Tag Archives: History Of Photography

TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2012

Ten percent of all of the photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year — an astounding figure. More than ever before, thanks in part to cell phone technology, the world is engaged with photography and communicating through pictures.

Nonetheless, a great photograph will rise above all the others. The ten photographs we present here are the pictures that moved us most in 2012. They all deliver a strong emotional impact — whether they show a child mourning his father who was killed by a sniper in Syria (slide #3); a heartbreaking scene in a Gaza City morgue (slide #1); a haunting landscape of New Jersey coastline after Hurricane Sandy, a rollercoaster submerged under the tide (slide #2); or a rare glimpse of President Obama moments before he goes out on stage during a campaign rally (slide #9). We spoke to each of the photographers about their images, and their words provide the captions here.

Over the past several days, we’ve unveiled TIME’s Best Photojournalism and Best Portraits of the Year galleries on LightBox. And in the next three weeks, we will be rolling out even more end-of-year features: the Most Surprising Pictures of the Year; the Best Photo Books of the Year; the Top 10 Photographic Magazine Covers of the Year and other compelling galleries. We will also recognize TIME’s choice for the Best Wire Photographer of the Year. Senior photo editor Phil Bicker is curating many of these galleries with help from the photo team at TIME. His discerning eye has been responsible for the curation of TIME’s Pictures of the Week throughout the year, galleries that regularly present the best of the week’s images, with surprising and sometimes offbeat takes on the news.  We will round off the year on December 31 with our second-annual “365: Year in Pictures,” a comprehensive look at the strongest picture of every day of 2012.

Kira Pollack, Director of Photography

The Indie Photo Book in the 21st Century

Two years ago Larissa Leclair founded the Indie Photobook Library in her Washington D.C  home with the goal of preserving rare self-published books and making them available to a larger audience. She hopes the collection will one day land at the Library or Congress for safe keeping. From Nov. 10 – 18, Leclair’s collection is on view at FotoWeek DC.

LightBox: How did the Photobook Library start?

Larissa Leclair: The Indie Photobook Library started in May 2010 with an idea, one book and a Facebook page.

The idea of creating a public non-circulating library had been in my head for many years; one I originally wanted to propose to a non-profit. At that time, my focus was a broad range of international titles and making them available to a U.S. audience. That initiative never materialized, but the idea stayed and evolved. In 2009, as Blurb announced their Photobook Now Competition winners, and I was viewing a lot of self-published books online, I was personally frustrated with not having a central place to visit in order to look at these kinds of books in person. I referenced the idea of a museum/archive/library in my contribution to the Future of the Photobook discussion, but the final spark for the project came one day in April 2010 while attending the Photo Memory Workshop Master Class at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.

George Miles, Curator of the Western Americana Collection at Beinecke, and Laura Wexler, Professor and Founder of the PMW, had selected to focus on the Peter Palmquist Collection. The vision encapsulated in his collection was the final piece of encouragement I needed. I was awestruck that a single individual could follow his passion, create a collection and, in the process, have an impact on the history of photography. Two weeks after that Master Class, I embraced the idea that I could be the one to create a space for self-published and “indie” photobooks while creating an archive at the same time.

The long-term goal of a lasting archive is what excites me the most. Having a specific collection dedicated to these kinds of books allows for the development of future discourse on trends in self-publishing, the ability to reflect on and compare books in the collection and for the scholarly research to be conducted in years, decades and centuries to come.

LB: What’s your background and why are you so interested in photobooks?

Leclair: I have a BFA in Photography and a BA in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. My interest in archives began in graduate school, where I spent most of my time researching and working in Manuscripts & Archives at Yale University Library with photographs, postcards, ephemera and books.

And I just love books. From remembering my childhood library to loving library spaces now, I enjoy being surrounded and being introduced to things through books. I prefer to look at most photography in book form and to be able to revisit the work over and over again that way.

