ICP Senior Curator Elisabeth Sherman’s Top 10 Photobook Picks

Mar 10, 2023

Looking for your next new photobook? Elisabeth Sherman, ICP's new Senior Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Collections, shares what's on her shelf at home, from well-worn favorites to books she can't wait to read next. Read on for the full list and insights from Elisabeth on select titles. Visit us in person at 79 Essex Street to find these titles, or shop Elisabeth's picks in the ICP online store here.


Kimowan Metchewais: A Kind of Prayer, (Aperture) 

A Kind of Prayer is an exploration of Indigenous identity and community, as seen through the photography and multi-media work of the late Cree artist Kimowan Metchewais.


Darrel Ellis (Visual AIDS, New York/D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers) 

This monograph provides the most comprehensive account of the artist to date, including 80 plates that chart his development from figurative painting to photographic experimentation and his later preoccupation with self-portraiture.


Berenice Abbott: Portraits of Modernity (Fundación Mapfre/D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers) 

A definitive volume on legendary photography Berenice Abbott, presenting her portraits, photographs of the city, and scientific photographs.


Black Archives: A Photographic Celebration of Black Life, Renata Cherlise (Ten Speed Press/Penguin Random House) 

Black Archives collects images that tell compelling and joyful stories of everyday life and shed light on Black culture’s enduring generational influence. 


Dana Claxton (Steidl / Scotiabank Photography Award, Toronto/D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers) 

This book brings together work by Dana Claxton, an artist and filmmaker, alluding to the legacy of colonialism while also celebrating the resurgence of First Nation presence and identity.


Open City, Teju Cole (Penguin Random House) 

In this haunting novel about identity and dislocation, a young Nigerian doctor named Julius wanders the streets of Manhattan, reflecting on his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past, encountering a range of characters who will provide insight into his journey.


In the Black Fantastic, Ekow Eshun (MIT Press/Penguin Random House) 

Gathering imagery from across the African diaspora, including work by Kara Walker, Chris Ofili, and Ellen Gallagher and from groundbreaking films like Daughters of the Dust and Get Out, In the Black Fantastic embraces the mythic and speculative to explore Black culture at its most imaginative, ambitious, and politically urgent.


Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, Helen Molesworth (Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston/Yale University Press) 

A singular reexamination of the legendary college that was a major incubator of the arts in midcentury America, and the work that was produced by those who spent time there, including instructors Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham, and students Ruth Asawa, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly.


We Cry in Silence, Smita Sharma (FotoEvidence) 

From ICP alumnus Smita Sharma, We Cry in Silence is a multi-year investigation of cross-border trafficking of minor girls in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.


Available Light, Zoe Leonard (Ridinghouse / Dancing Foxes Press / D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers) 

Zoe Leonard poses fundamental question about the nature of sight and photography in this publication, which focuses on Leonard's use of site specific camera obscuras alongside a body of work consisting of gelatin silver photos of the sun.