Dutch Standards in the Photobook a History Parr Badger

...this book (and the next volume) will surely become the standard reference...

Nieuw standaardwerk plaatst het fotoboek tussen roman en film

December 2004 verscheen bij de Britse uitgeverij Phaidon het eerste deel van The Photobook: A History. Het heeft er alle schijn van dat de makers, Martin Parr en Gerry Badger, een standaardwerk hebben gecreëerd dat de waardering voor het fotoboek ingrijpend gaat beïnvloeden.  

In de visie van Parr en Badger is de impact van fotografie in goede fotoboeken groter, want tijdlozer en geografisch minder begrensd, dan beelden in de massamedia en tentoonstellingen.

Gerry Badger is curator, fotohistoricus, de auteur van Collecting Photography (2003) en monografieën over Eugene Atget en Chris Killup.
Martin Parr is een fotograaf die grote bekendheid verwierf met zijn ironische en kleurrijke series over zijn landgenoten. Daarnaast werkt hij als curator, filmt en schrijft hij, en is een obsessioneel verzamelaar.

Boeken die een overzicht bieden van de ontwikkeling van het fotoboek zijn tamelijk zeldzaam. De publicatie 101 books, die Andrew Roth in 2001 samenstelde, is een bijzondere uitgave maar betreft uitsluitend fotoboeken uit de twintigste eeuw. Andere fotohistorici concentreren zich op een kortere overzichtelijke periode of een nauw omschreven genre.

In The Photobook betrekken de auteurs ook negentiende-eeuwse boekuitgaven nadrukkelijk in hun geschiedschrijving, al was het alleen maar omdat de uitvinder van het negatief-positief procedé, William Henry Fox Talbot, al vanaf het prille begin van de fotografie, het boek met (ingeplakte) foto's als het meest geëigende vehikel voor het nieuwe medium zag.

Parr en Badger bepaalden richting en omvang van hun publicatie aan de hand van hun werktitel 'a history of photography through the photographic book'.
Inventariserend en werkverdelend kwamen ze tot de conclusie dat hun boek achttien hoofdstukken zou moeten bevatten en minstens tweehonderd fotoboeken. Daarom verschijnt deze geschiedschrijving in twee delen.

Hoe nu omschrijven zij hun onderwerp. Parr en Badger hechten veel waarde aan de 'narrative', het verhaal dat het boek wil doorgeven. Het idee, dat groter moet zijn dan de som van de afgedrukte foto's. Dat is gelijk ook de reden waarom enkele wereldberoemde fotografen niet in The Photobook zijn opgenomen. De samenstellers erkennen de kwaliteit van fotografen als Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston en Ansel Adams, maar zien hun boeken niet als bijzondere momenten in de fotoboekenhistorie. Zij missen de richting, de samenhang, een fenomeen dat zij 'het auteursschap' noemen.

In 'Volume one', dit eerste deel, beschrijven en tonen Parr en Badger werken onder de noemer Topography and Travel (1) de eerste fotoboeken; het negentiende-eeuwse fotoboek als verslag in Facing Facts (2); Photography as Art (3), het picturalisme in de fotografie; Photo Eye (4) het modernistische fotoboek uit de twintiger en dertiger jaren; A Day in the Life (5) het documentaire fotoboek in de dertiger jaren; Medium and Message (6), communistische en fascistische fotoboeken; Memory and Reconstruction (7), het naoorlogse Europese fotoboek; The Indecisive Moment (8), het 'stream of consciousness' fotoboek en Provocative Materials for Thought (9), het Japanse fotoboek van na de laatste wereldoorlog.

In de hoofdstukken 7 en 8 zijn tien Nederlandse publicaties

opgenomen: De Hongerwinter van de fotografen van De Ondergedoken Camera,

Impressies 1945 van Martien Coppens, drie titels van Ed

van der Elsken, drie van Johan (Joan) van der Keuken, een Sanne Sannes en het Chiliboek van Koen Wessing. In dit boek krijgen ook veel onbekende boeken een plek: bijvoorbeeld van Tjechische, Portugese, Noorse , Japanse en Sovjet-fotografen. Die verrassingen, de soepele eigenzinnige teksten en de mijns inziens optimale vormgeving maken The Photobook tot de schatkamer die de liefhebber met ongeduld naar het tweede deel doet uitzien.
Volume II zal de draad weer oppakken bij fotoboeken uit het laatste kwart van de twintigste eeuw, met enkele uitstapjes naar de negentiende. Het moet dit jaar nog verschijnen.

Han Schoonhoven

The Photobook: A History
Volume 1
Martin Parr and Gerry Badger
gebonden met stofomslag
320 pagina's
circa 850 kleuren en zwart-wit illustraties
ISBN 0 7148 4285 0

Veel Nederlandse boeken in Photobook II

Voor het pas verschenen 'The Photobook: A History, volume II' zijn door samenstellers Gerry Badger en Partin Parr vijftien Nederlandse fotoboeken geselecteerd. In het ontwerp van het omslag zijn 5 van 24 boekcovers van Nederlandse origine.  

De twee delen van 'The Photobook' vormen samen de bijbel van de fotoboekenwereld. Fotograaf en boekenverzamelaar Parr heeft het samengesteld met fotohistoricus Gerry Badger. Het eerste deel verscheen twee jaar geleden.

De honderden boeken die de samenstellers hebben gekozen zijn verdeeld over een aantal hoofdstukken. PhotoQ maakte een overzicht van de opgenomen Nederlandse fotoboeken.

In het hoofdstuk Common Market: The European Photobook since the 1980s staan vermeld:
- Hollandse Taferelen; van Hans Aarsman (uitgeverij Fragment)
- A hundred summers, a hundred winters; van
Bertien van Manen (De Verbeelding)


- Snelweg; van Theo Baart, Cary Markerink en Tracy Metz (stichting Ideas on Paper)
- Untitled; Hellen van Meene (Gabrius Edizione)
- Hollandse Velden;
Hans van der Meer (De Verbeelding)
-

Hans van der Meer Hollandse velden

Cuny Janssen Macedonia

Macedonia  Portraits and Landscapes; Cuny Janssen (Schaden.com)

In het hoofdstuk Point of Sale: The Company Photobook:


- 50 jaar Bruynzeel; Carel Blazer


- Monsters van de Peel; Martien Coppens (Lecturis)


- PLEM 1909-1959; L. Harpman en P.A. Becx (red)
- Mensenstroom; Bart Sorgedrager (GKN Holland)

In het hoofdstuk Looking at Photographs: The Picture Editor as Author:
- Useful Photography #002; Hans Aarsman, Claudie de Cleen, Julian Germain, Erik Kessels en
Hans van der Meer (Artimo)

In het hoofdstuk The Camera as Witness: The 'Concerned' Photobook since World War II:


- Why Mister, Why?; Geert van Kesteren (Artimo)

En tenslotte het hoofdstuk The Düsseldorf Tendency: The New Objective Photobook:
- Beaches; Rineke Dijkstra (Codax Publisher)

Jacqueline Hassink Table of Power

- The Table of Power; Jacqueline Hassink (Menno van de Koppel)
- Checked Baggage: 3264 Prohibited Items; Christien Meindertsma (Soeps Uitgeverij)

Christien Meindertsma kocht in het kader van haar afstuderen  aan de Eindhovense Design Academy de objecten die in een week op Schiphol bij ruim zeshonderdduizend passagiers in beslag werden genomen: een kubieke meter moordwapens! Een bijl, 301 kurkentrekkers, 315 Zwitserse messen en 402 nep-Zwitserse messen, briefopeners, veel aardappelschilmesjes, 116 scharen van Ikea, 7 neppistolen die aan sleutelhangers bungelden, 12 darts, 7 Afrikaanse speren en 54 aanstekers, want je mag niet alleen niet roken in het vliegtuig, je mag zelfs geen aansteker meer meenemen! Meindertsma rubriceerde de objecten, fotografeerde ze en maakte er een prachtig vuistdik boek mee, met de titel Checked Baggage." (uit de rubriek 'Koffietafelboek' in het Volkskrant Magazine van 18 oktober 2003)

Home 

 

Amazon.com 
  
From Street Life in London to Hiroshima, from The Royal Mummies to Perspective of Nudes and The Sweet Flypaper of Life, photobooks encompass a tremendous diversity of subjects and styles. While some of these illustrated volumes are famous (Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Locomotion, Robert Frank's The Americans), many others are known only to specialists. The Photobook: A History offers an engrossing survey of this art form, beginning with early experiments in photography in mid-19yh-century England and ending with raucous Japanese photo-diaries of the 1990s. The scope of this handsomely designed book—the first of two volumes—is so broad that only a few pages of each photobook could be illustrated, and some of the 750 color and black-and-white reproductions are quite small. But the incisive commentary by British photographer Martin Parr and photo critic Gerry Badger opens up new worlds of visual information. The authors provide essential grounding, not only in the history of photography, but also in the artistic and social movements that influenced the look and content of photobooks.  

In the 19th century, the object was to collect and to classify, whether the subject was a foreign landscape, a war, the surface of the moon or the manufacture of bread. Conversely, 20th-century photobooks are often frankly subjective, drawing on movements ranging from surrealism to the Beats. Yet a quasi-scientific approach could result in poignant imagery (as in Facies Dolorosa, a study of the faces of seriously ill people), and artistic subjectivity could yield bitter truths (Helen Levitt's A Way of Seeing, images of poor children in New York). Describing photobooks of the polemical 1930s as "the great persuaders," Parr and Badger remark that the best documentary work demonstrates an awareness of the ambiguities and contradictions inherent in the medium. Although we tend to think of propaganda solely as the product of totalitarian regimes (see "Long Live the Bright Instruction," a Chinese tract featuring unnervingly happy workers), the authors remind us that photobooks celebrating the American way of life often naively ignored the complex socio-political forces that underlie a sentimental or cheerful scene. The final chapter, devoted to postwar Japanese photobooks, vividly illuminates the cocktail of hedonism, rage and despair that makes these volumes extraordinary visual documents. --Cathy Curtis  
  
Customer reviews   

This book (and the next volume) will surely become the standard reference for anyone wanting to know about photobooks and in creating a new word for photographs in a book perhaps this will create a new publishing genre too. The author's rightly point out that photography is a printed-page medium and the four hundred and fifty titles examined, with just over two hundred in this first book, probably represent the best (or most interesting) titles ever published.

The nine chapters give a lucid in depth review of photobooks to the 1970s with Anna Atkins 1843 'Photographs of British Algae' taking the first photobook prize. I particularly enjoyed chapter six, Medium and Message: the photobook as propaganda, basically dealing with Soviet books in the Thirties and the examples shown are quite extraordinary in their use of images and design. Reproducing the pages from these books would easily make a separate title. The other fascinating chapter was nine, dealing with postwar Japanese books, again the reproduced jackets and spreads show amazing creativity and vision, not only in the choice of photos but also in the use of printing and binding techniques.

Stunning though this book is I thought there was one particular weakness, in so many of the books there are not enough pages shown. Many of them have two pages, for instance 'An American Exodus' by Lange and Taylor, there are fifteen spreads so it is possible to follow the flow of images or Avery Brodovitch's 'Ballet' with eighteen spreads to capture the feel of the subject. Most of the titles though are two or three to a spread allowing mostly a cover plus four or six pages from inside the book but annoyingly there is easily room for more pages had there been a slight adjustment to the book detail text that accompanies each photobook. The excess white space really should have been put to better use. Despite this the paper and printing of the book is first class, the images are reproduced in a fine screen as cut-outs with a drop shadow and run of varnish to really make them sparkle.

Parr and Badger have almost created a unique book but Andrew Roth's 'The book of 101 books: Seminal photographic books of the twentieth century' (ISBN 0967077443) published in 2001 must be regarded as the first attempt to capture the essence of photobooks and in both titles the editorial concept is the same, reproduce the covers and pages rather than show individual photographs. As a designer this makes both books come alive for me but I prefer 'The Photobook' for its exhilarating coverage in both words and images.  
  
This is a marvelous volume that can be enjoyed by book and photography lovers alike. As an object in its own right it exhibits a level of refinement in conception and execution that has become rare in our age of mass-produced books. Of course, there are many specialist photobook publishers but they seem to focus exclusively on print quality to increase the perceived value of their publications, whilst neglecting the vital contribution of design in a book's overall appearance (and desirability). In the Phaidon-volume, the exquisitely judged rhythm of layout and typography complement the vivid reproductions of vintage photobook material into a very exciting whole.

To be sure, the care spent on the production of this book is not gratuitous. To the contrary, it is a statement that reinforces the basic conceptual tenets held by Badger and Parr. From the introductory pages we learn that not every and any book that has been conceived around a collection of photographs merits to be included in the class of "photobooks". A photobook - as Badger and Parr understand it - is more than just the sum of its parts: pictures, words, design, and choice of subject all contribute to something which transcends the meaning of a photographic portfolio. This is all illuminating and one could certainly say that the "Photobook" is an instructive example of this synergy between various elements.

However, I wished that the editorial team would have left it at that. I think Badger and Parr are moving onto much more controversial ground when they hold forth that the emblematic photobook is a kind of dramatic event, "comparable with a piece of sculpture, a play or a film" in which the individual photographs lose their own character as things in themselves. Apart from being theoretically doubtful, I believe this criterion is simply too stringent and many vintage photobooks featured in this survey do not comply with it. For example, many of the early books were photo albums in the true sense of the word: bound collections of original prints glued onto white pages. Similarly, it is difficult to see in some of the modernist books - such as Erhardt "Das Watt" or Mendelsohn's "Amerika" - anything more than an expertly produced photographic portfolio. In each of these examples there is coherence, but it does not derive from some kind of dramatic or narrative logic. It can simply be a unity of style which holds a photobook together. Positioning the photobook "between the novel and film", therefore, raises more questions than it provides us with answers. It doesn't really help to make sense of "a ragged and sprawling subject, with more than its fair share of anomalies".

It is perhaps more useful to investigate how Badger and Parr have tried to organise their material within the confines of this volume (and the next). They seem to have relied on three different lines of thought. The first is chronological (it's a history after all). The survey starts with the very first publications, early on in the history of photography and will end with a section on "The Photobook and Modern Life". In this sense, the book can be studied as a remarkably lively and varied panorama of how photographers have engaged with their craft over the last 150 years.

The second organising principle is geographical: some of the individual chapters focus on a distinct area of cultural production (the US, Europe and Japan; the next volume features a chapter on "The Worldwide Photobook"). Finally, there is "intention" as a structuring element. Photobooks have been produced to serve a variety of purposes: to tell a story, to tell a non-story (stream-of-consciousness-like books), to non-tell a story (to deconstruct), to document, to persuade, etc. Indeed, a valuable photobook can even limit itself to simply showing. Most of the chapters in the two volumes put some kind of "intention" at the center of the discussion.

I think Badger and Parr's conception of their own book is to a certain extent at odds with their conceptual emphasis on the dramatic nature of photobooks. If there is drama in "The Photobook", it is mediated by the words that accompany the various chapters, not by the visuals. In other words: it is a conceptual not a photographic narrative that unfolds. As regards the visuals, curiously enough the daring use of white space and drop shadows around the book and page reproductions really make them stand out as preciously unique. Leafing through the book is akin to walking between carefully presented museum exhibits. In this sense, "The Photobook" clearly `shows' and, therefore pulls us away from the dramatic sweep of history.

Despite these theoretical misgivings there is not a shade of doubt in my mind that this book deserves five stars. It is a fabulous book and I look forward with keen anticipation to the second and final volume. 