LB: Can you describe the library’s physical space?

Leclair: The library is stored in my small home office, until I am able to find a donated public space. The books are shelved and stored in crates. I regularly pull from them each time there is an iPL event, exhibition, lecture, visitor or article I am writing. I have piles of photobooks on my desk of new submissions for the collection and boxes of packaging and ephemera in the corner that I have saved.

LB: Is there an online or social component to what you do?

Leclair: The iPL grew from the ability to share an idea online without having a physical space for the library. The online presence and social networking aspect is a big part of the success of the Indie Photobook Library. It affords easy collaboration and engagement with those that love photobooks and those that support the Indie Photobook Library.

LB: Can you tell us about the concept for the most recent show?

Leclair: For Documentary Styles in early 21st century Photobooks, at Gallery Carte Blanche in San Francisco, I invited Darius Himes, Assistant Director of Fraenkel Gallery, to work with me on the exhibition. I am interested in creating exhibitions and discourse around the photobook much the same way a museum would a photography exhibition. After some back-and-forth of ideas we agreed to curate the exhibition around the framework of documentary practice and styles in photography. And the medium would be the book.

LB: What was the process for finding and selecting books for this exhibition?

Leclair: When I am working on something I reference the library and choose from the collection. At least once a year, the iPL organizes a large feature-length exhibition of photobooks culled from the permanent collection. For the exhibition at Gallery Carte Blanche, Gwen Lafage, the Founding Director, wanted to have a call for entry, so we set a deadline that books needed to be part of the iPL by June to be considered for this exhibition.

There are books that speak to a more traditional documentary style, while others completely challenge it; there are diary-esque books and ones that are typology in structure; others that use found and vernacular imagery; and many that are documentary-esque in a fine art tradition. The lines between journalism, art and the long-term documentary project have blurred, morphed and continue to feed off of each other. The exhibition explores, rather than defines, the style.

LB: What makes a photobook interesting to you?

Leclair: For me, some of the most potent and challenging photographic work being done today is being realized in self-published photobooks. Freed from constraints, the photographic work should influence the book form. And it is when content, form, and experience come together in the right way, the book is magical.

LB: Could self-publishers replace the big publishing houses? Should they?

Leclair: Do I think they will replace the big publishing houses? Probably not. But self-publishers, independent/collaborative publishers and print-on-demand services are challenging the traditional publishing paradigm. A photobook is a photobook, no matter how it was published. A self-published book should not be judged differently. Doing-it-yourself is just as valid as publishing with a big press. All are part of the current photobook discussion and I have been championing that for many years.

LB: What’s your dream scenario for the library? What do you hope to do with it in the future?

Leclair: I have very ambitions dreams and goals for the Indie Photobook Library. I hope it will be seen as the “Library of Congress” for self-published photobooks and that photographers will continue to add to the collection as they create new books over their career. Traveling around with the library these last few years has been a successful way of sharing the photobooks in the collection and I’ve reached thousands and thousands of people that way. Yet, I’ve always envisioned a fixed public space that operates like a non-circulating library or browse-able archive where books in the collection are listed on worldcat.org and easily found by researchers.

I’ve just searched for many self-published photobooks on WorldCat and the Indie Photobook Library is often the only public collection in the United States that has a copy. If only people knew this on worldcat.org and I had the physical space people could access. That is the mission—providing the space and access for people to see these amazing photobooks.


Larissa Leclair is the founder of the Indie Photobook Library in Washington D.C. 



Street View and Beyond: Google’s Influence on Photography

When Google Street View started as an experiment in 2007, the company sent SUVs equipped with cameras, GPS and lasers to collect its first pictures. The idea of capturing images of the entire world from the perspective of the street was revolutionary, if not a little insane. Now, five years later, Google has recorded 360-degree photographs of streets in more than 3,000 cities in 43 countries around the world. Google Street View cars—along with snowmobiles, giant tricycles and Trekkers–have covered more than five million unique miles of road since the project began, making tens of millions of still images in even the most far off places on the map, such as Antarctica.

