I have been hinting that I have had an interesting project underway for 2008 and now it is my pleasure to finally let the cat out of the bag. Myself along with two partners have started a publishing company called Errata Editions and I am very excited to announce that the first four releases in our Books on Books series are currently 'on press' in China. I will be doing a week's worth of posts starting the 23rd from the printing facility in Hong Kong describing the entire process of overseeing the books being printed, but first, I am thrilled to tell you about the Books on Books series that will no doubt be of interest to photobook lovers.
The Books on Books series is an on-going publishing project dedicated to making rare and out-of-print photography books accessible once again to photobook enthusiasts. Each in this series presents the entire content, page for page, of an original master bookwork which, up until now, has been too rare or prohibitively expensive for most of us to experience. These are not facsimiles but complete studies of those original masterpieces. Through a mix of classic and contemporary titles, this series will span the breadth of practice as it has appeared on the printed page and allows further study into the creation and meanings of these great works of art.
The first two-thirds of each book in this series will show, page for page, every spread that appeared in the original book. We have done so by re-photographing the original book in its entirety so the viewer can see not only all of the photographs, but the page layout, typography and all aspects that make up the original including all of the written texts. In addition to those illustrations, we have commissioned some of the finest writers on photography to contribute a 3000-4000 word essay about each book discussing not only the photography but the book object itself and its relevance in the history of the medium. Other chapters in the Books on Books series include a short essay on the original book's production along with biographic and bibliographic information of each artist.
The first four titles in the Books on Books series are as follows...
1. Eugene Atget : Photographe de Paris is the perfect starting point for a series on great photography books. Published in 1930, three years after Atget’s death, it is now regarded as a classic that influenced generations of artists including Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans. Books on Books 1 reproduces all 96 collotype plates and an English translation of the fine Pierre Mac Orlan text on Eugène Atget’s remarkable documentation of Paris at the turn of the 19th century. The noted author, David Campany, contributes a contemporary essay called Atget’s Intelligent Documents written for this volume. Hardcover with dustjacket; 9.5 x 7 in; 112 pages; 116 four-color illustrations; Essays by Pierre Mac Orlan, David Campany, Jeffrey Ladd; ISBN 978-935004-00-4; Retail price $39.95.
2. Walker Evans : American Photographs (1938 edition). American Photographs is arguably the most important photobook ever published. Originally conceived to be a catalog to accompany his one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1938, it continues to go out-of-print for long stretches of time. Books on Books 2 presents the original 1938 edition with its 87 legendary black and white photographs that defined Evans' documentary-style aesthetic. This volume also reproduces the great Lincoln Kirstein essay and a contemporary piece written by John T. Hill, the author of many books on Evans including Lyric Documentary (Steidl 2006). Hardcover with dustjacket; 9.5 x 7 in; 112 pages; 113 Duotone and four-color illustrations; Essays by Lincoln Kirstein, John T. Hill, Jeffrey Ladd; ISBN 978-935004-02-8; Retail price $39.95.
3. Sophie Ristelhueber : Fait. In October of 1991, French artist Sophie Ristelhueber photographed the battle-scarred landscape of Kuwait following the end of the first Gulf war with Iraq. The book Fait, which in French means ‘fact’ or ‘what was done,’ remains one of the most powerful statements about the aftermath of war. Books on Books 3 presents all 71 black and white and color photographs as seen in the original artist book as it was conceived and designed by Ristelhueber. Marc Mayer of the Art Contemporain in Montreal contributes an essay that discusses Ristelhueber’s disturbing yet beautiful achievement. Hardcover with dustjacket; 9.5 x 7 in; 96 pages; 95 four-color illustrations; Essays by Marc Mayer, Jeffrey Ladd; ISBN 978-935004-04-2; Retail price $39.95.
4. Chris Killip : In Flagrante. Often referenced as the most important photobook to come from England in the 1980s, Chris Killip’s In Flagrante stands the test of time today. Published in 1988, In Flagrante shows the communities in Northern England that were devastated by the deindustrialization common to policies carried out by Thatcher and her predecessors starting in the mid-1970s. Books on Books 4 presents Killip’s political yet lyric work with a new essay by Gerry Badger called Dispatches from a War Zone. Hardcover with dustjacket; 9.5 x 7 in; 80 pages; 65 Duotone and four-color illustrations; Essays by John Berger & Sylvia Grant, Gerry Badger, Jeffrey Ladd; ISBN 978-935004-06-6; Retail price $39.95.
The quality of this series is first and foremost. Anyone can start publishing books but our necessity is to publish books which celebrate the original material to the fullest potential. This is why we have surrounded ourselves with the best ink-on-paper specialists working in bookmaking today. Robert Hennessey, who has made the separations for many of the most beautiful art and photography books of the last two decades, has prepared the digital files for the illustrations in this series and is guiding me through the process of being "on-press." This series is presented in cloth hardcover with a large bellyband/dustjacket utilizing a clean design and fine materials. The body of our books are printed on a Japanese matte art paper common to many of the finer artbooks being made today. These books are being crafted to look and feel of the highest quality yet remain very affordable and accessible to the widest possible audience.
The Books on Books series was conceived by Jeffrey Ladd in order to fill a void. The void being that the outrageous prices demanded by the collector's market and scarcity of these titles makes them out of reach to most students, teachers, scholars, and photobook enthusiasts. The Books on Books series will be an inexpensive way for everyone to once again be able to access this material which up to now has been effectively removed from view. Most of the titles we are going to feature have appeared in the now classic compendiums on photography books; The Parr/Badger Photobook History, The Open Book, and The 101 Seminal photography Books. Those books, which are fine scholarly additions to the discussion of photobook history, also frustratingly showed us what we were missing out on. With this series, you will finally see inside the books you thought you'd never experience. I have a strong belief that people, especially students, should be able to access these great works of art to learn from them and that a valuable part of the dialogue with this medium has been stunted because of that limited access. This series is our contribution to continuing that dialogue.
DAP/ Distributed Art Publishers is distributing the trade edition of the Errata Editions' Books on Books series. In addition to this trade version, there will be a limited quantity of a special edition offered as a four book set available directly through Errata Editions. These special editions feature a beautiful reproduction of the original book cover tipped into the saifu book cloth of each title. Besides owning a more elegant version of each book, the advantage to ordering the four book set is the assurance that you will receive the special editions of the Books on Books series as soon as they are off the press and months before the regular edition is distributed. For pricing and ordering a set please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are in the process of lining up many more titles to be featured in this exciting publishing project but its longevity is soon to be in your hands. The proceeds of sales from these first four books goes towards the production of the next four titles in the series so please help us continue revealing the greatest photobooks ever produced to new audiences.
Please spread the word.