Photo Novellas

Posted in Photobooks (general) by Alec Soth on January 25, 2010

I’d like to compile a list of quality photo novellas and photo comic books. Can you help?

28 Responses

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  1. Kristen Fecker Peroni said, on January 25, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Heroicomic by Joyce Neimanas
    Actually, she created three series working with the comic book format, but I believe (and I could be mistaken) that only one was printed in comic book format.

  2. Ron Jude said, on January 25, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Fools on Hills, by Till Gerhard. Published by Decathlon Books.

    If you collect books and zines, you must have this one. Fantastic.

  3. Kirk T said, on January 25, 2010 at 10:28 am

  4. Sebastien Girard said, on January 25, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Anotonio Caballero is a very interesting mexican photographer.
    He has made some photographs for more than 500 foto novelas between 1963 et 1978.
    An exciting book published few years ago by Toluca : Las rutas de la pasiĆ³n.

  5. Whiskets said, on January 25, 2010 at 11:24 am

    There is a companion book to Chris Marker’s La Jetee from Zone Books which is good.

    Not really what you’re looking for but there is also a book of film stills from Fritz Lang’s M which follows the film’s storyline and also includes incredible behind the scenes photos. All done large format. It was done by Hatier, the French publisher in 1990 I think. Not super sexy as a book in design or printing but the photos are amazing. I think they did a hardcover and soft edition.

  6. Kirk T said, on January 25, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Sebastiesn! Thanks so much. I’ve been looking all over for that link.

  7. John said, on January 25, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Comic book for a charity – 2 in 1 !!

  8. Kirk T said, on January 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I think this issue had one, IIRC

    Dark Horse Presents #152

  9. Kirk T said, on January 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Nyoka the Jungle Girl was one from ’80s that used film stillls from a movie in the ’40s to tell a story.

  10. Kirk T said, on January 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    BTW, this may help you. The style you are looking for, at least as it relates to comics, is Fumetti.

  11. James Luckett said, on January 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    two books by Arthur Tress:

    Shadow: a novel in photographs
    Requiem for A Paperweight

  12. bob black said, on January 25, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    shadowraith….check out the publisher The House Of Murky Depths

    by the way, for me, the original version of Moriyama’s NY 71…..he published/printed it himself by using a Xerox in midtown and literally photocopying the pics and stabling them together…i’ve seen one…i’ve also seen some of Araki’s xerox books…..

    they’ve been a big inspiration….the Moriyama Xerox ’71 kills….not even close to the same experience as the reprint…


  13. Kirk T said, on January 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I think I’ll pick that up myself, bob. Great suggestion.

  14. Aaron Dill said, on January 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Kind of a different category, but the “Knuffle Bunny” series of children’s books uses color illustrations over photo backgrounds to good effect.


  15. Alec Soth said, on January 25, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks for all of the great responses and leads. Anotonio Caballero looks like a treasure trove. Wish I could see the Fritz Lang book. Can’t seem to find it online. Sort of reminds me of the Red Balloon book I bought yesterday:

    And I love that John got the 2 for 1. I own that book (The Photographer) but haven’t had time to get through it. But I’m happy to know that Angelina Jolie loved it:

  16. john gossage said, on January 26, 2010 at 5:28 am


    Germaine Krull did a very cool one with Georges Simenon called “La Folle D’Itteville” a murder mystery illustrated pocket book with all set up pictures to follow the story in 1931. They offer a second book on the back cover that appears to have never been done.
    Sorry to say it’s very expensive these days.


  17. Kate P said, on January 27, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Another great children’s photo book, though slightly different format from the Red Balloon, is the Lonely Doll by Dare Wright. Glamorous, playful and a little bit scary.

  18. J said, on January 27, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I’m not sure if this is exactly what you’re looking for, but its a great photo-comic collaboration anyway:
    Emily Horne and Joey Comeau

  19. Ian G said, on January 27, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Little Brown Mushroom,

    You might like this. It’s not a book, not in print, nor photographic, nor a novella…but it could be all of those in your hands.

    I remember seeing a really wacky Buckminster Fuller book that you read forwards and then rotated and read backwards. It used photos and was certainly creative, though more non-fiction than a novella.


  20. Jan Vandemoortele said, on January 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    In the early eighties Belgian artist Marie-Francoise Plissart made several ‘romans-photo’
    ‘Fugues’ (1983)
    ‘Prague’ (1985)
    with – French – texts by her partner Benoit Peeters

    ‘Droit de Regards’ (1985)
    no text between the photod, but an essay by Jacques Derrida at the back of the book

    They’re in black and white and have a very ‘eighties’-feeling.

  21. Diran Sirinian said, on January 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Alec. I just picked up this photomagazine, printed in gelatin silver, which has a hint of photo novellas, no evident plot. Just wanted to share it and hear thoughts.

    scenes d
  22. Alec Soth said, on January 31, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Great find Diran. I love the fact that the images look so narrative but are missing the plot. Fantastic.


  23. Stuart Alexander said, on January 31, 2010 at 8:08 am

    More a collage novel than a photo roman, I like Graham Rawle’s book. ‘Diary of an Amateur Photographer’, London: Penguin Studio, 1998. 128 pp.
    ISBN 0670877751, 978067087775

  24. robert blu said, on February 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I suggest “The Tower Bridge e altri racconti fotografici” by Matteo Terzaghi and Marco Zuercher , Galleria Edizioni Periferia,

    The two authors collect old pictures from old album, markets, friends etc. Than they assemble a “story” which could be illustrated by thoese images.


  25. Diran Sirinian said, on February 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I found a lesbian photo novella published in Barcelona by Imprenta Layetana, en erotic literature editor in work between 1925 and the beginning of the Civil War. The title is number 2 of the Lesbos Library, “with fifty natural photographs” reads the dustjacket. The author: Lilian Edith. No stated date; I’d guess late 1920s.
    Take a look:

    ella y ella cover
  26. Marc said, on February 26, 2010 at 2:34 am

    Japanese photographer Eikoh Hosoe did two great little photo-novellas for kids with Betty Jean Lifton in the 1960s.
    ‘A Dog’s Guide to Tokyo’ and ‘Taka-chan and I’.
    There’s some extra info about ‘Taka-chan and I’ here

  27. Alec said, on February 26, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I really appreciate this info on Hosoe. Thanks Marc.

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