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Sunday, 08 June 2008


I just ordered the book. I have read about it, heard about it, wondered about it, but, never seen it. This will be a real treat. Thanks for posting this information. If I didn't read TOP regularly I might have missed the opportunity to own this classic.

The book has arrived here in Bracciano, Italy, from Amazon UK, and I am very happy indeed. The size is surprisingly compact. I love it!

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.
Unlike the timeless images of Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, and Helen Levitt, etc, it is a very dated view of a (sociologically) long-ago time.
Basically he drove across the country from one cheap motel to another, and what we see are snaps at the low-cost facilities he patronised,(diners, juke-joints, public restrooms, etc).
There are some good (but not great) individual photographs, mostly in the (old) impoverished American South, but with no depth of coverage. Shoot and move on, shoot and move on....

(Just a differing opinion -- please do not stone me.)

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Plus, the Velvet Underground is just a bunch of caterwauling, and Jackson Pollock just dripped paint on canvases, and e e cummings didn't even know English punctuation, and my six-year-old, etc.

Mike J.

I actually did hear Don Bryant screaming, but thought it was coming from a neighbor's house and related to the Lakers/Celtics game.

Glad the book is shipping: I may get it for Father's Day after all!

Bill, you seem to imply that some images have an expiration date, while others are timeless. An interesting topic and worth pursuing. The usual arguments are usually about personal taste; the conversation could be much richer.

...and the Beatles were Paul McCartney's first band.

This is a true story.

My Friends dog got to the door before I did. I don’t think it’s left its mark on him, but I know he left its mark on it. Both sides actually

My dog prefers pricier toys (think 1000€ flute).

I just got the book yesterday and have only just went thru it once, haven't got the time to really consume it yet. But I don't think it's a hard photobook to get and I understand why it is/was so popular. I believe I alredy felt the spirit of America at that age.

One thing got me thinking. The jukebox. I am an european and I have never ever saw a jukebox in real life. The americans seem to be crazy about it. How come? Does the conqueror spirit of the european settlers in 16th and 17th century inevitably lead to unquestionable love for this machines in the 20th? "All folks who like the idea of singing coin-eating machines in bars board this ship!"?

The thought stroke me at the start of the book, at the photo titled "Candy store". There is a thing, a bit of furniture, a machine, a something that I observed with curiosity. I had no idea what it is - still not sure. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that it must be an american thing. I'd bet every american would know what it is the moment he saw it. Or at least he would know what it is not. I said to myself, not too self-assured "This is a jukebox!"
Is it?

(I am pretty confident that other similar looking things in "The Americans" are jukeboxes, but those are clearly placed in bars or restaurants.)

Are jukeboxes still widely used there or is it more a thing of the past now? (I did some research and found that they make digital ones with hard drives now)

Ah, jukeboxes. They really got rolling in the US when I was a child, back in the 50s, though they'd been around longer than that. I think people liked them because they played dance music in places used by teenagers, where live music was too expensive. My older cousin used to take me to a place with booths and stools along the soda bar for the people, a small dance area in the back, and remote control boxes in each booth. I think it cost 5 cents to play a song, or 3 for ten cents. They are very democratic: you can play whatever song you wished, and everybody had to listen to it.

Each jukebox had a few dozen selections, played on 45 rpm records, and the selections changed from time to time, a mix of current hit songs and pop classics. Sometimes, when there was a big hit, you'd go into a place and hear the same song twenty times in an evening...

Jukeboxes are also classic machines in country-western bars...for many years, in the mid-south and southern Plains states, you could go into a bar and you'd find a song called "National Anthem" on the jukeboxes, and when you put in your quarter (inflation), it played "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother," by Jerry Jeff Walker.

I've seen a photo book on jukeboxes, but I have no idea what it was called.


I just got mine. What a beautiful edition, and it's as great as it ever was. I feel that Mike must have said this before as it can't be a thought that originated in my brain, but this is definitely the Kind of Blue of street photography--it will be around when all of us are gone. I never owned any of the older editions, but they can't be any more beautiful than this one.

Bruce Springsteen, talking about Nebraska:
I've also gotten a lot out of Robert Frank's photography in The Americans. I was twenty-four when I Þrst saw the book-I think a friend had given me a copy-and the tone of the pictures, how he gave us a look at different kinds of people, got to me in some way. I've always wished I could write songs the way he takes pictures. I think I've got half a dozen copies of that book stashed around the house, and I pull one out once in a while to get a fresh look at the photographs.


About the new Steidl ed., it is indeed very nice, but I also have the Scalo edition, and the reproduction there is better yet.

Oh Yes! The book was waiting for me on my doorstep when I got home from work. A cursory glance through a few pages and I'm really excited about it. I am truly looking forward to studying this classic. The few photos I looked at felt so simple yet they said so much. Thanks again for posting the link and sparking me into purchasing this book.

I ordered this months ago. Now I'm abroad. Couldn't figure out how to tell Amazon to hold off on delivery for a month, short of cancelling the order and losing my pre-order discount. I wonder what will happen. Phooey!

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