Frits Gierstberg Editor
Rik Suermondt Editor
Book design by Joost Grootens
Aperture, New York, 2012, English
Nonfiction, Photography
11 x 9. 5 inches, hardcover, 240 pages 620 color illustrations
ISBN: 9781597112000
Suggested Retail Price: $75.00

From the Publisher. The Dutch photobook is internationally recognized for its innovative and collaborative approach between photographers, printers, and designers. Dutch graphic designers have long worked at the forefront of their discipline, often crossing existing boundaries and exploring new territories—qualities that have become an integral part of contemporary Dutch photobook culture.

The current photobook publishing boom in The Netherlands springs from a long-standing tradition of excellence. This tradition precedes World War II, but the aftermath of the war marked a period of particularly close collaboration between photographers and designers. Their contributions led to such unique photography books as Ed van der Elsken’s Love on the Left Bank (1956) and Chili September by Koen Wessing (1973). Innovations such as the photo novel and the company photobook bloomed in the 1950s and 60s. Later, other genres emerged as part of the publishing landscape, including conceptual and documentary works.

The Dutch Photobook features selections from approximately 100 historic, contemporary, and self-published photobook projects, including landmarks such as Hollandse taferelen by Hans Aarsman (1989), The Table of Power by Jacqueline Hassink (1996), Why Mister Why by Geert van Kesteren (2006), and Empty Bottles by Wassink Lundgren (2007).

Dutch photo historians Frits Gierstberg and Rik Suermondt contribute several texts on the history of the genre, the collaborative efforts between photographers and designers, and their inspiration and influences, to complement the special, high quality reproductions of photobooks. Award-winning designer Joost Grootens contributes unique charts and diagrams that bring all of these elements together, forming a visually unique map of the Dutch photobook.

Also see The Latin American Photobook (2011).

On 1 book list
Rick Poynor

Despite some stiff competition, this survey of the Dutch photobook is my most notable visual book of the year to date. It is one of those groundbreaking publications (certainly for non-Dutch readers) that takes a field one knows only in fragments, puts it all together, and gives it new coherence—the obvious precursor is Martin Parr and Gerry Badger’s two-volume history of the photobook. The editors organize the photobooks by theme, each topic succinctly introduced—landscape, youth culture, industry, travel, the city—and give each example a page or two of pictures and a short text. Joost Grootens builds the layouts with real sympathy for the material, and rounds off the story with an elaborate visual index that shows the books on a timeline, and classifies them by photographer, designer, physical size, and size of print run. A marvelous book.

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