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Thursday, 05 February 2015


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"Deconvolution" is a word, but the corresponding verb is "deconvolve."

I've coined lots of new words. Every time I stub my toe I coin some new ones. : ]

Got my copy tuesday, and as I do not have the original, I'm thrilled to have this one.
Re Deconvolution, I know the term from the Audio industry and digital signal processing http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~toh/spectrum/Deconvolution.html

Re Controversy
It would probably be impossible to reproduce a work as important as this WITHOUT controversy of some sort.
Thanks to Steidl for taking the risk

Your coined word here should be the verb form, which is a word: deconvolve. :-)

Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts!

It's finally here? I thought you were going to talk about the Pentax full fram announcement. ;)

I just got my copy yesterday and I'm enjoying it. But has anyone else got my issue where the two covers are pretty seriously warped? The front and back hard covers are both curled so that the outer edges stand an inch and a half off the pages. I've never seen something like this before.

It is indeed "finally here"! That may be the longest back order I've experienced for any book (7 months). I've not yet had a chance to sit down with TDM; I'm looking forward to doing so this weekend. But I can already declare that (a) it looks SUPERB, and (b) this will be the LAST HCB BOOK I ever buy. I like the guy's work but don't see him in quite the diety status to which he's been over-promoted.

While you're at it, you may want to how impactful "The Decisive Moment" looks now as compared to when it was first published. Just as many people are completely unaware of from whom musical artists such as Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughn drew their inspiration, some photographers are unaware that Cartier-Bresson was an innovator or exactly what his innovations were.

I got my copy. I dislike the slip cover. I dislike the dust jacket (but I hate all dust jackets). And the cover on mine bends outwards in a funny way instead of laying flat.

Nice pictures though.

I am ambivalent about the influence of HCB on photography in general. I think the "decisive moment" rhetoric tends to lead people down weird back alleys that are not all that productive. But you can't argue with the pictures.

Also, deconvolution is a thing ... from deconvolve. It's a signal/image processing algorithm not completely unrelated to unsharp masking.

Deconvolute is a real word, used in mathematics.

Deconvolute actually is a word. It's a process used in Fourier transforms and other signal processing techniques.

I vote for deconvolute.

in signal processing, there is "convolution", and an equalizer can be built to "deconvolve".

the best thing? deconvolute has no hint of being a Palinism... so it cannot be refudiated.

Sorry, Mke, but you didn't invent 'deconvolute'. Deconvolution is a standard mathematical/algorithmic process used to reverse the effects of convolution. And the verbal form deconvolute is used. If you are interested, Wikpedia and other sites describe the process in various degrees of 'mathematicalese'.

Got mine Monday. In pristine condition, thankfully, vs others' experiences. The accompanying essay, which evoked in me the same reaction as I get from artsy-fartsy museum exhibition curator's catalog essays, (IOW, not good), nonetheless provided some very interesting history of the book's publication. It is hard to believe, as famous as this volume is, that it had just a single printing of 10,000 copies.

Looking forward to your cooments.

I consider it a privilege to own a copy of this book. It is beautiful. I hope Herr Steidl keeps at his work for a long time to come.

These things are in print for such short periods that they lose much of the gift market. And I mostly can't have them since I can't put them on the wish list with any real expectation of anybody being able to buy them when the gift giving occasions come around. It seems stupid to routinely print so few copies that it goes out of print rapidly -- unless of course it's being published as a loss-leader?

Being the person who likely invented a particular word which is sometimes used in English, I suggest that inventing good words is a good thing.

Fwiw, currently unavailable at the book depository 3:15pm est. $118.

Haha! All the comments are on your word choice...!

I received mine as well. I think it looks great, and the printing seems appropriate to the pictures. I haven't seen the original, so I can't compare, but I'm guessing that some kind of fidelity might've been the goal? Seems to me Herr Steidl did a fine job, it's been a pleasure paging through, the couple brief moments I've looked at it in the past day or two.

How about shortening deconvolute to devolute?
Inconsequential to insequential?
Deconstruct to destruct?
Decontaminate to detaminate?

Mine was sitting in its box on the porch yesterday. I have removed the wrapping but have not yet opened the book. I am reading the "book about the book" after which I will dive in.

I don't always "love" HCB so I do hope that the wait for this book has been worth it. I think that over the years HCB has evolved from a real photographer to this mythical construct derived from what others believe his is, or should be.

I got my copy from Amazon that I pre-ordered in June. Does anybody know how many copies Steidl plans on printing? I'm tempted to leave it in the shrinkwrap if it may be come collectible.

I received my copy (in the UK) before Christmas and returned it within a few days. I had the issue others have reported, warping cover boards, plus various flaps etc were coming unstuck; there was just a feeling that it was rather a rushed production and quality had slipped. I certainly didn't feel it was worth the price - it's since dropped by about £10, but still seems expensive. As others have said, there are far better books of HCB photos if that's what you want, but of course if you want a copy of The Decisive Moment then it has to be this.

Echo the bendy cover. That's a real disappointment for an $80 book, for the cover to refuse to lie flat. When it's out of the slip cover, mine curl more than an inch and half. That makes the slip box necessary to protect the precious photographs inside.

Plus the new book smell makes an entire room smell like it's been recently painted. Again, not exactly pleasant. Somebody at book bindery didn't do a particularly good job.

I like the photos well enough, there's a great deal of detail there, and there's something sumptuous about the photos printed on thick, matted paper. Plus the book (and therefore the photo reproductions) are huge. I had no idea.

