The Best Books about PhotoBooks!!
So.. at MAO we got an email the other day asking what the best resources are for collecting photobooks. Sadly.. we accidentally deleted this person's email.. SHIT...OOPS! So we couldn't answer this person directly. My apologies to that person!
BUT, Since it's a good topic, we thought it was worthwhile of a full posting filled with our vapid, self serving studied thoughts on this important topic.
FYI.. We are going to be dedicating the next few blog posts to some new and exciting photobook discoveries.. so stay tuned Photobook geeksAficionados!
OK.. So what are THE BEST books on Collecting Photobooks? Well, Here is MAO's list.. in a totally biased order of importance..
1. Andrew Roth's (Editor)... The Book of 101 Books. The: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century.
This is the book which set the standard for photobook reference guides. It was the first major collection of photobooks widely published...and it remains the benchmark.
With 2 to 4 pages for each book, the textbook is well researched.. and has put together some of the best minds on the topic of important photography books.
This is a MUST have for any serious photobook collector.
FYI.. It was
this reference book has also been largely responsible for increasing the prices ten fold for any photobook even mentioned inside these pages.
2. Haselblad.. The Open Book, Photographs by numerous contributing photographers.
Hasselblad Center, Goteberg, 2005. 423 pp., 404 illustrations, 8x10".
The book was published in conjunction with the Hasselblad Center. Edited by Andrew Roth.
Contributions by Simon Anderson, Ute Eskildsen, Philip Arons, Gerhard Steidl, Robert Frank and Hasse Persson. There was an exhibition that ran from June 17 to September 4, 2005,
"A history of the photographic book from 1878 to 2005."
Sadly we missed this show in 2005!
The list within this text is chronological.
It's a great and thoughtfull collection,
sadly this book has no informative or descriptive text about any of the photobooks, it just has a few pictures and the minimum about each book.
3. PARR I - The Photobook: A History, Vol. 1 [Hardcover] by Martin Parr (Author), Gerry Badger (Author).
This reference book probably includes as many as 200 photobooks.
It's got 9 chapters, and really covers a full range of the best historical photography books.
Many were little known or infrequently seen titles..but now frequently show up at book fairs and auctions with big price tags.
Rumors always circle that these opportunistic authors/editors bought up as many as possible of these photobooks before they published this text book. Hmm.... MAO wonders how this effected which photobook got included?
All suspicions aside, this is a well researched text book, with a lot of detailed information about each of the photobooks included.
Most of you will know Martin Parr..as an accomplished British color photographer, "some people" would even say Martian Parr is a better scholar/bookmaker than a photographer.
MAO's not 100% sure..but we've heard several people say this. You be the judge.
This one is A must for any photobook collector.
Note: Copies of this textbook are available on amazon.... 2nd or 3rd editions!
4. Aperture Foundation's Japanese Photobooks of the 1960 - 1980's by
RYUICHI KANEKO(essay) is a curator at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and an expert on Japanese photography and Japanese photobooks.
IVAN VARTANIAN (editor and essays) anthologized and translated Setting Sun: Writings by Japanese Photographers (Aperture, 2006).
This is probably the best book on photobooks we've ever seen.
The content is great, it's well published, and very deeply researched. Thsi book truely makes the world of Japanese photography accessible to people who don't speak Japanese!
So it would have been number 1 in our list, but since it is just 100% japanese photobook focused..we have to put it number 4.
5. AUER - 802 Photobooks from the M + M Auer Collection.
This is a private collection of photobooks..
aka This is someone putting it all out there for everyone to see drool over!
these 802 books are listed by dates, and there is almost no additional information about each of the ones included.
You can read more about this small gem of a book here..from blogger 5B4
I believe this was self published..
you can buy a copy directly here.
6. George Eastman Library - Imagining Paradise: The Richard and Ronay Menschel Library
at The George Eastman House, Rochester [Hardcover]
By Manfred Heiting (Editor), Sheila Foster (Editor), Rachel Stuhlman (Editor), Saskia Asse (Contributor)
So this is also a very large format book...288 pages. This one is very well researched with lots of text to describe each of the books.
But, these are mostly very historical photobooks, most are pre-1960.. about 250 books are listed. Many of these books are totally unknown to modern photobook collecting people. Mostly cause these are OLD RARE books..think VERY expensive and impossible to find, except for a few important libraries around the world.
But this text book brings together several important scholars, and lots of color pictures of the books. So, you'll almost feel like you've to the Eastman House!
This textbook is also available...on Amazon..I'd guess not too many people have seen this book of photobooks.
7. PARR II - The Photobook: A History - Volume 2 [Hardcover] Martin Parr (Author), Gerry Badger (Author)
Well.. this one is a much more subjective book of more current photobooks.
There are some real gems in here.. plus some you'll scratch you head as to why they were included.
It's also filled with great information about the
history of the photobook.
So very useful.. but the books in here are not as collectible.
Well... This reference book is probably also a must have..
You be the judge.
There are rumors that PAR III is soon to be in bookstores!
8. Bertolotti - Books of Nudes [Hardcover] Alessandro Bertolotti (Author), Abrams, Dec 2007.
This is a large well illustrated book of photobooks which only focus on the nude image.
We find it well researched, and probably under known by the photography book collecting world.
This large book reviews work covering the 20th century published nude including erotic photography books from a predominately European perspective.
The individual books are described and photos of the open books are provided across the 280 pages. There is some real historical value here. It's one well worth checking out.
So..that is the MAO Top 8 Books on Photobooks. If you have any others you'd suggest..please let us know!