Tag Archives: Best Books

Irina Rozovsky, Untitled

Irina Rozovsky, Untitled

Irina Rozovsky

Untitled,
Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York, 2011
From the In Plain Air series
Website – IrinaR.com

Irina Rozovsky (b.1981, Moscow) studied French and Spanish literature as an undergraduate at Tufts University and received an MFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art. Her work has been featured in numerous national and international exhibitions and publications, including 25 under 25: Up and Coming American Photographers; 31 Women in Art Photography; Exposure at the PRC, the Magnum Expression Award, Photo España, and others. Her first monograph One to Nothing was published by Kehrer Verlag, and named on the "Best Books of 2011" lists by Alec soth and photo-eye Magazine. Irina lives in Brooklyn, NY and teaches at the International Center of Photography and the Art Institute of Boston.

Photobooks 2011: And the winner is…

The constant stream of best books of 2011 lists that have appeared in the past couple of weeks got me wondering whether there are any books that are getting all the plaudits. I have pulled together 52 lists in total (the final update to this post was made on 29 December), including my own, (the sources are listed at the bottom of the post). Some contrarians like Blake Andrews included books that weren’t published this year, but for this statistical exercise I have only included books that were published in 2011. After compiling the results (I gave 1 ‘vote’ to any book that was on any of these lists) one book has risen to the top of the pile with 19 votes. And the winner is…

1st Place (19 votes)
Redheaded Peckerwood, Christian Patterson (Mack)

2nd Place (14 votes)
A Criminal Investigation, Yukichi Watabe (Xavier Barral/Le Bal)
Illuminance, Rinko Kawauchi (Aperture)

3rd Place (10 votes)
Paloma al aire, Ricardo Cases (Photovision)

4th Place (9 votes)
Gomorrah Girl, Valerio Spada (Self-published)

5th Place (8 votes)
A, Gregory Halpern (J&L Books)

6th Place (7 votes)
Series, Enrique Metinides (Kominek Books)

7th Place (6 votes)
Photographic Memory: The Album in the Age of Photography, Verna Posever Curtis (Aperture)
A New Map of Italy, Guido Guidi (Loosestrife Editions)
The Suffering of Light, Alex Webb (Aperture)

8th Place (5 votes)
The Place we Live, Robert Adams (Yale University Press)
Salt & Truth, Shelby Lee Adams (Candela Books)
In the Shadow of Things, Léonie Hampton (Contrasto)
The Brothers, Elin Høyland (Dewi Lewis)
Permanent Error, Pieter Hugo (Prestel)
Rwanda 2004: Vestiges of a Genocide, Pieter Hugo (Oodee)
Magnum Contact Sheets, Kristen Lubben (Thames & Hudson)
Animals that Saw Me, Ed Panar (The Ice Plant)
Redwood Saw, Richard Rothman (Nazraeli Press)
The New York Times Magazine Photographs, Kathy Ryan (ed.) (Aperture)
First Pictures, Joel Sternfeld (Steidl)
Is this Place Great or What, Brian Ulrich (Aperture)
Visitor, Ofer Wolberger (Self-published)

9th Place (4 votes)
C.E.N.S.U.R.A, Julián Barón (Editorial RM)
Dirk Braeckman (Roma Publications)
People in Trouble, Laughing, Pushing Each Other to the Ground, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin (Mack)
Fragile, Raphaël Dallaporta (Editions GwinZegal)
The Unseen Eye, W. M. Hunt (Aperture)
Pontiac, Gerry Johansson (Mack)
Seacoal, Chris Killip (Steidl)
Koudelka: Gypsies, Josef Koudelka (Aperture)
Lang Zal Ze Levan, Anouk Kruithof (Self-published)
Iraq / Perspectives, Ben Lowy (Duke University Press)
History’s Shadow, David Maisel (Nazraeli Press)
pretty girls wander, Raymond Meeks
Believing is Seeing, Errol Morris (Penguin Press)
Mom & Dad, Terry Richardson (Mörel Books)
The Heath, Andy Sewell (Self-published)

