The book is divided into 9 thematic chapters, each featuring general introductory text providing background information and highlighting the dominant political and artistic influences on the photobook in the period, followed by more detailed discussion of the individual photobooks. The introductory chapter texts are followed by spreads and images from over 200 books, which provide the central means of telling the history of the photobook. Chosen by Parr and Badger, these illustrations show the most artistically and culturally important photobooks in three dimensions, with the cover or jacket and a selection of spreads from the book shown.
The work of Martin Parr bridges the divide between art and documentary photography. His studies of the idiosyncrasies of mass culture and consumerism around the world, his innovative imagery and his prolific output have placed him firmly at the forefront of contemporary art. His recent publications include Luxury (2008) and Life Is a Beach(2012). A member of the international photo agency Magnum, Parr is an avid collector of books and a world authority on the photobook.
Gerry Badger is a photo historian, architect and critic. He regularly writes and lectures on photography and has curated a number of exhibitions. His published books includeCollecting Photography (2003) and monographs on John Gossage and Stephen Shore, as well as Phaidon’s 55s on Chris Killip (2001) and Eugene Atget (2001). In 2007 he published The Genius of Photography, the book of the BBC television series of the same name, and in 2010 The Pleasures of Good Photographs, an anthology of essays that was awarded the 2011 Infinity Writers’ Award from the International Center of Photography, New York.