The (Sometimes Obsessive) Allure of Books with Photos

The (Sometimes Obsessive) Allure of Books with Photos

I arrived home late last night after a delayed flight back from Maine, and I immediately went to the computer to rustle up a copy of Richard Misrach’s On The Beach. I’ve been waiting to buy this book for months; primarily because whenever I stare at it in a store I am either not in a moneyed way, or am far from my house. And that thing is Big and Heavy. This time it was the “far from my house” excuse, as I saw it in Portland at Books, Etc. So home I come, and I ring up a trusty website to make the $85 purchase. Which seems absolutely bargain basement for what you’re getting, which is a 16×20 book with 80 pages of staggeringly beautiful photographs.

Thumbnail image for misrach1.jpg

Ok, so this is all well and good, but this book now seems to be UNAVAILABLE. I tried Aperture, I tried Strand, I tried PhotoEye, I tried Dashwood, Vincent Borrelli, and many others. It either wasn’t in stock, or was being sold used and damaged, or was a hugely expensive signed edition. So now I started to panic. It’s true how you want things more when you can’t have them. I now had like ten windows open on my computer, and was feeling pain over all the OTHER photo books I was supposed to have purchased long ago, but which are no longer available.

I then checked my inbox, and had an email from an “Ann Furthermore” (clever!) telling me about a new photo book blog, and I felt like a failure. I did not have the books I needed to have. Now it was 2am, and I had my credit card, and I made up for lost time. Here are the purchases I made:


I woke up this morning, still thinking that I’d rather be in debt than not get the books I need. So I called the store in Maine, and they’re shipping me the last copy in stock of On the Beach. Phew.

Anyone else have this affliction, or is it just me? Now I just need some Taryn Simon, some Elger Esser, and Nein, Oncle.

See good book reviews of On the Beach here and here. And here are some images:

Thumbnail image for misrach4.jpg

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for misrach3.jpg
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for misrach01.jpg
Misrach was influenced in part by the poses he saw when people fell
from buildings on 9/11, and also by the apocalyptic (and really eerie)
movie On the Beach, which I saw with my father way before I should have been seeing a movie about nuclear war.

But Ava Gardner was hot.

Next Post:
Previous Post:
This article was written by
There are 4 comments for this article
  1. stephen z at 2:47 pm

    no no no! i kick my own ass all the time over this. i remember seeing a first edition of Bill Burke’s “I want to take picture” in the early 90’s at the Ansel Adams Center book store in San Francisco (r.i.p.) and being amazed by it. i was a poor student and couldn’t afford it at the time and when i was finally able to buy it, it was gone. late last year i found the Twin Palms Press re-issue and this time didn’t hesitate. it’s not the signed slip cased edition i originally saw but it still gave me the same thrill as when i first saw it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *