• Steven Heller

Books on Photobooks

It took a trip to Rome to find what is under my nose. In a lovely little bookshop, ONEROOM Books, Art & Photo—the title refers to it being one room and a small closet—is a wealth of excellent international photobooks and books on and about photobooks. The store is run by the amiable Stefano Ruffa, and has things not readily available in New York City, including an entire series by Manhattan-based Errata Editions. The under-my-nose-and-have-not-seen-it-in-New York–purchase included a reprint of Alexey Brodovitch’s most famous photographic book, Ballet.

These are well-designed series of reprints but not facsimiles, which makes them interesting documents but not reproductions of the original. They even state, “The Errata Editions Books on Books series is an ongoing publishing project dedicated to making rare and out-of-print photography books accessible to students and photobook enthusiasts. These are not reprints nor facsimiles but comprehensive studies of rare books.”

Still, books like Ballet are so rare that it is important to have them in any well-produced format. And another book that is worth having is Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s 60 Fotos—while not a rarity it is nonetheless a treat to have in this form.

But these are not simply excerpts or thumbnails. “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 to experience. Through a mix of classic and contemporary titles, this series spans the breadth of photographic practice as it has appeared on the printed page, enabling further study into the creation and meanings of these great works of art,” states the website.

The true breadth of each book is shown with “illustrations of every page in the original photobook being featured; contemporary essays by established writers on photography, composed specially for this series; production notes about the production of the original edition; biography and bibliography information about each artist.”

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