I had no plans to do a best of list this year, but then someone on YouTube suggested I do something like that, and I said I’d think about it, so here we are…
In no particular order, and note that many links only go to YouTube, as I haven’t yet reviewed many of these… Speaking of YouTube, I made a sort of unboxing-ish video that will go live at 12:00CST on 1/1/2022 for no good reason. And If you came here from YouTube, Welcome!
(I’ll update this post sometime in the new year and show the video just to the right, like normal.)
If you came from Twitter, welcome to you too!
Now on with the show…
Best Zine: Jim Grey’s Vinyl Village (unboxing). What can I say about this that I didn’t already say in my review?
Best New Book that I Haven’t Reviewed (Yet): Rebecca Norris-Webb’s Night Calls. I’m a fan, and it looks like a good one…
Best for Remembering My Adolescence: Deanna Templeton’s What She Said
Best Childhood Reimagined (tie): Jona Frank’s Santa Barbara and Diana Markosian’s Cherry Hill and, yes, these were both unboxed in 2020… apologies.
Most Immediately Inspiring: Ninagawa Mika’s Acid Bloom had me out with my camera quicker than anything else (except maybe a sunrise/sunset). Great stuff.
Most Inspiring Book that Required a Fake Unboxing Because I Bought it Years Ago: Hiromix by Hiromix has had me out with my camera so often over the years. I love her work.
Best Diaristic 1990s Work Not From Japan: Anna Fox’s Cockroach Diary. Amazing, and right there doing sorta the same thing as Hiromix, et. al., except in squats in the UK, and without the selfies.
Best Reissues: the handful of Sophie Calle books from Siglio Press: Suite Vitienne is the only one I’ve unboxed yet… others are forthcoming.
Best Classic That I Don’t Know Why I Didn’t Pick Up Sooner: Jim Goldberg’s Raised by Wolves. An absolute classic, for a reason, and should probably really be seen in (authorized) exhibition form.
Best Thrilling/Validating Surprise (photobooks): Temper Books offering to send review copies of their books… (I bought two and received one review copy.) Lauren Withrow’s Somewhere at the Edge of the World was a standout, for me, and I guess Temper didn’t much like my (admittedly awful) reviews, as they didn’t send their fourth title as promised. Oh well. It was still really thrilling and validating to get the offer, and apologies to Temper (and to Noah Kalina, who recommended me to them).
Most Thoughtful and Humbling Surprise: Andrew Molitor’s lengthy review of my Eid al Adha zine.
Most Expensive: Garry Winogrand 1964… Was it worth it? Maybe? I got it for a good price, so… :shrugs:
–Honorable Mention: Todd Hido Excerpts from Silver Meadows, and I also found it for a really, really good price (and with a coupon), and still…
Best Easy-Reading Theory/Appreciation/Criticism: David Campany On Photographs. I don’t review books of this type very often, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Best Kids Book: Joel Meyerowitz, Seeing Things.
Best Book(s) Given to me by a Kid: Well, I shouldn’t call my niece Sarinah a kid… Anyway. She gave me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for Eid al Fitr. I read it that afternoon, then hit the library and read the six other books over the next week, then signed up for Peacock and watched all the films, one per day, over the following week. I’m maybe 10 years too old to have read the Harry Potter series as a young person; I’m 10+ years too young to have read it to or with my kids, if I had any of my own; it was a true treat and, yes, I cried when Dobby died. I’m not ashamed.
Thanks so much Sarinah!
Best Book Series given by me to a
kid Young Person who probably has no interest in it and probably won’t read it: J. R. R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, natch. With apologies to Sarinah for forcing it on her, and I realize that it’s too old and too slow for a twenty-first century person, and while it’s really really good, I totally understand if it collects dust or gets thrown into the Goodwill or Half Price Books pile.
Best New Camera/Most Validating Surprise (photography): the Minuta Stereo. Best new camera because just look at it! Most validating surprise because I was one of 10 people asked to test out preproduction copies.
–Honorable Mention, Best New Camera: the Nikon D780, which revolutionized my dslr scanning and massively improved the unboxing videos.
Best New-to-Me Camera: the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim, though I haven’t spent much time with it.
Best Remanufactured Camera (new to me): Mint SLR-670S and, no, I haven’t shot it enough either.
