I'm off to work on the New Camera Recommendations page (this website is getting to be more and more like work...), but I thought first I'd respond to the criticisms that the foregoing list is U.S.A.-centric.
The whole point of what I've been saying about reissues over the past few weeks can be summed up like this:
- Even many great books don't stay in print forever.
- Recently, the trend is for out-of-print photo books to become instantly collectible and rise in price, sometimes dramatically.
- This tends to make them inaccessible.
- Every now and then, a great book is reprinted.
- While the reprint is in print, the book is accessible again for a while for an ordinary retail book price.
- Often, even reprints rise in price after they're no longer available new.
- You can never tell what's going to be available when, or for how long.
- You can never tell what's going to rise in price, or how much.
- "Buy what you can when you can" is what I'm advising.
See? In yesterday's list, I'm not picking and choosing great books from the past that everyone should own, and I'm certainly not making any sort of argument that all good books are American. That's misreading the evidence. I'm trying to point out reprints of significant books of the past sixty years that you happen to be able to buy at a normal retail price at this particular time. The fact that there are no reprints on the list by French or Czech or German photographers (or whatever) is not some sort of critical thesis; it's merely an accident of the current market. Wait a year or two, and half of the titles in yesterday's list will be unavailable, and there will be a few new reprints available (we hope). Believe me, if and when Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment or Koudelka's Gypsies or Gursky's Photographs 1994–1997 are reprinted, I will be advising you to be opportunistic and get them.
Get the picture?