Monday, January 26, 2009

Great Stalinist Photographic Books

A recent discovery has left me delirious with graphic design overload. Great Stalinist Photographic Books is a must own for all fascinated by the chapter in Parr/Badger on propaganda books from around the world. This is a Russian version of The Photobook: A History with over 70 little known Soviet era photobooks.

Profusely illustrated, each title is treated to more plates of spreads than is usual from compendiums on photobooks with in some cases as many as a dozen shown for an individual book.

Large in format and 256 pages it is very substantial but before you get too excited...there is almost no English translation. For those who can't read cyrillic this will be pure eye candy until you bribe a Russian friend to translate.

Even though no translation, the individual texts for each book seem to be limited to the basic publishing information so I assume we are not missing out on much. There is a 36 page introduction but how much it allows for discussion of each book isn't known to me either.

The other disappointment is that it was published in 2007 and is already out of print. I purchased mine from Ebay for $100.00 + shipping and it is posted often. You can purchase directly from a man named Anatoly at yellowcaptain(AT) He is trustworthy and packaged my copy with a flare for the Old World. Wrapped in bubblewrap and covered in brown paper and twine, I saved the package because it is a work of art in itself. He managed to safely enclosed the book in its wrapping without using any tape at all.