10th place (3 votes)
La Creciente, Alejandro Chaskielberg (Nazraeli Press)
Abendsonne, Misha de Ridder (Schaden.com)
Chromes, William Eggleston (Steidl)
Films, Paul Graham (Mack)
Mexico Roma, Graciela Iturbide (RM Editorial)
Sunday, Paul Kooiker (van Zoetendaal)
On Thin Ice, In a Blizzard, Paula McCartney (Self-published)
You and I, Ryan McGinley (Twin Palms)
One to Nothing, Irina Rozovsky (Kehrer)
83 Days of Darkness, Niels Stomps (Kominek Books)
A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, Taryn Simon (Steidl)
The Bridge at Hoover Dam, James Stillings (Nazraeli Press)
Les Amies de Place Blanche, Christer Strömholm (Dewi Lewis)
Abstract Pictures, Wolfgang Tillmans (Hatje Cantz)
Photographs, Penelope Umbrico (Aperture)
Interrogations, Donald Weber (Schilt)
Conductors of the Moving World, Brad Zellar (Little Brown Mushroom)

11th place (2 votes)
Half Life, Michael Ackerman (Dewi Lewis)
Unmarked Sites, Jessica Auer (Les Territoires)
Candlestick Point, Lewis Baltz (Steidl)
A Guide to Trees for Governors and Gardeners, Yto Barrada (Deutsche Guggenheim)
One Day: Ten Photographers, Harvey Benge (Kehrer)
Tibet: Culture on the Edge, Phil Borges (Rizzoli)
War Primer 2, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin (Mack)
Eden is a Magic World, Miguel Calderón (Little Big Man)
The King of Photography, Tiane Doan Na Champassak (Self-published)
Double Life, Kelli Connell (Decode Books)
A Falling Horizon, Heidi de Gier (Fw:)
Subway, Bruce Davidson (Aperture)
The Latin American Photobook, Horacio Fernández (Aperture)
The Vanities, Larry Fink (Schirmer/Mosel)
In the Picture: Self-Portraits 1958-2011, Lee Friedlander (Yale University Press)
Color Correction, Ernst Haas (Steidl)
Astronomical, Mishka Henner (Self-published)
No Man’s Land, Mishka Henner (Self-published)
Afterwards, Nathalie Herschdorfer (ed.) (Thames & Hudson)
Celebrity, Kenji Hirasawa (Bemojake)
Playground, Jeroen Hofman (Self-published)
Safety First, Rob Hornstra (The Sochi Project)
Sochi Singers, Rob Hornstra (The Sochi Project)
In Almost Every Picture 9, Erik Kessels (Kesselskramer)
A Head with Wings, Anouk Kruithof (Little Brown Mushroom)
The Sea, Mark Laita (Abrams)
Pilgrimage, Annie Liebovitz (Random House)
Tooth for an Eye, Deborah Luster (Twin Palms)
God Forgotten Face, Robin Maddock (Trolley)
Street Photographer, Vivian Maier (Powerhouse)
Carnal Knowledge, Malerie Marder (Violette Editions)
7 Rooms, Rafal Milach (Kehrer)
Mark Morrisroe, Mark Morrisroe (JRP Ringier)
Burke + Norfolk: Photographs from the War in Afghanistan by John Burke and Simon Norfolk, Simon Norfolk (Dewi Lewis)
Hard Ground, Michael O’Brien (University of Texas Press)
As Long as it Photographs, It Must be a Camera, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs (Self-published)
Core Curriculum: Writings on Photography, Tod Papageorge (Aperture)
Swiss Photobooks from 1927 to the Present, Peter Pfrunder (ed.) (Prestel)
Photographs 2001-2009, Ken Rosenthal (Self-published)
Oculus, Ken Schles (Noorderlicht/Aurora Borealis)
Hurricane Story, Jennifer Shaw (Broken Levee Books)
Subscription Series 3, Mark Steinmetz (TBW Books)
Summertime, Mark Steinmetz (Nazraeli Press)
Dessau, Bill Sullivan (Kaugummi Books)
Nomad, Jeroen Toirkens (Lannoo)
Self Publish Be Naughty, Various (Self Publish Be Happy)
Chinese Sentiment, Shen Wei (Charles Lane Press)
Waikiki, Henry Wessel (Steidl)
The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott, David M. Wilson (Little, Brown & Co.)

