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American Surfaces by Stephen Shore
on 18 April 2012
I bought this book to sit alongside Eggleston's Guide and The Americans, but American Surfaces lacks the power those books share. This is, in part, down to the fact that there are simply too many photographs, and therefore less importance is attached to each one. I would have been more impressed if the book had say, 100 large, full page prints - more like American Power by Mitch Epstein, but I can understand that Shore wanted to show a journey so lots of images could be justifiable.
This book is of course no Uncommon Places so if you're expecting the maturity that his later work delivers then you might be disappointed - pictures of meals and empty beds often seem a little pretentious.
Other than these concerns with the content I can't be disappointed by the quality of the book which has a reasonable binding and is well-printed, although it's thickness means that sometimes it can be hard to open the book up completely to see the whole photograph. I'm going to keep the book as I think it's interesting to see Shore's development and it's a nice accompaniment to Uncommon Places, and hey at £12 or whatever it was, you can't argue!