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
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.