So there it is. The meta ‘best of’ list. A few points worth noting. I have only included books that got more than 1 vote. There were 313 books nominated in the 52 lists that I used to compile this meta-list. It’s fascinating to see that there is so little consensus on the ‘best’ books of the year and that there is such a broad playing field. There are books on here that were printed in editions of several thousand copies and books that were printed in editions of less than 100. Some artists even managed to get nominated for several books produced in the same year. I’d like to leave you with a final recommendation: remember, these rankings are totally subjective, meaningless and even nonsensical. It’s hard to resist looking at these lists (although if I see another list at this stage, I will probably have to take my own life), but remember that there are hundreds of other books that are just as good if not better than these.

Sources: Brainpickings, The 11 best photography books of 2011; Sean O’Hagan (The Guardian), Photography books of the year 2011; American Photo, The best photobooks of 2011; Alec Soth, Top 20 photobooks of 2011; Rémi Coignet & Maria-Karina Bojikian, Livres de photographie: notre sélection 2011; Le Monde, Ouvrages de fête à savourer (Photographie); Jörg Colberg, My favourite photobooks this year; Tom Claxton, 2011 photobook highlights; Corey Presha, Favorite Books of 2011; Bridget Coaker, Photography Books of the Year; Yannick Bouillis, Favorite photobooks; Bart Peters, 10 favourite photobooks of 2011; Claire de Rouen, Xmas Top Ten; BJP, The best photobooks of 2011; Blake Andrews, Photography Books; Conor Donlon, Favourite Books of 2011; Sebastian Hau, “books that engaged me the most”; Larissa Leclair, The Best Books of 2011 (self and indie published); Willem Van Zoetendaal, Favorite Books of 2011; Rob Hornstra, Top Photo Books 2011; Marcel Du, Best of 2011 photobooks; Photobookstore, Our favourite photobooks of 2011; Elizabeth Avedon and friends, 2011 best photography books; NY Times Photo Department, Our Top 10 Photo Books of 2011; Time, Best of 2011: The Photobooks We Loved; Photo-eye (26 contributors), The Best Books of 2011; Laurence Vecten, 7 livres photographiques du moment, à feuilleter au coin du feu; Me, Another best books of 2011 list.

Before I sign off this post, it is worth remembering that there is also another way to cut this ‘best photobook’ cake and that is sales. This is how the list ends up looking based on sales (according to this article by PDN):

1. Simply Beautiful Photographs (National Geographic)
2. The Great LIFE Photographers (Little, Brown & Co.)
3. The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton (LIFE)
4. One Nation: America Remembers September 11, 2001, 10 Years Later (Little, Brown & Co.)
5. Portraits of Camelot: A Thousand Days in the Kennedy White House (Abrams)
6. In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits (National Geographic)
7. The President’s Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office (National Geographic)
8. Decade (Phaidon)
9. Edward S. Curtis: Visions of the First Americans (Chartwell)
10. Wonders of LIFE: A Fantastic Voyage Through Nature (LIFE)

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Related posts:

  1. Photobooks 2011: a view from Japan
  2. Review: Japanese photobooks of the 1960s and ’70s
  3. Another best books of 2011 list…

Naoya Hatakeyama: a book and an exhibition

My most recent trip to Japan in October happily coincided with Naoya Hatakeyama’s first retrospective at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of his work – and there is quite a lot of it – so I was curious to see how this exhibition, entitled Natural Stories, would be put together. The exhibition has now closed in Tokyo but opens at the Huis Marseille in Amsterdam today until the end of February 2012. To coincide with Natural Stories, Hatakeyama also released his latest book, Ciel Tombé, which I included on my best books of 2011 list, so I thought I would discuss them together here.

I will admit to being a little surprised at the selection of work in Natural Stories. Although there are ten different bodies of work in the exhibition, none of Hatakeyama’s work on Tokyo (Underground, River, Maquettes/Light…) was included. However, in the curator’s text on the exhibition she is quick to explain that this was a conscious decision given that Hatakeyama already had several solo exhibitions in Japan including a 2007 show at the Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura & Hayama which took the city as its theme. With that in mind the exhibition’s focus on the natural landscape makes sense.

