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Book of the Week: A Pick by Andrew Roth

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Andrew Roth Andrew Roth selects The Human Snapshot edited by Thomas Keenan & Tirdad Zolghadr as Book of the Week.
The Human Snapshot edited by Thomas Keenan 
Tirdad Zolghadr. Sternberg Press/Luma Foundation, 2013.
This week's Book of the Week pick comes from Andrew Roth who has selected The Human Snapshot edited by Thomas Keenan & Tirdad Zolghadr from the Sternberg Press/Luma Foundation.

"April 12, 2015

Dear Melanie,

In the spirit of the essay 'Humanist Correspondence,' written by Alex Klein in The Human Snapshot, the book I am recommending to you… I have chosen to write you a short note.

I purchased this book from the New York Art Book Fair back in 2013 on an impulse because it looked seductive: a color photograph inset onto the vivid-blue, front panel with yellow-painted fore-edges… but only just last week cracked open the shrink-wrap. I am a fan of most of Sternberg Press’s books and this one, particularly beautiful in design, is also an engaging read. It is a byproduct of a conference organized at the LUMA Foundation in Arles by Maja Hoffman in association with the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard. The book kicks off with a 32-page montage (page numbers in bold Roman numerals) of black-and-white photographs on a thin, smoothly coated paper stock, printing images discussed in the accompanying essays which are written by 18 different authors, each reassessing, commenting on or taking as a point of departure Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man exhibition and publication. The text pages are printed on a heavy weight, uncoated stock, in keen contrast to the image block. The typeface is simple and generic but over-sized.

I was most drawn to Alex Klein’s essay which discusses the importance of visual and written communication between thinkers, curious minds, colleagues; building what he references as '…a community of thought.' Klein recounts that his father, after having seen The Family of Man exhibition at MoMA began corresponding with various photographers, in hopes to purchase their work, out of sheer love for their images and a desire to live with them on his walls: to purchase is a form of communicating. Klein reproduces two letters, one his father wrote to the photographer Gotthard Schuh and the other a letter he received from Paul Strand, in the 1960s. Klein’s father was looking to purchase The Family, one of Strand’s most iconic images, but was not willing to pay the $200 for a 5x7 inch print Strand had quoted him. In turn Strand straightforwardly suggests he look for and purchase a copy of a British Photography Yearbook from 1963 featuring a portfolio of 16 gravures, made under Strand’s supervision. He states: 'Most of them are first class, The Family among them…' Though this detail was not central to the ideas Klein was putting forth, it was the reproduction of the hand-written letter and that inimitable Paul Strand signature that sucked me in. Perhaps because hand-written letters have become so scarce or maybe the fact that I am presently working to sell a collection of correspondence… or the fact that I am about to move into an apartment that Strand lived in, in the 1960s... from where he most likely had written the letter.

I hope this works for you… Regards,

Andrew Roth, publisher of PPP Editions"—Andrew Roth

Purchase Book

The Human Snapshot edited by Thomas Keenan Tirdad Zolghadr. Sternberg Press/Luma Foundation, 2013.
The Human Snapshot edited by Thomas Keenan Tirdad Zolghadr. Sternberg Press/Luma Foundation, 2013.

Andrew Roth specializes in selling rare photographic and artist’s books from the 20th century, while also publishing limited edition books himself under his imprint PPP Editions. He maintains a gallery in New York primarily exhibiting the work of photographic artist’s from the 60s and 70s, as well as contemporary art. Over the past 10 years he has presented exhibitions by key Japanese artists Makoto Aida, Nobuyoshi Araki, Ishiuchi Miyako, Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu, Tadanori Yokoo, and Keizo Kitajima. Along with exhibitions on the work of Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Robert Heinecken, Ed Ruscha, Collier Schorr and David Wojnarowicz. In 1999 he presented PROVOKE, the first exhibition in the US to outline a critical history of rare Japanese photographic books. In 2001 he published THE BOOK OF 101 BOOKS — a primer on the history of the photographic book, which went on to help define the rare photographic book market of today. Recent publications include: IN NUMBERS: SERIAL PUBLICATIONS BY ARTISTS SINCE 1955, William E. Jones’ KILLED, Ishiuchi Miyako’s SWEET HOME YOKOSUKA, Larry Clark’s PUNK PICASSO, Leigh Ledare’s PRETEND YOU’RE ACTUALLY ALIVE and MALE: FROM THE COLLECTION OF VINCE ALETTI.

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