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Monday, 13 May 2024


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The empty shelves mystery?
Upon completion of the bookcase, the poor fellow discovered that while the horizontal operation of the Cotterman ladder was easy, the vertical operation of said ladder caused severe acrophobia. Thus the top shelves were decorated in a Marie Kondo Style.

“[W]hat is the point of the rolling ladder if there are no books on the top shelf?” —Someone who makes zero provision for future needs. 😂 (It takes one to know one.)

Ladder guy is obviously not a photo book collector.

In fact, I was starting to get offended by the scarcity of books on that extravagant expanse of shelving when I learned that he built them out of Ikea shelves. The lack of books still seems criminal, but I'm also just impressed by the clever hack.

The same is true for genealogy books. Mine are stacked two deep. That sad bookcase needs more books and less decor.

So you can dust the top shelf.

Your hypothesis is almost certainly correct as it accords with the law of universal space requirement. That law states that for any given space in which any person or persons live (whether temporarily or permanently), (a) that person or persons always have 10% more possessions (technically known as "stuff") than will comfortably fit within the space, and (b) that any reduction of stuff always results in 20% greater replacement stuff. It therefore follows that your hypothesis is a corollary of the artwork display theorem, which proposes (consistently with the universal space requirement law) that any given artist (including photographers) will always have 10% less wall (or other display) space than that required to display the artworks in their possession, and which has its own corollary that de-acquiring the artwork always results in an acquisition of replacement artwork requiring 20% greater wall (or other display) space.

Well, this is true of books, period. When I retired from my academic job I brought hundreds of books home and most of them are in boxes in the loft (I have some shelving there too). I can't quite bring myself to part with them though. Photobooks keep coming, though I have consigned Alex Webb and the most recent Gruyaert to the birthday list, for now. I couldn't resist the getting then new Koudelka biography though (nobody with an interest in phototography should!).

It's all true, until you have kids. Then either the money dries up, or you can steal their shelf space by squeezing the Lego together.

Perhaps the cause is how books are introduced to us as we are dandled on our (usually) female parent knee?

Namely, picture books.

My bookshelves (struggling under the mass of all my books) have to accommodate all the books that are also shoehorned horizontally along the tops of other books that are properly (vertically) stored.

I don’t know what to do cause my little house has no more storage space anywhere.

Maybe the next deep dive should be on storage (maybe even display?) of photography and other books. The other books are secondary though.

"No one has ever had enough space for photography books."

Which may be good because no one* has ever had enough time to "read" photography books -- the ones that are mostly photographs. In my experience they are best borrowed from the library and returned, mostly "unread" before the penalty clock starts ticking.

On the other hand, photography books about the rich history of photography -- style, techniques and technology -- are, again in my experience, best owned and read and studied and read again.

*Really, very few.

Not only the ladder. A built-in book case with barely enough books to fill one shelf. Sad.

I have two layers of books on many shelves. One in front and another behind in the back. That doubles the shelf space for smaller books.

The guy who build the bookshelves and rolling ladder responded to a comment about no books being on the top shelf: (paraphrased) I *just* finished it. Gimme a break. :>)

Darn nice job, if you ask me.

Please never share this post with my wife.

Right. So right. And compound that with an artist the art books, and compound it again and again with both artist and photographer being professional scholars and keen novel readers. Then try moving house ...

I completely agree! In fact, there cannot be enough room in any home for books in general, not just photo books. My bookshelves are all groaning under the weight of books stacked in front of more books. I have had to become a Kindle reader because I can no longer find room for more books, yet more books are still required. I am glad to hear that I am not alone!

You can’t ride stationary ladders

Shelves are a thing of the past, apparently. When we had to empty a deceased relative’s apartment a few years ago, nobody wanted the shelves. Even goodwill-type charities refused them and said that they recently had dumped all shelves in their inventory in containers because no one ever bought them.

Because the bar the ladder rolls on would be in the way?

It's almost as if the poster anticipated your gripe two years ago! :-)

Dude I just finished it yesterday give me a break. Obviously room to acquire more books and knick knacks

[Ha! Good find. You can ignore me. I'm just jealous. --Mike]

This made me laugh - thanks Mike!


Sure, fine; but in my bubble, it is at least as true if you remove the word "photo" from it.

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