I am not a writer, I am a visual person. Neither am I a professional critic of any kind, nor want to be. This is actually my first, and possibly only, review on Amazon or elsewhere. That said, I am a HUGE fan of Paul Graham's work and a working photographer myself. I found the overall quality of this book to be very poor. First of all the book description itself is very misleading. This book actually contains only a fraction of the New Europe and Shimmer of Possibility series. Secondly the quality of print reproduction is absolutely terrible. The excerpts from the "Shimmer" series in particular are ridiculously bad. It literally looks as if the images that they printed were taken as screen grabs directly from Mr. Graham's website and reproduced digitally at 72dpi and then made up somewhat for that by printing on semi-descent paper. Another issue is also that, because Mr. Graham's work is often in a series, they chose to print many of the pictures grouped as such, which makes sense, but the images are printed so small....approximately 1x1.5 inches!....that the viewer is unable in some cases to actually make out what they are actually pictures of! There is very little in the way of any detail, whatsoever, in many of the photo's. I can't actually believe that anyone signed off on this, let alone Mr. Graham himself. I am an avid photo book collector and have seen many many self published books that surpassed the overall quality of the printing and layout of this book by miles. It's such a shame, I was really looking forward to this book. Needless to say, I returned it immediately.
I confirm everything the preceding reviewer said about this book. I am a photographer myself who is building a library of mostly photobooks. I've read great stuff about Paul Graham which prompted me to buy this since I have yet to own any of his reported 12 books published so far in his career. But this particular publication is a disappointment and it will be sent back.
This book is such a disappointment! The photographs are printed in small size and low resolution! While I'm a big fan of Paul Graham's work and I consider A Shimmer of Possibilities as one of the best photography books from the last decade, this book is just a series of thumbnails, not a photography book. To be avoided by all means. How could Paul Graham give his approval to this release?
So I recently bought a copy of Paul Graham: Europe, America at Dashwood Books in NYC. I admire his work and books on him are hard to come by (they sell out really fast). Then I came across the book listing on Amazon and saw the negative reviews that had come in. I don't really understand the general vitriol here. First off, the quality of the printing is not nearly as bad as you would think from the reviews. It may not be Steidl quality printing, but it certainly better than "72dpi screen grabs" as one reviewer states. In not one case can you not make out what is in the pictures. Some are quite small, but the book itself is modestly sized and many of the works are shown as part of off centered grids. Second, this book is really the only way to view a substantial number of works from either New Europe or Shimmer without dropping $200-$300, which makes them unobtainable for many people. If you only have the chance to buy one book on Graham, this seems like a good enough place to start. This book is a bit on the high side for a book of its format ($60), but it is an import from Spain. Plus, if you ordered it on Amazon it is only costing you $43. As it turns out the book was published in a very small edition and is already sold out at the book's distributor. So if nothing else this book is going to be good investment. Lastly, the actual content in this book is very solid. The book originated from an exhibition in Spain, includes two interesting, well written essays, and a great interview with the artist. It explains a lot about Graham's development as an artist, why he works the way he does, how his work fits into a certain photographic tradition, and how these two series relate to the formation of his artistic identity.Read more ›