The title Natural Stories is an intriguing one. I think it works best in french (Histoires naturelles), which I believe is the language in which the title was originally given. In french ‘histoire’ can mean both history or a story. The title evokes Natural History, stories about nature, and perhaps even a history of nature itself. The essay by the French writer Philippe Forest in the exhibition catalogue explores these notions in detail so I won’t dwell on them any further, but the title evokes the very different considerations that inform Hatakeyama’s photographic approach to the landscape. His landscapes are never ‘just’ landscapes: they are always the reflection or the echo of something else. For instance, although it depicts the limestone mines, the series Lime Hills deals with the transformation of the natural landscape to feed the insatiable growth of the city of Tokyo.

Although it is almost never directly present in this exhibition, the city is never very far away. In the series Ciel Tombé Hatakeyama explored the Parisian catacombs and their underground ‘fallen skies’ (ciel tombé). This series is the subject of Hatakeyama’s latest book, Ciel Tombé (Super Labo, 2011). For this book Hatakeyama has deviated from the standard photobook formula and asked the French author Sylvie Germain to contribute a short story based on his photographs . I won’t go into detail about this book as this post is already overly long, but I will say this: I first saw the work from Ciel Tombé a few years ago at a gallery in Tokyo. Several months later I had the opportunity to read Sylvie Germain’s deliciously strange and unsettling text. I had not seen any of the images since that first viewing, but as I read through the story the images appeared in my mind as if I had only just seen them. For the moment the book only exists in a deluxe edition of 200 which includes a print, a book of Hatakeyama’s photographs and another book containing Sylvie Germain’s text in French, English and Japanese, but there is word of a second edition in the making.

Returning to Natural Stories, for me the final two rooms of the exhibition were the highlight. The first of these rooms (pictured at the top of this post) contained Hatakeyama’s most recent work on his hometown of Rikuzentakata in Iwate prefecture, one of the many towns destroyed in the tsunami of 11 March 2011. Although very little time has passed, Hatakeyama decided to include a series of photographs in the exhibition that he took in the wake of the disaster. Many images have been produced of the aftermath of the tsunami, but most of these fail to connect beyond conveying the scale of the physical destruction. What stands out about Hatakeyama’s images is how matter of fact they feel. He has photographed these landscapes with the same unflinching precision, intelligence and quietness tinged with nostalgia as any other landscape. His photographs strike me as the most natural possible response to the disaster, but they must have been incredibly difficult to make given the deeply personal and tragic nature of the subject. These images are presented on three adjacent walls in the space, while on the fourth a slideshow of images taken between 2008-2010 in his native region is presented in the guise of a framed photograph.

The final room contains the companion series Blast and A Bird. Both series have been exhibited and published in the past, but for this exhibition Hatakeyama also chose to present Blast as a stop-motion video projected on a huge wall in the space. These photographs have a potent mix of beauty and brutal force which is heightened even further when animated in this way. It is an overwhelming end to the exhibition and one which resonates long after you leave the space.

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Related posts:

  1. Review: Naoya Hatakeyama @ Rencontres d’Arles
  2. Review: From Back Home (book and exhibition)
  3. Some more fuel on the photo-book fire

Another best books of 2011 list…

I have given up, caved in, admitted defeat. Although the world does not need it, the temptation was just too great, so I have gone ahead and compiled a selection of my favourite books of the year. Instead of giving you a top 10 I decided to humbly borrow the format of the Oscars and select the best books by category (as with the Oscars, my categories are suitably ridiculous). So without further ado, I bring you the the official eyecurious Best Books of 2011.

Best really good book

Enrique Metinides, Series (Kominek)

Most unlikely best book of the year

Yukichi Watabe, A Criminal Investigation (Xavier Barral)

Best self-published book that is too big for most bookshelves

Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, As long as it photographs / It must be a camera (Self-published)

Best spiral-bound book

Ricardo Cases, Paloma al Aire (Photovision)

Best sold out collectible book that gets damaged very easily

Valerio Spada, Gomorrah Girl (Cross Editions)

Best super-deluxe VIP book with all the trimmings

Naoya Hatakeyama, Ciel Tombé (Super Labo)

Best really weird book

Paul Kooiker, Sunday (William van Zoetendaal)

Best book cover

Takashi Homma, M2 (Gallery 360°)

Best book that I bought in 2011 but wasn’t actually published this year

Tadanori Yokoo, Tokyo Y-junctions (Kokushokankokai)

Best book of outtakes

Rob Hornstra, Safety First (Self-published)

Best book of pictures made using an archaic photographic process

Christian Marclay, Cyanotypes (JRP Ringier)

Best calendar for a good cause

Yuka Amano, Seiji Kumagai, Aya Muto & Hiroshi Nomura, One Year for Japan (Lozen Up)

I will leave you with a final word of advice: the number of best books of 2011 lists that have already popped up is proof that you should NEVER publish a book in December. You’ll be too late for all the best books lists and will be technically ineligible for the best books lists of the following year. You have been warned.

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Related posts:

  1. eyecurious books etc.
  2. Photobooks 2011: a view from Japan
  3. Photobooks 2011: And the winner is…

Aperture at SCOPE Miami

Colonel Soleil’s Boys, North Kivu, Eastern Congo (2010) © Richard Mosse

SCOPE Pavilion
Wynwood Arts District
NE 1st Avenue (Midtown Blvd), at NE 30th Street
Miami, Florida
(212) 268-1522

Join Aperture Foundation at SCOPE Miami! Now in its eleventh year, the art fair will present the best of cutting edge contemporary art in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. Aperture will be joining 80 international galleries to show our very best books and limited editions, including work by artists Penelope Umbrico and Richard Mosse.

Aperture recently published Penelope Umbrico’s book Penelope Umbrico (photographs), which offers a radical re-interpretation of everyday consumer and vernacular images. Richard Mosse was featured in Aperture magazine #203, Summer 2011. His work will also be showcased in the upcoming book Infra and the very special collector’s edition of the publication. His limited-edition print Débris, North Kivu, Eastern Congo, 2011 will also be featured. Look for these artists and much more fantastic work at Aperture’s booth.

The fair will take place from Tuesday, November 29, 2011–Sunday, December 4, 2011. Tickets are required.

Tuesday, 4:00 pm–8:00 pm (VIP and press)
Wednesday–Saturday,
11:00 am–7:00 pm
Sunday,
11:00 am–6:00 pm

Saturday, December 3, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
In Conversation: Penelope Umbrico and Brian Ulrich
Soho Beach House
[email protected]

Sunday, December 4, 2:00 pm
Infra: Richard Mosse Book Signing
SCOPE Pavilion, booth B31

Yael Ben-Zion

Life leads us down many paths, some unexpected, and where we end up isn’t always where we set out to go. Yael Ben-Zion was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Israel. She returned to the states to attend Yale Law School and pursue LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees. It was at Yale that Yael took a photography class with David Hilliard and her path was not a straight line into law. She practiced for awhile, but made the switch to photography because it felt right and she had stories she wanted to tell. She studied at the International Center of Photography and now lives in New York.

Yael’s first monograph, 5683 miles away (Kehrer, 2010), was selected as one of photo-eye’s Best Books of 2010 and for the PDN Photo Annual 2011. It was also a nominee for the German Photo Book Award 2011. She lives and works in New York.

In August 2000 I left Israel for the US. Time and distance have made me think about the differences between here and there, in terms of the mentality, sensibilities, and way of life. While every expat must have their share of figuring out issues of identity and belonging, in the case of Israel, the country’s existential anxiety and tight social relations complicate these issues even further. 5683 miles away I keep thinking of the tradeoffs.

5683 miles away is an attempt to “go behind the scenes” of a country that is known for its turmoil and consider the meaning of normal life in this charges place. In repeated visits to Israel, I have photographed interiors and exteriors, portraits and still lifes in order to capture the texture of Israelis’ day-to-day life, thereby examining my own feelings towards my homeland. Personal and intimate in nature, the photographs allude to the complexity of the political climate in Israel, and question its emotional and social consequences. As opposed to providing answers, however, the work offers a reflection on the way people spend their lives.

