I spend a lot of time on the road, so coming back to the mail is interesting. I got this not too long ago, Hmmmm. A very big promo piece for a very big book called The End, by the excellent photog Rodney Smith. The blad contained text from Rodney describing these tough times we are currently experiencing. “Gone are the days of luxurious photo-shoots with gold-gilded Hasselblads and caviar-encrusted lunchtime snacks.”
Hmmmm. I don’t miss the above described days because I don’t remember them. Last time I checked, there was nothing at Subway encrusted in caviar, and I shot Mamiya for my 120 system ’cause I couldn’t focus a Hasselblad worth spit. The promo is, as I mentioned, huge, and lavishly presented. The accompanying, hyperbolic, hopefully tongue-in-cheek intro alludes to it being “the kind of book that will set the tongues of the artistic community wagging for a thousand years.”
The book will no doubt take it’s place in the ranks of stylish efforts, as Mr. Smith is indeed a stylish and successful photog. Again, from the front matter….”An unparalleled artistic masterpiece, this book is monstrously expensive and is being produce as a Very Limited Edition…. ” Further, the book “should only be handled while wearing white gloves.” And, “its profound imagery, compounded by its brain-teasing text, comes with a stern warning: Please consult your physician or therapist before perusing its contents.” It states that “every Smith photograph is a canny encapsulation of an essential cosmic truth.”
In addition to stylish and successful, did I mention ballsy?
The accompanying letter encourages the visual community to invest wisely during these times of economic duress. “In this period of economic crisis and hardship, we photographers must band together in support of our respective endeavors.” When Wall Street is a sinkhole run by people who are supposed to be managing your money but seem generally preoccupied avoiding doing 3 to 5 at a minimum security facility, and stuffing your cash in a pillow seems as good a plan as an aggressive mutual fund, what do you do? Invest in–this book! The early bird asking price is $650 including shipping, a substantial discount off the retail price of $750. The book is described as “worth its weight in gold.”
There is an advisory about the book contained in the promo. “Its value will only increase with time, making it a prudent investment in these tricky financial times.”
It might be the way to go. I’m on the fence. I talked to my buddy Bill down at Nat Geo about it and tried to convince him we should pool our money on this. Problem is, he’s got what’s left of his dough tied up in bull semen futures.
Now here’s an entry in the “big is better” category. THE LAST MAGAZINE. Picked it up in Manhattan last week. (Downtown, where else?) For $15 bucks. Yep, 15 balloons. Geez, there are some big pictures in here. And I’m not averse to that theory, mind you. At LIFE we always used to say, “If you can’t make ’em good, make ’em big and in color!”
This mag has taken that theory and, well, enlarged on it. Many of these obscure, out of focus frames should have had a healthy chat with Mr. Delete Button, or at least remained on the hard drive until the authors had passed and thus gained a certain retrospective merit. (“He shot this during a time when he was struggling to find his vision.”) But somehow, they got loose, got fed reassuring burbles about how astonishingly fresh and new they truly are, and just like the monster in the first Alien movie, they got real big, real quick. The title of this mag is oddly appropriate. More tk…