Tuesday 20 August 2002

Horace Bristol’s vision

Horace Bristol: from Honeymoon, Japan, 1948Thanks to Jeff Ward for alerting me to Horace Bristol’s Japan (a “folio of 14-16 page pamphlets bound together in a wrap-around case with bone closures”). I always considered myself well-informed about documentary photography in 30s America but I hadn’t heard of Bristol and certainly didn’t know that he had collaborated with John Steinbeck; nor was I aware of his Japan and Korea photographs. I was so taken by the “honeymoon” photograph (at left) that I tracked down a copy of the Japan book via abebooks.com and just received an email from the merchant to say that they’ll ship it to me today. The picture that Jeff reproduced from Bristol’s Korea book is terrific too—though I prefer the unashamedly “staged” quality of the Japanese photograph. Given that documentary photographs are never transparently truthful, but invariably constructed, I admire pictures that acknowledge the fundamental dishonesty that lies at their core, even as they pretend to depict “reality.”

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I have been trying to find the Horace Bristol book that you mentioned and just tried the Abe web site. Unfortunately they come back with nothing available. Could you send me any additional information that you have on the book, such as the publisher and publication date?
Thank you, Cindy Galvin

Posted by Cindy Galvin on 29 April 2003 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour