More on Harry Gruyaert's 'East/West'


First Harry Gruyaert book versus East/West


Written and illustrated by Ken Tanaka

I am delighted that Mike highlighted Harry Gruyaert's new set of books, East/West. I was so darn excited when I saw the pre-announcement for this set that I immediately ordered it. Seeing more of Harry Gruyaert's work is always welcome to me and I salute Thames & Hudson for publishing this set. These books present nearly 100 of his images, most for the first time, organized thematically (in Russia "East" and Las Vegas/Los Angeles "West"). If you enjoyed his first book(s) you'll probably like these, too.

Still, I do have two primary issues with this publication. The first is the color. Kodachrome 64 features an abundant blue cast. Skilled color scanners and printers are very careful to retain just enough for that Kodachrome signature but pull it back on many frames where it can easily overwhelm the image palette. There are more than a few images in these books that are overwhelmed with K64-blue!

But that's a nit compared to my issue with the set's format. The books are needlessly narrow, forcing many bad design choices, such as frequent double-trucking and forcing landscape-oriented frames into claustrophobic portions of otherwise blank tall pages. I just do not understand why publishers let designers run amok in such a way. Harry's work would sell plenty of books. It should always be presented in the squarish format of his previous Thames & Hudson volume; that was perfect.


Landscape-oriented images really suffer in East/West


Same image as presented in original Harry Gruyaert book (top) versus East/West.

I do encourage Thames & Hudson to bring us more of Harry Gruyaert’s wonderful work. But please, just give us the images. They need no extreme design.


©2017 by Kenneth Tanaka, all rights reserved

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[Author: Michael Johnston]

Tags: Books, Photography, Harry, Michael Johnston, Mike, Ken, Amazon US, Thames Hudson, East West, Kenneth Tanaka, Ken Tanaka, Kodachrome, Amazon Canada, Russia East, Amazon UKAmazon Germany, Harry Gruyaert, Las Vegas Los Angeles West


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