The Kids Are Alright: Desire and the Post-war Photobook

The chapter opens with two grungy images of naked youth. It begins but arguing that the 1960s was a period of relaxation in terms of censorship and sexual freedoms and that the photobook reflected this with soft porn, picture essays on drug culture etc.

This chapter didn’t really appear credible to me as it reflected more about the general trend in the photobook than anything to do with youth and desire. However there were lots of good examples of books shown within the chapter (and this is the book’s strength) such as Teenage Smokers which really did offer an example of youthfulness captured in a book.

However this review does illustrate one of the problems I am encountering when talking about the photobooks. That is the different values expressed by the photos when in a photobook compared to the website. Images in the books show the photographer (or editor) made all sorts of decisions about the production values whereas when the images are shown on the website they are very different. Look at the images below. This first photo is of the Teenage Smokers photobook shown and discussed in the book.


This image below shows the same series on Templeton’s website.


So it is easy to see that things like aspect ratios, size, and relationships between images are very different when shown on each medium. So will the photobook be the “original” and the website a facsimile of the book or vice versa? Certainly just now I am deeply committed to the book as the main product of my work. It’s so self contained.


G. Badger, and M. Parr, (2014) The Photobook: A History Volume III Published by Phaidon Press


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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