Best 50th Anniversary Reissue Box Set: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: The Ultimate Collection. 6 CDs and 2 BlueRays with new mixes, outtakes, studio jams, demos, and… wow. Great stuff. “Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for her Hand in the Snow)” in particular is a revelation… my only previous exposure to this forgotten classic is on the scratched-up vinyl copy of Live Peace in Toronto 1969 that I don’t play often enough, and the 2 minute, reverb soaked, Yoko, John, and jew’s harp version here is too short and absolutely breathtaking.
Best wildly hyped 50th Anniversary celebration thing: Get Back, the 6+ hour film of the Beatles rehearsing and recording Let it Be, cut together by Peter Jackson from many many hours of film made at the time, and (so far) only on Disney+… thankfully, I subscribed for The Mandalorian and stayed for all the Marvel stuff and whatnot. (I looked, and there’s a book… expect an unboxing sometime.)
Best OpenRCT2 Park: Evergreen Gardens by Alex. Yes, I also enjoy old video games… no apologies. Alex sits down for inside look with Brian Andrelczyk that may be worth a watch if you’re into that sort of thing.
Best Twitch Stream: the Andrelczyk Amusement Academy: very high level OpenRCT2 content from a real life theme park designer, with a strong focus on realism. Also Parkitect, if you’re into that sort of thing.
–Runner Up: MrLlamaSC…
Best OpenRCT2 YouTuber: Deurklink, of course, though also check out Brian Andrelczyk and MarcelVos.
Best Video Game that I Can’t Play: Diablo 2 Resurrected. Man, that looks great, and I wish I could play it… I bought it, Bootcamped Windows 10 onto my 2019 MacBook Pro… I can play it, but first I have to shut down, explicitly launch Windows, wait for the inevitable update, and then listen to the fans run full blast and watch temperatures climb to the high 80s C at low/medium settings… It got me installing Cactus and playing some 1.00 and 1.06 for a bit, revisiting some old toons in 1.13c and 1.14d, and briefly hopping back into my beloved SPF… I’m about ready to remove that partition and say goodbye to D2 once again. It’s sad, really. Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction is seriously the best RPG ever and it’s a shame that I have to buy (or build) a windows box just to play it. Huge thanks to Apple for killing 32bit support, and to Blizzard for not making a 64bit version or porting the Remaster for Mac.
Best series of posts on this blog (by titles only, really): my 5 part review of Lomography’s Fantôme Kino ISO 8 film. (Pro Tip: I got the best results with the Fantôme in Rodinal, 1:50, 8 minutes—as Lomography suggests—but at 63℉ and with only 1 gentle inversion per minute.)
And that’s about all the “Bests” I can think of… Now, as some thanks for reading this far, enjoy a baker’s dozen of favorite photos from 2021… Nothing scientific, no real reasoning or story. I searched my C1P22 Catalog for all images made in 2021 with 2 or more stars. There were 28 total and I kicked out just over half for being largely lesser than the remaining.
Let’s see… starting in the top row and going left to right, top to bottom, and only if you care:
- Nikon FM3a & 50mm f/1.2 ai with the aforementioned Lomo Fantôme
- FPP RetroChrome in the Holga 135BC
- 35mm Foma 200 loaded into a 126 cartridge and shot through the Agfamatic 200
- Lomography (Ferrania) F2 400 in the Lomo LC-Wide (in half frame mode, pretty much the only way I shoot it)
- Kodak Color Plus 200 in the Olympus OM10 with 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko and a Hoya +4 Macro filter (plus some overcooking in CaptureOne Pro to try and get something Ninagawa-ish)
- Fuji Superia X-TRA 400 in the Vivitar UWS
- Superia 400 in the Minolta Freedom Vista
- Lomo Berlin Kino in the 135BC
- Fuji Pro 400H in the Holga 120N
- RetroChrome 160 in the FM3a with the Voightlander Ultron 40mm f/2 (the new one with the scalloped barrel that focuses very close without an adapter)
- FPP Derev Pan 400 in the Holga 135BC… twice
- FPP Derev Pan 400 in the Minolta Freedom Vista.
Funny thing about that list… after my last time with the 135BC, I decided to sell it, but there it is in 4 of my 13 favorites for the year; I also decided to consider selling the 50 f/1.2 for lack of use. Maybe I should reconsider… Others are no real surprise. For being a Nikon guy, I’m really glad I bought that Olympus kit from Alex last year.
Happy New Year!