The massive and growing archive has spawned a virtual world of images like we’ve never seen before in the history of photography—and its accessibility has inspired a new generation of photographers who are using the tool to document the world while simultaneously redefining the boundaries, quite literally, of contemporary art photography.

While critics bemoan the trend of artists using Google imagery in their works, the artistic appropriation of photos is as old as photography itself, employed by everyone from the Surrealists to the post-modern Pictures Generation of the late 1970s.  Google’s Street View images aren’t a commentary on the world, but are surveillance photos taken for the practical purposes of just showing us places we may not be able to visit. The machines and cameras used to collect them have no discretion, much less artistic influence. Through meticulous research, framing, grabbing and reformatting, photographers themselves are assigning photos artistic value, in much the same way they do when  shooting, toning or retouching a raw file or an analogue negative. “In its raw form, satellite imagery can be quite dull,” says Mishka Henner, an artist who often works with Google’s images. “Cropping, adjusting, and forming a body of work out of them completely transforms these images into something that can be beautiful, terrifying and also insightful. If the internet remains free and open, I’m confident that in ten years photographic work like this will be as prevalent as imagery produced by hand-held cameras.”

Paul J. Richards—AFP/Getty Images

The Google street view mapping and camera car is seen as it charts the streets of Washington, DC, on June 7, 2011.

At this point, all the Street View images are created by a human-operated Google cars with a spherical camera affixed to the top. The device looks like an all-seeing eye that has nine directional cameras for 360° views at a height of about 2.5 meters. The new high-resolution replica of the world that Google provides is every voyeur’s dream—one can virtually visit an endless variety of places from the comforts of one’s own home.

In the catalogue to the show Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera since 1870, editor and curator Sandra Phillips compared the biblical story about elders spying on Susannah to present day, saying: “Today, however they would use cell phones to grab a picture of a young woman in a compromised position and send it to friends, having located her garden through Google Earth. Human hunger for seeing the forbidden has not changed. The technologies to facilitate it have.”

And she’s right—this technology has been adapted quickly by artists and devoured by the art world. Doug Rickard used Google Street View to see the back roads of the nation in a series called A New American Picture, which was featured at New York City’s MoMA last year and is currently on view at Yossi Milo Gallery. Geoff Dyer wrote extensively in the Guardian about Rickard, saying: “Any doubts as to the artistic – rather than ethical or conceptual – merits of this new way of working were definitively settled by Rickard’s pictures. It was William Eggleston who coined the phrase “photographing democratically” but Rickard has used Google’s indiscriminate omniscience to radically extend this enterprise – technologically, politically and aesthetically.”

Rickard says he probably made 10,000 images of this work before narrowing the selection down to just under 80 images. “The only difference [between this work and traditional street photography] is that the world’s frozen, so you’re limited to that surrounding,” he says. “You’ve got a fixed lens and your distance is determined by the width of the street, not where you walk. But there’s a lot in kinship with traditional photography that was really partly responsible for me being able to embed 1,000 hours into this in four years.”

Jon Rafman’s project 9-Eyes captures uncanny images of reality and provides a case study on the unrelentingly objective aesthetic that comes from Google Street View. ”The potential sentimentality of these photographs is counteracted by the manner in which they were captured,” he says. “There is a tension between the indifferent robotic camera, and the human gaze that sees meaning and interprets narratives in these images. That tension is the essence of the project. People often say that technology is changing our perception of the world, changing our perception of reality, but I think that the inverse is also occurring—a technology becomes successful because it taps into something fundamental about contemporary consciousness, it expresses how we are already experiencing the world.”

