In 2009, photography grappled more than ever with the notion that the mobile phone, rather than the cheap digital camera, may yet make photographers of us all. It seemed apposite, then, that it was also a year in which old masters reasserted their importance with books that reminded us that the truly visionary are few and far between.
In many ways, the year belonged to Robert Frank. Now 85, the Swiss-born photographer was garlanded with a major American touring show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of his classic work The Americans. The catalogue, Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans (Steidl, £49.90), is, hands down, my photography book of the year. Complete with absorbing essays, personal letters - to the likes of Jack Kerouac and Walker Evans - and contact sheets that show off Frank's extraordinary eye for the telling vignette, it is a must for anyone with an interest in photography's past and present.