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The best photography books of 2013

From Miles Aldridge to Wolfgang Tillmans, this year's photo books provided sublime eye candy

There's something to be said for the weighty heft of a good photography book – colours pop brightly, gloss is extra-glossy and you can leave it around your room to impress your friends. You can't say that about your Tumblr feed, right? These books feature work from some of our favourite photographers working right now, from more iconic names like Craig McDean to first-time published work by younger stars like Mike Brodie. Dive in. 

I Only Want You To Love Me by Miles Aldridge

Aldridge’s acid-bright images of damsels in distress are perversely glamorous but weirdly ‘off’ – you always get the sense of some hidden danger lurking in the foreground. I Only Want You To Love Me was published in conjunction with his major Somerset House retrospective; if you missed the exhibition, this big, glossy book is the next best thing.   

The Canaries by Thilde Jensen

Multiple chemical sensitivity (or MCS) is 21st century terror at its finest: victims suffer from acute allergies to the many chemicals that appear in contemporary life, from car exhaust, synthetic fabrics, cleaning products and even perfume. When photographer Thilde Jensen was diagnosed with the condition, she coped by documenting her daily life and the lives of similar victims. It's a surreal, sometimes sad trip into a dystopia where the world can, quite literally, make you sick. 

Holy Bible by Oliver Chanarin & Adam Broomberg

The Deutsche Börse 2013 prizewinners are on wilfully controversial form with Holy Bible, which juxtaposes text from the Bible against brutal and bloody archival images from the Archive of Modern Conflict, an vast (and relatively little-known) collection of amateur and press photography. With verses like “As is the mother, (so is) her daughter” next to to an image of Palestinian child dressed as a suicide bomber, Holy Bible is bold, powerful and provocative. 

Gold and Silber by Peter Kaaden

The Berlin-based photographer draws from the work of Juergen Teller, Nan Goldin and Ryan McGinley to create raw, vivid and frequently hilarious (and nude) images of his friends and personal life. Gold and Silber is his first monograph, out on Pogobooks.

Dalston Anatomy by Lorenzo Vitturi

Formerly a cinema set painter, Vitturi has made a vivid, hyper-coloured love song to London's Ridley Road Market. With pictures and images of the collages and sculptures he made from materials salvaged from the detritus of the market, Dalston Anatomy is a feast for the senses. 

Amber, Guinevere, and Kate by Craig McDean

One of fashion's most iconic photographers meets three of the most iconic supermodels around – what could go wrong? This beautiful coffee table tome is a monument to McDean's stellar eye, which has followed the rise of Valletta, Van Seenus, and Moss through the early 90s and 00s. With text by Mathias Augustyniak of M/M (Paris) and author Glenn O'Brien, it's a great addition to any fashion obsessive's bookshelves.

A Period of Juvenile Prosperity by Mike Brodie

One of our breakout hits of international photography fair Paris Photo, Brodie made his name with this images of transient, train-hopping American youths. It's gritty work in the truest sense of the word – Brodie spent four years living on the fringe of society with his portrait subjects – but there's an elegaic, almost mythic quality to his work, like a photographic update of a John Steinbeck novel. 

Neue Welt by Wolfgang Tillmans

The Turner Prize winner spent four years travelling the globe to create the images for his latest work (its name translates to New World). It’s Earth through Tillmans’ eyes, with beautifully photographed despatches from locations as diverse as Buenos Aires, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. 

American Ecstasy by Barbara Nitke

After a succcessful Kickstarter campaign, Nitke's photographic ode to the Golden Age of pornography is finally here. With images culled from her 12-year stint as stills photographer for countless porn films, American Ecstasy is unashamedly hardcore, but there's a retro, almost quaint sweetness to its depiction of a pre-Internet porn industry. 

Heavenly Bodies by Paul Koudounaris

This brilliantly bizarre and macabre book from Thames & Hudson documents the bling-encrusted skeletons of supposed saints and martyrs, hidden away in the forgotten catacombs of Europe. Cosying up to a sanctified skeleton isn't for the squeamish (Dazed spoke to Koudounaris his unusual work here), but admiring their jewels is probably the next best thing.