Some artists, however, are looking at another aspect unique to the use of Google imagery. Clement Valla, through his project, Postcards from Google Earth, is finding the glitches and bugs unintentionally captured by Google Earth’s lens and documenting them to comment on the mistakes resulting from technology’s limitations. “Because Google Earth is continuously updating, there’s kind of no archive of these particular moments or situations,” he says. “So I thought it would be interesting to take them and print them as postcards.”

The prevalence of Google’s imagery and technology is already permeating the aesthetic of more traditional photography and even artists working in myriad disciplines from sculpture to street art. Manuel Vazquez still begins his process with taking his own pictures but later intergrates the aesthetic of surveillance imagery and Google Street View, as seen is his project Lonely Crowd, which incorporated the pixelated nature of digital works to convey the physical and emotional distances between strangers in a crowd. “The web has changed the way we access and read the city, through technologies that have shortened and broken the boundaries of space and time,” he says. “It is like a walk with no specific destination, affecting time, space and perspective with every click. There is not a linearity of past-present-future. It feels like a continuous flow of information that is updated.”

Fake Google Streetview car urban invention by artist group F.A.T. Lab, February 2010 at Transmediale 2010, Berlin. Image courtesy of Aram Bartholl.

Fake Google Street View car urban invention by artist group F.A.T. Lab, February 2010 at Transmediale 2010, Berlin

Interdisciplinary artist Aram Bartholl, meanwhile, has used Google imagery as the inspiration for some of his work but hardly produces only photography. Bartholl creates sculptural objects that represent virtual objects such as the red map marker icon found on Google Maps. “Services like Google Maps change the way we perceive the city,” he says. “I remember once I had a parcel service on the phone claiming my address didn’t exist because it couldn’t be found on Google Maps.” His works, which have been shown at Rencontres d’Arles, among other festivals, aim to explore how technology imitates reality and vice versa. “The map marker icon is just a 20 pixel interface on the screen, but when you switch to satellite mode and then zoom in more, it looks like it becomes part of the actual picture, casting a shadow on the city,” he says.

Despite the growing number of photographers who use Google in their works, it remains unclear how this technology will influence our perspective in photography—and perceptions of spatial reality—outside the virtual world.

In the meantime, we’d love to continue the conversation and hear your thoughts about how other artists are using Google Street View and Google Earth in the comments section below.

Paul Moakley is the Deputy Photo Editor at TIME. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulmoakley.

Reporting and interviews by Zara Katz, TIME photo intern and graduate student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. You can follow her on on Twitter @zarakatz.

Photo Stroll – The V&A’s permanent Photographs Gallery collection 2011-12

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When I went to the press call at the V&A for the announcement of the up-and-coming show of work from the Middle East, I got shown the exhibition of photographs taken from the V&A’s permanent collection. The collection is of photos from 1839 to the 1960s and changes on a yearly basis. It includes some gems from the photographic archives, one of which, Parliament Street from Trafalgar Square, Attributed to M. de Ste Croix, 1839, can be seen in the slideshow below, is on a 1:10 cycle. That is, it can only be exhibited one in ten years for preservation reasons.

I highly recommend a visit before the autumn when a new set of photographs will be on display. And if that’s not possible, then read more to enjoy a virtual photo stroll and a gallery of thumbnails of all the images.

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Filed under: Documentary photography, Fashion Photography, Photographers, Photography Shows, Portraiture, Women Photographers Tagged: archives, daguerrotype, history of photography, london, M. de Ste Croix, Parliament Street from Trafalgar Square, photo exhibition, V&A Photographs Gallery 2011-12

