Just a pre- pre-warning to stay alert for the book deal I told you about a while back—the first installment is coming up, I would guess within the next month or so although I can't say for sure (it's not in my hands). It's for a limited supply of a wonderful out-of-print book now in the possession of a major museum. I think it's fair to say it's the best one-volume treatment that currently exists on its subject. I learned yesterday that it took six years of hard work to write. Which is amazing, although completely believable.
You won't need to be hair-trigger this time—the first offering won't sell out in hours; it should stay available for some number of days at least. But there's a limited supply, and there won't be any more once they're gone. (As in: never.) I'll give you as much warning as I can so you can consider it and say yea or nay while there's still a chance to actually snag the thing.
The price will be quite a bit more advantageous than my best hope, turns out. It amounts almost to a giveaway. (They set the price.) They want the books to land in the right hands...they want the remaining copies to go to photographers and enthusiasts who will appreciate the book. I.e., you.
I'll have more soon, and will give you as much advance warning as possible.
The offer will be exclusive to TOP, I'm pleased to say, so TOP readers will get first crack at this opportunity.
As another follow-up, I should mention that the hardcover catalog from the Alvin Langdon Coburn show is top-flight in every way. I got mine yesterday. I was remiss in not mentioning that the show was sponsored by Fundacion Mapfre in Madrid, Spain, and was first shown there. The catalog was printed in Madrid.
The problem is, everybody's out of it already. The Museum is out, Amazon is out, the Book Depository is out. There are still a few copies from third-party sellers on Amazon (although the price has already doubled) and Amazon UK has two copies left. I can't call the publisher to check on the book's status because they're in Spain. [See Update below —Ed.]
It must have sold better than expected throughout the two showings of the exhibit, in Spain and here—because certainly it should be the standard work on Coburn for years to come. It will be a shame if it has indeed gone out of print already. Pamela Glasson Roberts' biography and critical appraisal is outstanding; the illustrations are well done and highly readable even if they don't convey the magic of the original prints (Coburn was deeply immersed in photogravure printing, considering it the only way to adequately reproduce platinum and gum bichromate prints); and I appreciated Anne Cartier-Bresson's "Technical Atlas." A stout, handsome volume I'm very pleased to have and do plan to read.
And would recommend...if it were available. It would be nice if there were to be another printing to keep it available for some decent stretch into the future, but with the show over with and not planning to travel further, it seems unlikely.
[UPDATE: Amazon is now saying the book will be back in stock on Sunday. —MJ]
[UPDATE #2: From Pam Roberts: "I am still working on a biography of Coburn. My essay in the Coburn catalogue above is a small percentage of my research so far. Research is ever more fascinating these days given the amazing amount now online when all sorts of oddities come up." Quote unearthed from the British Photographic History website. —MJ]
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