A welcome addition to Parr and Badger's two previous photobook histories that looked at 472 titles from 1843 up to the end of the last century. Most of them came from the established publishing industry unlike many books in this third edition which are self-published in limited editions, since the end of the second World War. The nine chapters look at: propaganda; protest; desire; society; place; conflict; identity; memory and photography as a medium.
Like volumes one and two the coverage is very wide ranging, from the five colour photos and mono collages in the 'We shall overcome: March on Washington' (1963) to the fifty-three colour photos in the 'Catalogue of meat products, conserves and lard' (1973) issued by a Prague food company to the seventy-five in 'Kim Jong II looking at things' (2012) published by Jean Boite Editions, Paris. Some are just a few pages: twenty in the 2012 'Thank you for travelling with Northern Rail' with twelve photos to 664 page 'The J Street project' (205) with 303 colour photos. An odd inclusion is 'America's favourites' published in 1980 by Putnam, a mass market book with seventy-five pack shots of popular food brands, I thought it seemed slightly out of place with dozens of subjective creative books throughout these pages.
Each spread mostly has two or three photobooks featured, occasionally one book gets a whole spread. As so many of these fascinating titles will never be seen by the reader I thought it was rather unfortunate that the common format is to show the cover and two inside spreads but there is usually enough white space on each spread to accommodate three spreads from each book, this was also a criticism I had of volumes one and two.
All the photobooks featured have a technical caption (author, publisher, date, pages, dimensions, copies printed) and an extended one to two hundred word mini essay. Nicely some of these have wonderfully wry comments about the subject matter in the photos. As with the previous books this one uses a matt art paper for the two hundred screen printing.
Anyone who loves photobooks will need to get this latest fascinating edition of visual storytelling.
Big and beautiful, this is a great read. Texts by Gerry Badger and not magisterial but open-minded and informative. This is a splendid survey that includes a lot of the best photobook publishing of recent years - as well as plugging a few gaps in the coverage of the first two volumes.