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

  • “MediaStorm broke new ground in digital publishing on Tuesday,” writes Jonathan D. Woods for Time‘s Lightbox, “with the launch of a pay-per-story video player, one of the industry’s most exciting attempts to capitalize on the strength of multimedia productions.” The company’s founder Brian Storm explains the decision to start charging viewers $1.99 for their latest premium multimedia content.  Maggie Steber, whose piece “Rite of Passage,” is one of the first offered under this arrangement, responds to early critics of the new publishing model.
  • Kathy Ryan, for The New York Times‘ 6th Floor blog, covers the Alex Webb interview with Geoff Dyer at last weekend’s Look3 Festival, offers some choice quotes and a selection of images that appeared in the photographer’s retrospective monograph The Suffering of Light (Aperture 2011). PhotoShelter Blog offers a more extensive “Look3 Festival Round-Up,” in journal format with images of some of the exhibition spaces.
  • Joerg Colberg publishes a piece on Conscientious called “Photography After Photography (A Provocation)” which addresses the question, “Now that we’ve done all that stuff that you can see in history-of-photography books, now that we’ve become obsessed with re-creating that past over and over again – how can we turn around, to look at and move into the future?” It garnered a bit of attention and a response from Fototazo titled “What Is Progress in Photography Today?
  • PetaPixel posts this video of a talk that Lytro founder Ren Ng gave at TEDxSanJoseCA last month on the future of photography, exploring how his company’s revolutionary camera which allows users to “shoot now, focus later,” will change the art form.  They also shared a nice info-graphic this week, “A Shapshot of the Photography Industry” which illustrates just how rapidly technology has revolutionized the field. In 2000, 99% of photography was analog. Today, that number is more like 1%.
  • LIFE publishes “Father’s Day Special: Life with Famous Dads,” featuring a slideshow of images from their archive, NYTimes’ LENS Blog takes a look at work by Zun Lee, “Exploring African American Fatherhood,” and NPR’s The Picture Show profiles the highly compelling photographs by Timothy Archibald–”Frustrated By Autism, A Father Turns To Photos“–which explore not his son’s diagnosis, but their ensuing relationship.

Aperture, Chris Boot @ LOOK3 Festival

According to Time Magazine’s LightBox, “The very day after the 2011 LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph ended, this year’s guest curators—National Geographic photographer Vincent Musi and Washington Post visuals editor David Griffin—started to put together the slate of artists who will appear [for the 2012 iteration.]” This weekend, the visions of Musi and Griffin come to fruition as Charlottesville, Virginia plays host to LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph 2012.

LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph returns June 7 through 9. Pinned as a “celebration of photography, created by photographers, for those who share a passion for the still image,” LOOK3 is sponsored by BD, National Geographic magazine, and Canon USA, and hosted this year along Charlottesville, VA’s Downtown Mall. The Festival features exhibits and on-stage appearances of three “INsight” photographers, as well as exhibitions, outdoor projections, workshops and interviews over three days and nights.

INsight artists Alex Webb, Donna Ferrato, and Stanley Greene will be featured in 2012, three artists who have met the standards of having produced a significant body of work, and who are understood to possess the capacity to inspire others in the field. The weekend’s masters talks will be given by Ernesto Bazan, Hank Willis Thomas, Lynsey Addario, Bruce Gilden, Robin Schwartz and Camille Seaman, as well as Aperture Foundation’s Executive Director Chris Boot, whose more than 25 years in photography has yielded countless books commissioned, edited or published since 1984.

Aperture will be further present, assembling a special exhibition, Aperture at Sixty Library, which will showcase highlights from Aperture’s many years of publishing—first through the eponymous magazine then, starting in the 1960s, through books—that will reflect on one of the most comprehensive and influential libraries in the history of photography.

LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph
June 7 through 9, 2012
Downtown mall and other venues
Charlottesville, Virginia

Chris Boot MASTERS TALK
June 8, 2012, 11am
The Paramount Theater

Aperture at Sixty Library
June 7 through 17, 2012
200 Water St

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›› La Lettre de La Photographie profiles exhibitions at the festival by Hank Willis Thomas, Alex WebbBruce GildenStanley Greene, and many more. NYTimes‘ LENS blog takes a closer look at Thomas’ workLA Times‘ Framework interviews Mitch Dobrowner, whose work is also featured at Look3, and Time‘s LightBox speaks with guest curators Vincent Musi and David Griffin.