This volume, along with its companion volume, offer little in the way of useful or intelligent commentary (it is otherwise recycled pabulum wasted on a body of books that, for the most part, were treated to celebrity status by Roth). Instead, we're treated to an obscure and incomprehensibly limited canon which is sold as if it were created in a vaccuum with only the purest of intellectual and aesthetic intentions and aspirations (please look at Parr's actual photographs before buying this book--you can get a better appreciation of his specific photographic style). The reality--both of these volumes (and the books contained therein) seem to have been selected primarily for their price in the rare book world (Roth is guilty of basing his selection process on the market as well, but at least he's tranparently a rare book dealer). This wouldn't bother me so much except that there are glaring omissions from both Parr/badger volumes (Misrach's Bravo 20, anything from John Pfahl, anything from Helmut Newton, Frank Horvat, Andres Serrano, Jan Dibbets, Ken Schles, James Van Der Zee, Jerry Uelsmann, Richard Prince, etc...) It is also troubling because up until perhaps even a year ago the rare photobook market was dominated by a handful of collectors (whose ability to judge photography, as far as I can tell, is somewhat suspect). The general proposed intent of the project is noble (cataloging the important photobooks of the world), but I don't think that these authors are qualified in any way to be the critics of what photobooks have actually been important (can we get Irving Penn, William Klein, Araki,and a panel of actual legends to make some selections?). And so, we are treated to a very strange mixture of blue chip photobooks, some of which are obviously important, and some of which are just expensive cult favorites with the collectors. Buyer beware--most of the books within have catapulted even higher in value almost exclusively based off of the premise that they were included in these books. There are plenty of photobooks worth collecting (perhaps even more worthy than most of the books included herein) and there are lots of little-known volumes from the greats (also not treated here) worth pursuing and, more importantly, viewing and enjoying. Photobooks were being produced before this list was assembled and will continue to be created long after these forgettable volumes are replaced with more academic and more interesting attempts. These books are not a terrible point of departure for the neophyte collector but be advised that these books repeatedly confuse monetary and artistic merit without apparently being aware of their own confusion. If you are interested in serious collecting, I'd advise either finding a copy of Roth (if you are interested in collecting a canon of well-established books that are unlikely to shift in value significantly) or, more simply and elegantly, spend some time at your local library learning who Mapplethorpe, Lartgiue, Saudek and rest really are (you can find the names on the internet fairly simply and looking through the actual books beats reading these surveys any day). It's free and you'll be able to craft your own tastes before you begin the process of investing in your won photobook collection.

 Amazon.com

Much Anticipated Second Volume of the Story of Photography through the History of the Photobook; Compiled by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger

"The Photobook: A History, Volume I, by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, is the most important contribution to the field since modern histories of photography began to appear in the early twentieth century. We can be sure that this book, and its forthcoming second volume, will lead the way to revitalization of thinking and publishing in the field. It dwarfs previous publications in both its scope and the information it provides." (Photo-Eye, December 2004)

More photobooks are being published now than ever. For most photographers, this format is the ideal vehicle to present their work and communicate their vision to a mass audience. While the history of photography is a well-established canon, much less critical attention has been devoted to this alternative history of the medium through the pages of the photobook

Following the critically acclaimed first volume, THE PHOTOBOOK: A HISTORY: VOLUME II, co-edited by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, brings the most comprehensive illustrated history of the photobook fully up to date. Featuring over 200 photobooks, this lush survey offers a fresh approach to photographic history and is a celebration of the medium's diversity. Broadly thematic in structure, each chapter features an introductory easy followed by detailed discussion of the individual photobooks alongside images of the book covers and spreads.

While the first volume stressed the subjective nature of the history of the medium and how that history was molded by the influences of curators and historians, the second volume brings a new perspective from the viewpoint of the photographer and the editor. A secret web of influences and interconnections between photographers and photographic movements around the world is revealed producing a global network of ideas.

Spanning from Edouard Baldus's magnificent book for the Paris-Lyons Railway Company of 1861 to Stephen Shore's American Surfaces of 2005, the development of photography in its published form is the main focus. THE PHOTOBOOK: A HISTORY: VOLUME II is a chronicle of contemporary life, covering key artistic genres, including The American Photobook, The European Photobook, The Artist's Photobook and The Company Photobook.

Gerry Badger explains the narrative function this unique format provides, "The photobook has become a worldwide phenomenon as practitioners of all cultures look to photography as a means of understanding the world around them." The books that fill the pages of this magnificent volume have defined photography, telling us just as much about the history of the medium as the history of the world. THE PHOTOBOOK: A HISTORY: VOLUME II is an indispensable resource.

About the Author
Martin Parr bridges the divide between art and documentary photography. His studies of the idiosyncrasies of mass culture and consumerism around the world, his innovative imagery and his prolific output have placed him firmly at the forefront of contemporary art. A member of the international photo agency Magnum, Parr is an avid collector of photobooks and a world authority on the photobook. He lives in Bristol, England.

Gerry Badger is a photo historian and critic. He writes and lectures on photography regularly and has curated a number of exhibitions, including `The Photographer as Printmaker' for the Arts Council of Great Britain and `Through the Looking Glass: Post-war British Photography' for the Barbican Arts Centre, London. His published books include Collecting Photography (2003) and books on Eugène Atget and Chris Killip (published by Phaidon). He is currently completing a major book on the Berlin work of the American photographer John Gossage. He lives in London.  

Christien Meindertsma: 14 van de 116 scharen van Ikea in het boek 'Checked Baggage'; 2003