My list for ‘My top 5 fav photobook for 2013’ is probably insignificant compare to the thousand of list from the like of New York times but I decided to go through with it anyway as a highlight on the interesting photobook that I manage to get my hand on from last year.


It was certainly difficult to list a ‘Top 5’ as most of the book that I got was bought according to my preference but a good photobook doesn’t only inform the viewer on its subject but also inspire them. I learn a lot from photobook and to be honest, I prefer to look at other people work instead of taking picture for my own photography projects. It doesn’t sounds good on my wallet but the thrill of waiting the photobook to arrive by post is really exciting (and flipping through the pages is a bonus)

Here’s is my Top 5 Photobook for 2013, the selection is based more on personal reason than artistic opinion but still it’s worth mentioning beforehand.

1) Junko Takahashi – School Days

School is a special place to most people and looking through the book really reminds me of my teenage years. Junko Takahashi -School days made it into my list simply because I enjoy looking through the nostalgic documentation of normal Japanese school life. Each of the picture portray the life of a Japanese high school student and most of the picture consist a mix of portrait and candid snapshot inside the school.


Junko Takahashi was literally an unknown photographer to me but her book can be bought from Amazon.

2) Andri Tambunan – Against all odd

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is probably one of the most well documented disease throughout mankind history. Andri Tambunan did a great job in documenting the effect of HIV among the people of Papua but what makes this book so interesting in my opinion is the amount of visual story within the book. He doesn’t only document the suffering of the victims and the family, he also managed to inform us the roots of the whole problem within Papua itself.


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Overall it is a complete book that is not only full of interesting visual but also well written and the well researched article is well written. The book can be sourced from the photographer website though.

3) Ian Teh – TRACES

China is a country known for Communism and extreme capitalism. Despite their major advancement in terms of economy as the world largest force in manufacturing, this has given a negative impact to its people and also to its beautiful landscape. China is not a country well known for its environmental effort and this has prompt Ian Teh to capture the other side of China which he has been doing diligently for the past few years. Its impressive on how the book was sequenced where the panoramic landscape picture is being complemented well with another few series from the nearby coal factory worker. There is a good narrative feel to it with a simple conclusion as a whole and yet, its feels poetic.

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Ian Teh photobook can be bought online. –

4) Kim Hak – UNITY

When Norodom Sihanouk, the late Combodia King died on 15 October 2013. It send a massive shock wave  throughout the nation. Kim Hak decided to document the funeral procession as the entire Cambodia mourn on the death of their beloved King. The historical event was capture well by Kim Hak and the consistent color throughout the photobook really adds to the atmosphere.

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I really like the photobook simply because of the well captured image of an important historical event of Cambodia.

5) Hajime Kimura – KODAMA

Hajime Kimura interest on the Matagi people led him to an adventure that saw him cycling all the way to the Northern Japan. The high contrast black and white imagery flow smoothly across the pages and the printing is probably one of the best in my collection. The Matagi people is probably one of the most unique existing tribe in Japan even though they are keen in preserving some of their tradition in this modern world.


The book is probably out of stock at the moment as its only printed in 500 copy but no harm in asking the photographer himself to see if he is planning for a second reprint.

Worth mentioning; Nozomi Iijima – Scoffing Pig, Shinya Arimoto – Ariphoto series, Hiromix – Hiromix Work, Aik Beng Chia – Tonight the streets are ours, Aji Susanto – Nothing personal.


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