Saturday, January 01, 2005


OK, I Admit It

Sean O'Hagan in The Observer takes note of Martin Parr's follow-up to his gloriously droll collection Boring Postcards. This time it's The Photobook: A History, which reviews more than a century's worth of some truly odd coffee-table books:

At the more surreal end of the scale - the end, one suspects, that Parr prefers - sits The Book of Bread , a true testament to the power of individual obsession. Written by a lecturer called Owen Simmons in 1903, it is an illustrated guide to the minutiae of bread manufacture, complete with lifesize photographs of cross sections of every kind of loaf, from the humble batch to the barn-brack. There is even a short chapter entitled 'Holes in Bread', and an accompanying photograph of the perfect perforated slice. 'However critical readers might be,' writes Simmons, 'they will be forced to admit that never before have they seen such a complete collection of prize loaves illustrated in such an excellent manner.'

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