There’s a trend in photography over the last 20 years or so to create a book around a certain topic or theme. Usually it’s a topic that has been studied extensively over a number of years. It might be African farm labourers or Gypsies or Mennonites but the end result is a book that tries in some way to explain through images a certain alien world.
It’s a bit like the 60’s and 70’s obsession with the concept album, which made the assumption that there was greater depth in a double album opus of themed songs than in the humble single.
I’m beginning to believe the exact reverse is true. Particularly when looking at Elliott Erwitt’s book Snaps. It’s almost like a greatest hits collection. There is no connecting theme here other than the photographer himself and his ability to spot the comedy in every day scenes.
These images where snapped over many years in many different places but with careful editing they come to represent a point of view and create a world. Often books like this are considered less than the more serious works by photojournalists but I’m prepared to bet that people will be enjoying Eliott Erwitt’s amazing pictures long after many of today’s lauded ‘deep’ books.