Master of the Photobook: Robert Delpire’s Long and Legendary Influence

Few publishers in the history of photography have had as lengthy a track record of producing books that are now considered the medium’s landmarks as Robert Delpire. As most post-war publishers often have had brief existences in the world of photobook publishing (which is stunningly disadvantageous financially), over the past 60 years, this former medical student and hobbyist photographer created and managed one of the most iconic photography and graphic arts publishing houses in Paris: Éditions Delpire. A Tribute to Robert Delpire through the work of Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Josef Koudelka, Duane Michals and Paolo Roversi runs from May 10 – June 16 at the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York City.

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Robert Delpire

Delpire’s transition from 23-year-old medical student to publisher came when he was asked to become editor-in-chief of the Maison de la Medicine’s cultural bulletin for its doctors. Delpire imagined the bulletin as a subscriber-based art review that would be richly illustrated, with a focus on photography. The first issue of Neuf (meaning both ‘new’ and ‘nine’) appeared in June 1950, and over the course of its run, would devote much of its content to photographic works by Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Izis (Israëlis Bidermanas), Willy Ronis and a young unknown artist, Robert Frank. Two of the issues were essentially monographs of Brassaï (Neuf #5) and Robert Frank (Neuf #7), which pointed toward Delpire’s interest in publishing books of photography.

Editions Delpire

Robert Frank’s Les Américains, 1958

One link between many of Delpire’s publications would be his interest in anthropology, as could be seen when he switched to publishing monographs of photographers under the short-lived imprint Huit (Eight). Robert Doisneau’s Les Parisiens Tels Qu’ils Sont (Parisians As They Are, 1954), Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Les Danses à Bali (Dances in Bali, 1954) and George Rodger’s Le Village des Noubas (The Village of the Nubas, 1955) are studies in the documentary vein encapsulated in three small-format hardcover books that feel like case studies of mankind. In 1957, he created a small collection of books on culture called the Encyclopédie Essentielle, which included the first appearance of Robert Frank’s Les Américains (The Americans, 1958). That legendary magnum opus came across less as the beatnik road-trip as which it was later perceived, but instead with a particular anthropological flavor through texts—by literary luminaries such as Faulkner, de Beauvoir, Steinbeck and others—that Delpire positioned opposite Frank’s photographs.

Delpire’s career path has been as varied as the books he has published. Aside from the realm of photobooks, he has run a publicity agency with clients that included Citroën and L’Oréal, opened a gallery in Paris, produced a number of films including two by the photographer and filmmaker William Klein, created a creative studio and publishing house called Idéodis and became the first French publisher of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are.

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A Photo Poche about the photographer Nadar.

In 1982 he was appointed by the French arts minister Jack Lang to be director of the Centre National de la Photographie, where he would organize exhibitions and create a collection of small pocket-sized books called the Photo Poche—the most successful series of photography monographs ever published. To date there are over 150 books in the collection, covering a wide range of photographic practices from the documentary-style traditions of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans and Lee Friedlander to the fine arts of Duane Michals, Paolo Roversi, Sarah Moon and Joel-Peter Witkin. Hardly any photographer’s bookcase is without a selection of these black-spine bound books.

Nevertheless, of all of his accomplishments, the name Delpire most conjures up his hand in the creation of books such as Josef Koudelka’s Gitans La Fin du Voyage (Gypsies – The End of the Voyage, 1975) and Exiles (1988), Cartier-Bresson’s D’une Chine à l’Autre (From One China to the Other, 1954) and Moscou (Moscow, 1955), Inge Morath’s Guerre à la Tristesse (War on Sadness, 1955) and De la Perse à l’Iran (From Persia to Iran, 1958), William Klein’s Tokyo (1964) and Indiens pas Morts (Indians not Dead, 1956) with photographs by Werner Bischof, Robert Frank, Pierre Verger.

Today, at 86, Delpire seems to sum up his accomplishments with a deceptively simple statement: “A publisher’s job is to showcase the work of others,” says Delpire. “It’s not just the work of a team; it requires deep mutual understanding. I’ve never published anyone who was of no interest to me.”

The Pace/MacGill Delpire tribute opens May 10 in New York City. Five simultaneous companion exhibitions across the city will expand on Delpire’s work.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions. Visit his blog here.

A Brief, Photographic History of Republished Books

As we increase our understanding of the history of photography as defined by its great accomplishments in bookmaking, the question of the availability of that printed history becomes central. The coveted first edition of a classic photo book can at times demand a higher price tag than even original photographic prints. The art of “the book,” in some circles, has overshadowed the offerings of the gallery world.

Reprints of older photobooks, commonly known as second editions, have been one way for newer generations of photographers and students of photography to become familiar with and learn from artists who came before them. Books have served me by informing and inspiring me throughout my own photographic practice for more than two decades.

But where multiple printings are common with books of literature or non-fiction, reprints are not as common for many visual books after they are considered out of print. This usually rests on two main factors: First, in the world of art book publishing, there is rarely financial gain for the publisher involved, let alone the artist. The second factor is that artists tend to be resistant to repetition, thinking that reprinting the same exact book, edition after edition, seems to be an unnecessary act.

The result is that the books tend to become rare and increasingly valuable to collectors, leaving them sought-after but difficult to see firsthand. In a medium where the book plays such an important role in its progression, it is an unfortunate fact that so many examples of some of the greatest photobooks have been essentially lost to history. That notion fueled my own publishing project, Errata Editions, which offers studies of rare photobooks that won’t see a traditional reprint because of the aforementioned reasons.

In the Errata series of “books on books,” each volume is dedicated to the study of one photobook that has been recognized as important to the history of the genre. They present images of all of the page spreads contained in the original books, along with contemporary essays about the book. Within three years, we have published twelve volumes that include studies of books by Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, Chris Killip, William Klein, Paul Graham, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, David Goldblatt and others.

Artists open to reprinting their books often tinker with their creations by reediting. However, a complete reenvisioning of the book in its entirety was apparent with Josef Koudelka’s book Gypsies. That book represented a kind of revisioning in reverse, as the 2011 edition is actually closer to Koudelka’s original vision for the book, whereas the 1975 edition was a construction of Robert Delpire, the editor and publisher.

For many other artists, what might be seen as the flaws of youthful instinct give way, over time, to a desire to clean up the editing or design in any given book, or to revisit contact sheets and give new life to many images that were left out of the original book. The Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson has republished some of his classic books, such as East 100th Street and his recent new edition of Subway, both of which present newly edited material. Davidson has also taken the advances in printing technology to heart as additional attention has been made to color-correct the images to Davidson’s current slightly colder palette.

An interesting case in point is William Klein’s masterwork Life is Good & Good for You in New York, first published in 1956. When Klein revisited those same photographs in the mid-1990s, he completely redesigned and reedited the work—removing much of the original’s energetic and experimental design—until there was little, if any, similarity to the original book. “The first book was about graphic design. The second was about the photography,” he says of the two editions. Whether you agree or not, that resistance to repeat is apparent.

Over the years a resurgence of reprints has hit bookstores, and a few have come from the German publisher Steidl. Last December saw a set of facsimile reprints of several important, if somewhat obscure, political photobooks with The Protest Box, edited by the British photographer and photobook historian Martin Parr. Elsewhere, Dewi Lewis has released another printing of the Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken’s exquisite 1954 Love on the Left Bank, which is faithful to the original. And a new edition of one of the top-selling photobooks of all time, the 1972 Diane Arbus monograph from Aperture, is now available.

While not all photobooks considered great or groundbreaking will see a reprint, one can hope that enough will exist to maintain a full sense of photobook history.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions. Visit his blog here.