Misrach’s Notations, published by Radius.
The series of works are beautiful, playful, and thought provoking. It helped me free my thoughts out of the pandemic mindset

Daniel George, Lenscratch Submissions Editor


©scott b.davis, Sonora

Sonora, by scott b. davis (Radius, 2022)

One of my favorite meditative practices is to be alone, outdoors, far removed from anyone. Wandering with my thoughts. I was happy to find that the photographs of scott b. davis’s Sonora evoke a similar sensation. I can feel the quiet of the desert from my comfy chair—and admire the wonders of land, sky, and light.

Michael Honegger, European Content Editor



My favorite books of 2022 are Rhiannon Adam‘s, Big Fence/Pitcairn Island, published by Blow Up Press, which I adored for its clever design and thought provoking exposition.


©Stephen Starkman, The Proximity of Morality cover

And Stephen Starkman’s The Proximity of Mortality for his remarkable courage and vision as he tries to capture the light ahead, no matter how dim.

Sara Bennett, Lenscratch Content Editor


©Thomas Holton’s, The Lams of Ludlow Street (Kehrer Verlag 2015)

I didn’t choose a photo book from 2022 because the book I kept returning to this year is Thomas Holton’s, The Lams of Ludlow Street (Kehrer Verlag 2016). I interviewed Holton for Lenscratch’s Photographers on Photographers and, as I said, “Whenever I go out shooting in small spaces, I pull his book off my shelf and try to figure out how he does what he does so well.” His sense of composition and his eye for light are incredible.

 Drew Leventhal, Lenscratch Student Prize Winner

Stacy-Kranitz-As-It-Was-Given-To-Me_0e71a7c5-2bc2-4c48-9a68-0b2e6aa18fbb_2048x As It Was Give(n) To Me by Stacy Kranitz, Twin Palms Publishers

Kranitz’s book is a masterpiece, a massive tour through contemporary Appalachia. When it arrived on my doorstep I immediately spent the rest of the day engrossed in its pages. The next day the same thing, and the day after and the day after. There are (so) many images in this book that will floor you, that will make you laugh or tug at your stomach. But the real reason I keep pulling this book off the top shelf is that it offers a guide for the future of documentary photography. These are images made deeply, felt deeply. They are ethnographic in the best sense of the word: thick descriptions of the world and all it offers. As somebody making work in a similar manner, As It Was Give(n) To Me is my roadmap. In this impressive debut monograph, Kranitz displays all of the investment, doubt, empathy, and beauty that make long-term photography projects worth doing.

Barbara Ciurej, Lenscratch Content Editor


©Johnathan Blaustein, Extinction Party

Jonathan Blaustein’s Extinction Party was new to my library, although published in 2020 by Yoffy Press. His many projects investigating consumption in America are woven into a narrative that is serious, funny,  appealing and appalling. If you’ve ever found yourself in a Party City wondering  just how many lumberjack themed party goods the world needs, this book is for you!

Lindsay Lochman, Lenscratch Content Editor


©Zhang Kechun, The Yellow River

An impulse purchase from a single image I saw. Proved to be an entire world to contemplate.
Zhang Kechun,The Yellow River,  published by Jiazazhi Press   .张克纯

©Tom Jones, Here We Stand

This was both a complicated, inspiring exhibition and a enlightening catalogue:
Tom Jones,  Here We Stand  
Exhibition Catalog in conjunction with Here We Stan. Curated By Graeme Reid with Contributions from Jane L. Aspinwall, PhD., Henning Garvin and Molli Ann Pauliot

Alice Fall, 2022 Lenscratch Student Prize Winner

©Alesandra Sanguinetti, Some Say Ice

Alesandra Sanguinetti‘s Some Say Ice (MACK, 2022) has been an especially powerful and resonant book to me over the past few months. In Some Say Ice, Sanguinetti works in response to Wisconsin Death Trip, a book of photographs made by Charles Van Schaick in the late 1800s.Through her dark, dream-like atmospheric construction, Sanguinetti alludes to themes of death, myth, the invisible, and the imaginary, photographing in a space that moves constantly between reality and unreality.

Mackenzie Calle, 2022 Lenscratch Student Prize Winner

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©Zora Murff, True Colors

Zora J. MurffTrue Colors (or, Affirmations in a Crisis), published by Aperture, is a deeply intimate narrative of survival situated amongst the backdrop of Black patriotism and divisive structures in the United States. The original photography is an incredibly personal diary of reflection, deepened by the artist’s past work as a social worker, while the appropriated imagery and text navigate the history and continued impact of institutional racism on Black lives. The bold yet nuanced design elements are visually engaging and symbolic, historical, and show an appreciation for other Black artists and writers. I was hooked from the cover, a long exposure of flowers, which I later found out is an honorific to Ahmaud Arbery. From the construction to the powerful content, it is a gorgeous read that I refer to constantly.

Emily Wall, Lenscratch Content Editor

Knit Club

©Carolyn Drake, Knit Club

This year I got my hands on Carolyn Drake’s photobook, Knit Club. The colors immediately drew me in but the themes of domesticity and community turned on their heads have kept me going back to the book.

 Galina Kurlat, Lenscratch Content Editor


©Meghann Riepenhoff’, Ice

My favorite book in 2022 is Meghann Riepenhoffs Ice, published by Radius Books; this beautifully designed monograph features new and enigmatic cyanotypes of ice crystal formations made in far-reaching bodies of water. As always,Meghann’s work is a collaboration between herself, the landscape, and time. These pages are filled with subtle color variations and lush textures, accompanied with text by the activist writer Rebecca Solnit.

Marisa Lucchese, Lenscratch Content Editor


Summer’s Almost Gone by Alex Llovet

I was introduced to Summer’s Almost Gone this fall during my last semester of college, and my peers and I quickly fell in love with not just the images but the structure as well. The use of gate folds and poetry within the book perfectly encapsulates the desperate attempt to hold onto fragments of memories. Llovet’s exploration of the passage of time through this book is deeply personal, and yet, it is something any of us can connect to; it felt especially poignant to me during this period of immense change in my life.

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