WhenI heard that Ammo Books was reprinting Eliot Porter's great and seminal book In Wildness Is The Preservation of the World, I requested a review copy. No-brainer, I thought: TOP readers will love this.
It pains me to have to give the good folks at Ammo a thumbs-down. I believe they're well-meaning; they gave us the innovative and informative instructional book The Contact Sheet by Steve Crist, now out in paperback (and still recommended). However, not only can I not give their In Wildness... reissue my endorsement, I'm afraid I have to give it a non-recommendation. This is one you want to stay away from.
In comparison with the original first edition, which I have, the reproduction in the reissue looks like bad color Xeroxes. The densities are all wrong, the colors are all wrong, the sharpness is missing. It worries me that people who buy this book knowing nothing about Eliot Porter will think this is what his work looks like. It isn't. This is not Eliot Porter.
I think Geoff Wittig agrees with me about this.
Geoff Wittig adds: I do agree. In the past few weeks I've looked over pretty much everything of Eliot Porter's available in book form. Some is good, a lot more of it is mediocre. One wants to give Ammo credit for reissuing this legendary book, but it's not up to the (1962!) standard of the original, let alone contemporary reproductions.
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