- Series: Books on Books (Book 5)
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Errata Editions; 1 edition (February 28, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1935004085
- ISBN-13: 978-1935004080
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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William Klein: Life is Good & Good for You in New York: Books on Books No. 5 1st Edition
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I liked the presentation of the original book in these pages: sometimes it is two spreads to a page; one to a page or one spread over two pages. Either way I enjoyed Klein's playful sizing and placing of photos creating an editorial pacing that he thought reflected the cities energy.
The printing is on a good matt art, with an impressive 250 screen, that does justice to the high contrast gutsy photos in the original. The contrasty look was due to the Swiss printer offering a limited choice of black or grey ink (it's worth knowing that there are several types of black ink as there are dozens of different white papers).
Despite the impressionistic nature of Klein's photos and their dazzling pacing through the pages he did manage to provide captions. I never knew this but the original had a fourteen page booklet of captions and bits of pictorial Americana, attached by twine to the book. This booklet is also reproduced here (in red and black) and I just wonder how many of the original book, selling for hundreds of dollars, still include it.
The back of the book includes a 1980 essay about Klein by Max Kozloff from Artforum and a piece by Jeffrey Ladd on the production of the original French edition. Incidentally Klein redesigned his masterpiece in the nineties with more shots and pages but unfortunately he made all the photos cover each spread and had them bleed off the page. This, I feel, makes it an entirely different book to the 1956 one, copies of this are pretty expensive, too.
***SEE SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'cusomer images' under the cover.
Possibly this is actually a bizarre case of copyright infringement.
It could be somewhat interesting from a conceptual viewpoint and if the images on the images of the original photos were large and clear enough, unfortunately the images are really too small and photos that were spread over two pages are depicted accordingly with a line going through them.
Unless you want to annoy someone and give this as a gift I do not recommend it. Now trying to return it for full refund (inclusive shipping) not sure if that will work.
Should definitely have first read the reviews of this item, but the book is in photographer's circles known as a classic are rare to come by (one more warning light I overlooked...) so I didn't hesitate, but honestly: I never would have thought someone could have such a bizarre idea.
Errata's cloth binding and good-quality paper cannot compensate for a whole bunch of Ugly in the layout and printing. To start with, pages in the original are 40% larger. And then Errata has chosen to severely reduce many spreads, cramming 8 pages onto 2.
While Klein intended to create a strident tabloid newspaper-style book, many of his images descend into incomprehensible chaos in this miniature format. Complex photographs are reproduced at less than credit-card size, and placed next to other tiny and confusing images. Some of the best shots are no bigger than commemorative stamps!
And then it gets worse. Reproduction quality is very dark throughout. The persistent lack of shadow detail is especially annoying. (I disagree with reviewer Robin Benson on this point.)
A BBC feature-interview available on-line shows images from Klein's own copy of the book. There's much more tonal detail. This is also clear from viewing his images on-line from other sources.
Page-flips through Klein's later book New York are also on-line and show some, not all, of the images in greater size and vastly better detail.
Life is Good... is groundbreaking and comes at the time (mid-50s) that Robert Frank was taking images for The Americans, revolutionary in its own way but traditional in format. It could be argued that Klein's effort is superior--and that only makes Errata's inferior reprint even more of a shame.
I don't regret purchasing this edition, I only wish there was something better.
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