Sunday, 11 July 2010

Oi, Nazraeli, No!!

I've kicked myself a couple of times over not snagging copies of Todd Hido's books when they came out -- I like his work very much, and the books fall into that "instant pension fund" category I discussed a while ago. So I ordered myself a copy of A Road Divided as soon as it appeared.

I was less than delighted when it arrived, however: where I had anticipated a normal-sized photobook, this thing is an inflated 43 x 34.5 cm, difficult to look at without binoculars, and impossible to shelve. That's a normal octavo book on top of it in the picture, and the Guardian broadsheet newspaper beneath it. I stood on a chair to get the angle.

The pictures are, of course, excellent, but not well served by being presented gallery wall size. It's like trying to browse a stack of 20" x 16" prints in your lap. They're moody pieces, with large areas of featureless tone, and you're hardly going to be playing "Where's Wally?" with them. At that size you need to be about four or more feet away from the print -- I don't know about you, but my arms are not that long.

Notice also the blistered cover. Quality control at Nazraeli is clearly not what it might be. As the book lacks a dust-jacket, those bubbles are doomed to wear through pretty quickly. Luckily, I bought my (signed) copy from the Photo-Eye online bookstore, and they arranged a replacement (signed) copy direct from Nazraeli, who were generous enough to let me keep the original, too, which I will pass on to a good cause.

But this has to stop! I know everything is bigger in the US, but this is ridiculous... How do the publishers imagine anyone actually looking at such oversized books? On a ladder?


Paul C. said...

A day or two before I read your post I listened to an interview with Todd Hido at
I highly recommend it. He talks about everything from inspiration to film. I'll bet he is a good teacher.

Mike C. said...

Thanks for that, Paul, I'll certainly give that one a listen. I'm a bit of an addict of photographer interviews -- there's a nice series of interviews with some outstanding photographers by John Paul Caponigro here: