All photographs on this site copyright of Antoine Boesch

collecting photo books



A photo mag I occasionally read had this feature (if you can call that a single-page spread interspersed with photos) about photo book collecting.

The gist was you supposeldy had to anchor this around a specific theme, such as: a particular photographer, a photographic movement, a subject, a country, etc.

First thought was, err, if I'm going to spend not unsubstantial sums on things that end up being heavy and taking up quite a lot of space, why not base such a collection upon books that, well, I simply like ?!

How's that for a novel idea ?! though a particular feature of the sometimes mad art-world we're living in does appear to be how rarely people seem to base purchasing decisions simply on how much they like a particular work.

That's why I've never much liked talking of my numerous CD's of photo books in terms of collections. Whilst they are collections of similar items, I was never bothered to construct them so that they may appear objectively coherent; I was always much keener that they should include only CD's and photo books that I truly enjoyed, to minimize the "dead weight" or "dead space" taken up with items that would have been there just for show, and maximize the wonderful time spent in wonder among the notes or pages.

A methodically built photo book collection, aside from the fact that, from the collector's own perspective, it might contain many duds, would be entirely lacking in quirkiness and personnality, and whilst the result might be applauded as coherent and comprehensive, according to whatever benchmark, it would likely be much less inviting to others.

So hands up anyone who'd care to explain why I should include in my collection books that I don't necessarily like, striving towards a result that, whilst intellectually interesting, wouldn't necessarily appeal to another actual human being/photo lover ?!

Beats me.

#portraits #photobooks