Needless to say, I don't have a copy of the original to compare it to.

I published a few volumes of science fiction, fantasy, and bibliographies. One important detail I learned from the book binder was about curling book boards. If the book board or board-corners curl outwards, they have been improperly bound to the book. The corners or the outer board edges are supposed to curl inwards so they hold the pages together. Moisture and heat are the main reason for this happening, due to it affecting the grain direction of the board stock used. Allow the book to adapt to the climate of your house for a few days before opening it. The books will have their own moisture content due to the manufacturing process.

Should Mike continue into book production, this I a critical detail that has to be attended to for properly bound books.


ohdang. in saying "deconvoluted" I thought it was to undo something that was "convoluted" (something complex and difficult to follow) — as in, « the controversy is filled with convoluted opinions », thus you are to later deconvolute it.

that makes more sense to me than "convolve", which now seems to be a dominant usage for mathematics, even if it has the meaning of "entwine".

(English is a second language, so I do appreciate the learning that comes from reading this blog, actually.)

Received this week after many months of waiting… no bent covers as others are reporting. In very good condition.

However, I was a little bit disappointed in the quality of the printing. Seems somewhat "photocopy-ish" to me. I have the book that accompanied the HCB show in 2010 in Chicago and the pictures in that book (most of which are in this TDM reprint) look and feel like the original B&W prints.

In this new book the pictures look like someone scanned them in and then printed the pictures using a Brother B&W laser printer at 600 dpi on some heavy rag paper.

A nice coffee table book (larger than I expected) but nothing to put at the top of the stack on the coffee table.

I'm sad compulsed is not a word. It's when you are compelled by your compulsions. Makes me real sad as I often compulsed.

Ii is probably in Steidl's interest to keep this title in print. It could become a cash-cow, like The Americans have been for them. That, in turn, would allow them to pursue more esoteric, less profitable publishing ventures.

I ordered my copy at the beginning of December. Amazon is now saying I'll get it in March. No doubt Murphy will assure that it arrives while I'm on vacation and will sit in the weather on my front porch until I can get a friend or relative to go retrieve it.

Had a look at the reviews on Amazon, which were not entirely complimentary about the print quality, and ordered 'Henri Cartier-Bresson : Photographe' instead.
(The French version is a great deal cheaper than the English language one.)

Through the OP link, of course.

I got two copies, one for my partner and one for my mother. They arrived on Tue, I haven't had the opportunity to look through them properly yet.

The partner and I first hung out together, believe it or not, because we were both interested in checking out a first ed DM in my university library. The rest as they say is history, but very conveniently Amazon delivered the new book two days before our anniversary.

Whatever one's opinion of HCB after the passage of time, this book holds a special place in my heart.

Having had a chance to walk through the book I have to agree with others; I'm just a bit disappointed. Yes, my end boards curl...pretty quickly, actually. Fortunately they easily return to flat when the book is returned to the slipcase. But there's some moisture content incompatibility between the cover paper and the boards.

I also agree with Gary Morris; many of the prints look "photocopied". Of course they're not but Gery's analogy is apt. Many are a bit washed-out and some appear to have been strained to print at full-page size.

Finally, yes Geoff, the book's typeface is rather funky. Clearly it's been made to imitate letterpress but it's ... funky.

All in all, I'm glad I bought a copy but it wouldn't be the book I grab first if the joint caught fire.

Is there anyone who can compare this to the original? I also find the reproduction to be disappointing - it has the scanned and printed on a laser printer look. The publisher went on at some length in interviews about his "special sauce" for reproducing the pictures. Was that just hype or is the original washed out?

I just got my copy of "Decisive Moment".

Although most of the photos are duplicated in the book "Henri Cartier Bresson Photographer", there are a number of really great or important photos contained here. There is more emphasis on HCB's travels in China, India or Mexico.

I must say though, that I like the book "HCB Photographer" rather better. The "Decisive Moment" runs most of the photographs larger, including across the fold. This is kind of a disaster for appreciating the geometry and composition of HCB's work. You can't easily run your eye (or a ruler) across the page when the photo is across the fold.

And, I'm not sure the larger image size is the right format to view HCB's street photos, not in a book anyway - maybe on the wall.

The NYT just put up an interactive "walk-through" of that Matisse exhibition: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/02/06/arts/a-walk-through-the-gallery-henri-matisse-the-cut-outs-at-the-museum-of-modern-art-in-new-york.html

Followup: Badly bent covers have resulted in me returning the book to Amazon for a refund.

I have not seen a copy and so this is a question for those who have. "Reviews" on various points of sale complain about the poor quality of the prints and indeed even of the paper on which the book is printed. In addition to the comments here about warping, poor typography and so on, is this book even worth purchasing, knowing that it probably will be the only reprint?

Mike, I am really considering this, as though I don't know if amazon will get a new shipment anytime...
Unfortunately, the user reviews on amazon.de are not very favourable, especially for the repro-quality. An example:
"Unfortunately while the results are sometimes convincing they are often anemic when compared to original photogravure. To today's photo enthusiasts weaned on over-sharpened, over-contrasted photos on social sites the images will look like they've been run through a washing machine."
"So perhaps some fidelity to the original book's reproduction processes has produced what amounts to a photocopy of a The Decisive Moment."
Oh, btw., as I type this, I see the review I am quoting is from Ken Tanaka, small world ;-)

So I hoped to get advice from you on this, especially as you mentioned your first impressions as "favourable".


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