Thursday, July 07, 2011

An ebook Review

I have decided to add some photo book reviews to the mix of this blog. I have a growing collection of ebooks. Ebooks are an interesting idea, a kind of democratizing of the publishing industry. One problem with getting a photo book published in the traditional manner is the expense of producing a large enough printing (5K or more) to get the per copy cost down to a price point that will sell in a mass market. As a consequence many photo books rely on images made in tried and true iconic locations. An ebook allows the author to take chances on subject matter that a traditional publisher might not want to risk.

With "Intimate Portraits of the Colorado Plateau" Guy Tal takes advantage of the economy of digital publishing to present a personal collection of wonderful landscape images. While some might bemoan the lack of a well printed book lying on the lap (I like those too) the digital format has the distinct advantage of being viewed in the same back lit manner that most photographers do their editing these days, thus (I believe) the images in an ebook are a truer representation of the photographer's intent than the printed page would or could be. Also the printed book becomes a thing in itself, separate from the subjects it represents, while the ephemeral image on the screen retains more of the "moment in time" quality of standing in the landscape itself. Lacking physicality, it becomes more nearly an experience of that moment.

Guy writes about how he came to the Colorado Plateau, influences on his photography and "the place" but it is through the photographs that the reader stands in his shoes and senses the deep affinity he feels for his adopted home. Rather than the grand view, Guy has given us landscape on a scale to "be" in, a scale we can relate to rather than be overwhelmed by and he has done so with a keen sense of color, form and space. This is a generous book of 146 pages loaded with Guy's unique vision. I am particularly fond of  the images of details, my favorite of which (from page 8) appears below.
I like the fact that Intimate Portraits is laid out as single pages, No photographs are spread across a gutter  as is often done in print and even a few ebooks I have bought. I highly recommend Intimate Portraits of the Colorado Plateau for your collection of digital monographs and if you haven't started collecting ebooks this would be a great start.

Guy has published other ebooks as well. You can find them at If the link doesn't work for you copy and paste "" (minus the quotation marks) to your browser.

Disclaimer: Guy Tal did not request nor did he give me anything in exchange for this review. It was initiated solely by me and reflects my own opinions. I did request and Guy granted permission to reproduce the images used.

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