Milk
(The newspaper complete headline reads: “American Official: Syria is ‘Cruel and anti-Semitic'” (Haaretz, Sep. 18, 2007))























Ella with Protective Gear























Dancers























Laundry























Soldier






















Ceremony























Herzliya























Lea and Shimon
(Lea Michelson, artist, working on a sculpture of her former classmate, Shimon Peres)























Dough























Still Life with a Headless Angel






















Samson























Fence























Playground























A View from the Balcony























Black Iris

Best Books of 2010



Year three of 5B4 has now passed and it is time for my Best Books of the Year list. There have been several books that will wind up being life long keepers so here are my top picks for 2010.

1. Lewis Baltz: Works
Long awaited box set finally released and is better than my already high expectations.

2. For Now by William Eggleston
Just received a copy right in time for the list. Great edit by the film-maker Michael Almeryda.

3. A New American Picture by Doug Rickard
My biggest surprise of the list. This work will be discussed for years to come.

4. Foto en Copyright Volume II by GP Fieret
Volume II of Fieret’s life long passion for sensuous women and everyday life in The Hague.

5. Parse by John Baldessari

6. Quatorze Juillet by Johan van der Keuken
A few rolls of old film added with book smarts by
Willem van Zoetendaal equals a near perfect little book.

7. Broken Manual by Alec Soth
Soth’s approach to book-making is getting better with each title. My personal favorite of his so far.

8. Desperate Cars by Sebastien Girard
A follow up to Girard’s Nothing But Home and as good. Can’t wait for the third volume…

9. Mexican Suitcase: Robert Capa
A ton of material assembled into a fine form. What more do you want?

10. The Pond by John Gossage
It’s a reprint with three extra plates and a new essay. One of my all time favorite books so it needs to be on the list!

11. In Numbers Serial Publications by Artists Since 1955
Smartly assembled by Philip E. Aarons, Andrew Roth and Victor Brand.

12. Four Cowboys by Richard Prince
Only four images which aren’t his? And a best of the year?

13. 720: Two Times Around by Andrew Phelps
It’s not just because of my nostalgia for skating…

14. How Terry Likes His Coffee by Florian van Roekel
A fine first book. Looking forward to his follow up…

15. Michael Schmidt 89/90
Michael Schmidt, enough said…

What were your faves of the year?????

Best Books of 2010



Year three of 5B4 has now passed and it is time for my Best Books of the Year list. There have been several books that will wind up being life long keepers so here are my top picks for 2010.

1. Lewis Baltz: Works
Long awaited box set finally released and is better than my already high expectations.

2. For Now by William Eggleston
Just received a copy right in time for the list. Great edit by the film-maker Michael Almeryda.

3. A New American Picture by Doug Rickard
My biggest surprise of the list. This work will be discussed for years to come.

4. Foto en Copyright Volume II by GP Fieret
Volume II of Fieret’s life long passion for sensuous women and everyday life in The Hague.

5. Parse by John Baldessari

6. Quatorze Juillet by Johan van der Keuken
A few rolls of old film added with book smarts by
Willem van Zoetendaal equals a near perfect little book.

7. Broken Manual by Alec Soth
Soth’s approach to book-making is getting better with each title. My personal favorite of his so far.

8. Desperate Cars by Sebastien Girard
A follow up to Girard’s Nothing But Home and as good. Can’t wait for the third volume…

9. Mexican Suitcase: Robert Capa
A ton of material assembled into a fine form. What more do you want?

10. The Pond by John Gossage
It’s a reprint with three extra plates and a new essay. One of my all time favorite books so it needs to be on the list!

11. In Numbers Serial Publications by Artists Since 1955
Smartly assembled by Philip E. Aarons, Andrew Roth and Victor Brand.

12. Four Cowboys by Richard Prince
Only four images which aren’t his? And a best of the year?

13. 720: Two Times Around by Andrew Phelps
It’s not just because of my nostalgia for skating…

14. How Terry Likes His Coffee by Florian van Roekel
A fine first book. Looking forward to his follow up…

15. Michael Schmidt 89/90
Michael Schmidt, enough said…

What were your faves of the year?????