Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Editions, New Reprints

This spring season is seeing several reprints and new editions of books for those who missed the opportunity the first time around. Here is a look at a few that were well advertised and others that may have slipped below your radar.

Angels In Fall by Karin Apollonia Muller made my list of spring titles but I was mistaken about some of my information. I have been told that this is not a reprint after all. It seems that a bunch more copies were “found” somewhere and re-distributed. So, if you took advantage of recently purchasing a copy then it is the first edition. Mine which was sent to me as a gift from a reader states that it is the “First Kruse Verlag Edition 2001.”

Alec Soth’s great first book Sleeping By the Mississippi is now in its third printing and as I see from the Steidl website it looks to have a new cover. I loved the cover of the first edition which is a detail of wallpaper that appears in one of the photos and was disappointed with the decision to make the book more identifiable to buyers by using a signature image for the second printing. This third printing looks to have grey cloth with a better photo tipped in to the cover but I have seen many books on their website change at the last minute and have the final release look much differently.

Steidl is also printing a second edition of Saul Leiter’s Early Color which was apparently a run away hit (as the new book has been as well). Look for Early Color around the same time his Early Black and White book hits the shelves.

Another surprise sell-out was Robert Frank’s Come Again which is being reprinted. I say surprise because this book, more so than any other, quickly sold-out and was commanding high prices soon after publication.

Taryn Simon’s fine book The Index of the Unseen and Unfamiliar is also listed in a recent Steidl newsletter as a “new” book so I assume that this has also sold-out of the first printing and has gone into a second.

On July 1st of last year I wrote about Chris Marker’s classic film made entirely of still photographs La Jetee and the accompanying book that has been out-of-print for some time -- well, Zone Books has done a second printing. From what I can tell it is the same as the first hardcover edition with the same thin paper and good but not great printing.

One eye-opening reprint is the fiftieth anniversary edition of John Szarkowski’s The Face of Minnesota published by The University of Minnesota (who else?). Everyone by now knows John’s story and many have seen his photography which for some tend to elicit a few more yawns than yelps of excitement. The nature of his subject matter (and approach) is one of wholesomeness and the accomplishments of Middle Americans and this in today’s climate sits too closely to the sentimental and the saccharin. Admittedly, when teachers of mine in art school would recommend that I take a look at The Face of Minnesota I generally could make it until the first color photo (page 9) before I would start to think I was being duped. Maybe it was the quality of the printing of the original versus this new edition but I am now captivated by this book. This work sits somewhere in the strata of Eugene Smith’s Pittsburg essay and Strand’s Time in New England. One can also sense traces of the cutting edge of the late 1950’s photography in photos of Szarkowski’s that would have easily informed Frank or Winogrand. There is more to this body of work than an image given to Garrison Keillor’s schmaltzy Americana.

This new edition is printed in what looks to be tri-tone with technical oversight by Szarkowski’s friend Richard Benson. His efforts along with Thomas Palmer who did the digital imaging work and Meridian Printing make the reproductions exquisite. Seeing this edition makes me appreciate this work so much more than I ever could before. Take a look -- if it’s not your cup of tea put it back on the shelf but at least take a good look. I am sure there will be many that will be surprised by what they discover like I was.


Book Available Here (Angels in Fall)

Book Available Here (Le Jetee)

Book Available Here (Face of Minnesota)


Anonymous said...

your amazing blog says that it's about photography and books, but it seems in my humble opinion that it's simply about books that contain photographs laid out in a "stylish" way, how the books look, how they feel in your hands (some rubbing in there and here). like an internet auction of pederasts waiting to get some and after that getting some.
anyway. i get this annoying feeling that you don't Really like good photography, but well made, stylish, and sometimes extremely boring books even if the books look, well nice.
arrogance, porn, violence, exploiting beings and filth seems also to be forbidden unless it's made by the most exploitative photographers of them all martin parr, or in a way that you like, like in the case of tichy who probably stalked all those bitches for years and years. so i can buy your stigma. martin compared in to that extremely exploitative clark, or that ironic, addicted and childish terry. not very funny. even if there's some empty parking spaces. anyway elite. i think you are full of and hilarious words and sometimes you get it right. cheers mate! keep on keeping on.



ps. can you review some books about something that's happening, like

Anonymous said...

Make sure you remember to take your Ritalin the next time you leave a comment. Maybe then we will be able to make some sense out of your moronic prose.

Cheers mate!

Unknown said...

Also of note is that sleeping by the Mississipi (which sure I'll be glad to get a back up copy of) but is going up in retail price by 50% over the former editions price. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

The Tichy book at Walther König just came out, as well as the Tichy catalog at Pompidou(just in case you are multilingual..).
The Walther König book (not Hatje Cantz) has the same designer as the Japanese book (Elise Mougin).

Your review is interesting but somewhat one-sided, in my opinion, and full of small errors, but I fully agree with your appraisal of the book's design.

Anonymous said...


Of course it is one-sided. It is one person's blog for crying out loud!

Why do you state your opinions anonymously?