(UPDATE: Amazon is now sold out of the remainder. If you go to the link and click "Available from these sellers" and then click on the "New" tab, there are two sellers advertising "multiple copies available" [TSCBOOKS and BORDEEBOOKS].That means that each of these sellers has some remainders, albeit at a somewhat higher price. Note that these sellers may still appear to have copies available even after they sell out, so don't be too disappointed if you take a shot at this and miss. —MJ)
This week's "Recommended by M.J." book is Aftermath: Unseen 9/11 Photos by a New York City Cop by John Botte. It's a remainder—i.e., a closeout, a new book sold at a bargain price—that you can buy for $9.99. At that price, no one is making any profit from it whatsoever, so if you're one of those who object to the book for that reason, don't be troubled. There's been a lot of controversy swirling around this book, and I personally think it's a shame, if not an injustice, that the author has been so relentlessly criticized. He was a crime scene photographer with the NYPD and a talented amateur documentary photographer whose work was admired by Bernard Kerik (then Police Commissioner, since disgraced), who sent Botte in on 9/11 to document the scene.
John Botte has taken it on the chin every which way for all kinds of things, which strikes me as yet another playing-out of the always popular game "blame the photographer." He was "on the clock" while photographing at the site; some people feel he should have been "helping," as if documenting at a disaster scene isn't one of many valid ways to be useful. He's been accused of "profiting" from 9/11—right, as if one photobook is any kind of effective way to cash in (anyone who's put out a photo book is shaking their heads. More photo books lose money than make money, and the very fact that this one is remaindered points to its not being one of the latter). And never mind that being on the scene damn near killed the photographer—it ruined his lungs and his career (he's been on disability since 2003), and led to more medical bills than the book will ever begin to compensate him for. He's even been criticized because the book has the same title as art photographer Joel Meyerowitz's book on Ground Zero—which Meyerowitz, incidentally, started shooting on the 23rd of that September (Botte was there from the 11th onwards).
The Botte book is, among other things, the only book of pictures of the 9/11 disaster shot with a Leica camera (an M6) in black & white, which led to Leica issuing a John Botte commemorative M7, mainly to present to Mr. Botte for his heroism. (The camera, as far as I know, has been withdrawn from public sale. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.) Sadly, this has let him in for even more criticism, as people with nothing better to complain about accuse the photographer—blameless as can be—for further "profiting" from 9/11. Here's what renowned Leica repairperson Sherry Krauter said about John Botte's camera: it "was made specially for John to pay tribute to his fallen colleagues, and to John himself who sustained life-threatening injuries in his service with the NYPD at 911. This camera is not being produced by Leica in any quantity whatsoever, nor will it ever be. This camera was made specifically for John and is the only one of its kind.
"John is one of the most talented individuals to walk thru my door in 30 years of repairing Leicas. The old adage that states, 'If a picture is worth 1,000 words,' John's are worth 5,000 words! He had an opening at the Frankfurt airport at the first anniversary of 911. It was one of the only shows I know of that was held over for an additional term. Several million people were able to view his work. He is an extremely talented photographer. I look forward to John's book, Aftermath, which is the only book of its kind, shot entirely using Leica cameras and black and white film."
(A final note: If you want to express outrage about John Botte or his book or his Leica, please go do it elsewhere. I think it's bullshit. The world needs more documentary photographers, not fewer, and anyway, this post is just to recommend a remaindered book that is being cleared out at a loss—I assure you, its author is not profiting from it.)