I recently reviewed Robert Adams' photo book denver: A Photographic Survey of the Metropolitan Area, 1970-1974 and 'What we bought' should really be considered together as Adams overview of the city landscape back in the early seventies. My review of 'denver' equally applies to this book of 193 tritone photos.
Regarding the actual book production, part of my 'denver' review is worth repeating:
It's all very well haveing stunning photos but I've seen (and own) several photo books where the actual book detracts from the contents. With 'denver' everything works perfectly. The design was by Katy Homans, who I felt contributed to the success of several Lee Friedlander titles, Thomas Palmer did the separations and you can see how good these are by looking at the sky in any of the photos. You can see clouds and texture which in many photo books just fade into the whiteness of the paper. Meridian Printing did their bit too. You don't see many books that are printed in six hundred line screen and with denver there is a spot varnish to almost lift the images of the page. A beautifully produced book of stunning images.
Adams with these two books helped to create, with others, the photographic genre: The New Topographics, a new way of looking at the man-made landscape. Denver has probably changed considerably since these fascinating photos documented the spread of the city into the countryside but I think they capture the vibrancy of the American New West even now.
A rather underwhelming title spread.
Left: the absence of any captions means I'll never know what the circular building was.
The last few photos in the book show gathering darkness and then finally some night shots of homes. A neat way to end the book.
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