Karen Smith / OCAT Xi’an Contemporary Art Museum

← Back to Photobooks of the Year

2020 was a year like no other. It stopped many of us in our tracks. In researching recommendations for this look back at the best photo books of 2020, I was initially skeptical. It was hard to imagine anything had been published, and if it had, if the printing was complete, what of the distribution channels? The search was, however, rewarding. It revealed a modest number of books — I found six within my region — but that smallish number was more than compensated by the great quality and richness these volumes contain. To be sure, most were in production before the virus hit, and before the world was irrevocably altered. Yet, in these pages, these very sensitive authors show themselves to have captured some innate sense of the fragility of life, of our world. Their focus is nature, small lives, vast wilderness, and journeys both physical and metaphorical. There is a common beauty to their work. Tremendous care has been taken in producing each of their books. What struck me most is that these are not only the best of photo books by women photographers in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020, but some of the best books produced last year, period.

Fan Xi

Green Hair Monsters; Pearls

Leila Jeffreys

Des oiseaux (On birds)

Rinko Kawauchi

As it is


An Epistolary Novel

Xu Xiaoxiao

Watering My Horse

Zhou Yang

A Star Shines on the Hour of Our Meeting