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Thursday, 29 May 2008

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"Buy what you can when you can"

Another way to look at this is that the list is, obviously and understandably, biased towards what is available on amazon.com (wasn't it precisely the point?).

Europeans interested in non-U.S. photographers may have more chance with their local on-line dealers. For example, the French fnac.com has a pretty good photography section. I assume you can find similar sources in most countries.

Order (or pre-order, to use Amazon's horrid phrase) Koudelka's Prague 1968 book, which is being published in the US in August. Stunning piece of work, which left me wondering how he avoided having his head blown off in the middle of shooting it. Use the Amazon link on this page.

"I'm off to work on the New Camera Recommendations page"

Mike, you rock!

Ever grateful,
robert e

Dear Mike,

Despite its title, isn't "The Americans" by a SWISS photographer, printed in SWITZERLAND?

Maybe some folks think that's kinda like recommending an American photographer; seems to me that's like saying Canada's kinda like the 51st State.

pax / Ctein

Mike,

I hope it goes without saying, but I'm just as grateful for what I've learned about books here as I am for the things you've taught me about techniques, approaches, gear and of course great photographs.

In fact, in the course of all the thinking about and looking for books that you've lately inspired, I've encountered a puzzling (to me) twist on reissues:

Steidl's third edition of Alec Soth's "Sleeping by the Mississippi" is scheduled for release on June 1 2008 and available for preorder from many US sellers, but this is a *paperback* with a new ISBN, like so: http://www.amazon.com/Alec-Soth-Mississippi-Patricia-Hampl/dp/3865217532/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212076922&sr=1-1

However, Steidl's website doesn't mention a paperback, but instead offers for sale a *hardcover* third edition with the original ISBN, published April 2008, and which I can't so far find anywhere else on the web.

http://www.steidlville.com/books/65-Sleeping-by-the-Mississippi-Third-Edition.html

Both versions are listed at $65. So I wonder what's going on, and whether in general paperback photo books are worth buying. By the way, as far as I can tell, a pristine first edition of "Sleeping" is worth more than ten times what it retailed for just four years ago.

"Despite its title, isn't "The Americans" by a SWISS photographer, printed in SWITZERLAND?"

No, not really. He was Swiss, but he emigrated to the U.S. in 1947. "The Americans" was completed with a 1955 Guggenheim grant that Walker Evans helped him get. The reason the book was first published by Robert Delpire in France (not Switzerland) was that he couldn't find an American publisher who would publish it. Following the French version it was published in the U.S. in 1959 by Grove Press, with a new introduction in English by Jack Kerouac. Ironically, early sales of the book were probably due more to Kerouac's popularity than to the pictures or anything else.

Mike J.

"So I wonder what's going on, and whether in general paperback photo books are worth buying."

robert e.,
I'm not sure whether the 3rd of "Sleeping" is going to be hardcover or soft, but I'd tend to believe the publisher's website over Amazon's. It could be a mistake either place, but you'd like to think the publisher both knows more and also pays closer attention to keeping its site accurate.

As far as whether to buy softcover photo books, bear in mind that my context is as someone who likes to HAVE the books, not as someone who's buying them for investment value. The problem of rising prices is more important to me because it makes used books inaccessible. I'd just as soon used books stayed cheap, so I could buy them.

That said, paperbacks do rise in value too. Take a look at the link above for Koudelka's "Gypsies." The $175 and the $300 copy are both softcovers. I have a distinct preference for hardcovers, but that's mainly because of how I like to hold books to read them.

I do have a fair number of softcovers, including (coincidentally) my copy of "Gypsies."

Mike J.

I found my (softcover) copy of _Gypsies_ on the street. I guess someone didn't know what they had. But their loss is my gain.

"No, not really. He was Swiss, but he emigrated to the U.S. in 1947. "The Americans" was completed with a 1955 Guggenheim grant that Walker Evans helped him get."

OMG, so you are telling me that after only 8 years in the US he is no longer Swiss? I can just hear my Scottish father who spent 46 years of his life in Australia being told that he was no longer Scottish because he emigrated. I am certain you don't mean to be but that comment is so offensive and the fact that you overlooked it is part of why some people believe this site to be US centric.

Cartier-Bresson and his wife had been visited to Taipei, Taiwan, also taked place
a local exhibition.

A photobook with combined the paint from HCB and his wife had been issued at Taipei, Taiwan through Taipei Art Museum. Amount: Only 300 books printed, not sold in local marketing, only spread on local liberary.


"OMG, so you are telling me that after only 8 years in the US he is no longer Swiss?"

Okay, I can tell I am just not going to win this argument, no matter what I say.

Mike J.

"bear in mind that my context is as someone who likes to HAVE the books"

Point (which I'm sure you're tired of reiterating) taken, Mike. While I did have mundane concerns along with the "investment" fantasies, you're absolutely right: the bottom line is that it's another chance to own a book I really like, regardless of cover material or resale value.

"OMG, so you are telling me that after only 8 years in the US he is no longer Swiss?"

I'm one of those "British by birth and American by choice" immigrants and have never thought this site US centric! To the contrary, I sometimes get a little miffed when Mike J. gets on his *Euro centric* left wing political rants!

It all depends on which filter you view life through.

Cheers,
Chris

The discussion of Robert Frank sent me to the Wiki, just to see what it had to say about him. He doesn't seem to me to be an American photographer, particularly, whatever his passport may say; he mostly seems stateless. But that may be one hair-split too many.

However, the Wiki did have an interesting quote from Elliott Erwitt about Frank:

"Quality doesn't mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That's not quality, that's a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy - the tone range isn't right and things like that - but they're far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he's doing, what his mind is. It's not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It's got to do with intention." (Elliott Erwitt)

There are lots of interesting aspects to the quote, but one of them is that a photographer as good and perceptive as Erwitt apparently has no idea at all about what Adams was up to.

JC

Even if this site was US-centric, so what? Really, did I somehow manage to unknowingly circumvent the requirement for a paid subscription to view this site, which, by the way, is one of my favorites? Evoking Bush and the Iraq war (the favorite tool of folks who already harbor chauvinistic contempt for Americans) as a means to criticize a list of photography books is beyond nonsensical…if you do not like it, go out and create your own list…share it with us, enlighten the provincially stunted!

Furthermore, Steven Palmer, I cannot speak for Australia, but there are numerous immigrants in America who would be insulted if you defined their nationality simply by the country in which they were born. I can just hear how angry my friend would be if I said, "You were born in Taiwan, you spent your first seven years there, you cannot be American." Yes, I realize that Robert Frank was stateless, but if Mike erred, it was on the side of inclusiveness, not arrogance.

SJ
Tokyo

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