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Through the lens with print: part two,
This review is from: The Photobook: A History Volume II: History v. 2 (Hardcover)
As I wrote in my review of the first edition, both will surely become the standard reference about photobooks. This second one is mostly concerned with contemporary photography and the coverage is really impressive which raises an important point: both books regard their subject as a lively and energetic creative medium and not a dry academic one reflecting an elitist point-of-view.
Just over two hundred photobooks are considered in nine chapters and like book one each has a technical caption (publisher, size, pages, date etc) and an excellent analysis of the photos and the book. The coverage, as I mentioned is very comprehensive. There is a chapter devoted to books that are not commercially available (The Company Photobook) and the twenty-five covered include a high school yearbook, or chapter six: Looking at Photographs, where the theme is the picture editor as author with twenty-two books. Controversy is not avoided either, chapter eight looks at the work of the New Topographic photographers with their stark takes on blast furnaces, prisons and other potential visual failures of society.
This second book is the same design, with excellent printing and paper, as the first (and to my mind) has the same fault in that there are not enough spreads shown from all the books looked at despite plenty of white space on each page. This does seem an odd editorial oversight when the purpose of the book is to show pages from books full of photographs. The first book had a few examples of many pages from a particular book but I could only find one in this book: a 1957 Norfolk and Western brochure where seventeen pages are shown (out of eighteen) using Winston Link's wonderful train photos
Look through the 656 pages of these two books and you'll soon realise that Badger and Parr have achieved a remarkably lively study. Surely the photobook gold standard.