Beautifully Briefed 12.23: The Winning Winter

We round out 2023 — how’d that happen? — with some items pulled from the stockings: PRINT on a few favorite books and two different photography contests that impress. (Plus bonuses thrown in, just ’cause.)

Books in PRINT

Book designer Daniel Benneworth-Gray brings us some of his favorite books on design published in 2023:

It’s that time of year when “stop asking for books, you have too many books, look at all these piles of bloody books” echoes around our house. My excuse for all this tsundokustacking: it’s professional research! After all, my job is just … book. Plus I have an untested but absolutely correct theory that books pay for themselves by acting as insulation and thus reducing your heating bill.

— Daniel Benneworth-Gray, PRINT

They act in that role here at my place, too. In any case, I agree with several of his choices enough to highlight them:

The Graphic Design Bible has won numerous accolades this year, and reminds us that despite . . . well, the internet, a well-edited, well-curated examination of a subject as diverse as graphic design benefits from book form.

Saul Leiter’s mid-century photographic genius earned him a long career, as proven by just glancing at the cover photograph on this latest tome:

Lastly, something I’ve added to my wish list:

Note: UK cover shown, ’cause it’s better.

It’s great that PRINT pulled this article from behind the unfortunate mess that is Substack and out into the light. Enjoy.

Special bonus #1: NPR highlights public libraries’ most-borrowed books of 2023, along with their always-awesome “Books We Love,” 2023 Edition.

Special bonus #2: The Guardian reminds us that, for younger readers especially, reading print improves comprehension far more than looking at digital text.

Fantastic Landscape Photographs

“2023 International Landscape Photographer of the Year Winners,” PetaPixel announces, and some of these are just wonderful:

International Landscape Photographer of the Year: photo by runner-up Andrew Mielzynski.

Interestingly, this one reminds me a good deal of last month’s Natural Landscape winner from Adam Gibbs. (Maybe birches in water are a thing; I don’t do trends.) Also, kudos to this black-and-white taken right here in Georgia:

Winner of the Aerial Award, a special category. Taken in George L Smith State Park, Georgia, by Jim Guerard.

Again, like last month, here are two beautiful shots from the same photographer highlighted:

International Landscape Photographer of the Year: third-place photo by Matt Meisenheimer.
International Landscape Photographer of the Year: third-place photo also by Matt Meisenheimer.

The International Landscape Photographer of the Year results are published in book form, which is great if you get the physical copy but slightly limiting in (their) website form. Nonetheless, check ’em out.

Fantastic Black and White Photographs

“The incredible winning images,” PetaPixel announces of reFocus, a black-and-white-only photography competition, split into both professional and non-professional categories. (PetaPixel seems to have taken the flame that DPReview used to represent and run with it, thankfully.)

Overall professional winner Bill Pack and a small Mercedes:

reFocus Awards Black & White Photo Contest: “CarScape” by Bill Pack.

“Sensual” might be an understatement there. Meanwhile, there seem to be some overlap between categories, but when you can capture action like these two, maybe they just wanted to make room for both:

reFocus Awards Black & White Photo Contest: Oddly-filed Domestic Animals winning photo by David Zlotky.
reFocus Awards Black & White Photo Contest: Event winner from Laura Thomson.

Wow. Meanwhile, there are landscapes and architecture, too:

reFocus Awards Black & White Photo Contest: Winner, landscape (non-professional) by Thomas de Franzoni.
reFocus Awards Black & White Photo Contest: Eyes of the Sea, winning architecture by Hilda Champion.

We round out this list with something shot on film:

reFocus Awards Black & White Photo Contest: Winner of the film/analog non-professional category by Shinya Ichikawa.

Wonderful. See all the winners at the (thankfully well-presented) reFocus website.

Leica’s 2022 version of the M6 film camera, a bargain at $5695. (Lens not included.)

Special Bonus #3: Speaking of film, Nick Heer reminds us why he’s a daily read: The Neverending Film Photography ‘Resurgence’. (The Leica is relevant, not just me taking an opportunity to post a photograph of their awesome gear.)

Foreword . . . On Towards 2024

The end of 2023 hasn’t seen as much posting as I’d like, something I’m hoping to change once the new year gets underway — starting with the annual list of my favorite book covers of the year mid-January. Meanwhile, wishing you and yours all the best in 2024 and beyond.