Unboxing ‘Spring Tide’

I became aware of Spring Tide: Van Zoetendaal & The Collection thanks to a rather glowing, if unrated, review by Jörg Colberg. If not for him and his reviews, my wallet would be somewhat heavier, and bookshelves substantially lighter.

Colberg has much more to say, and says it much better, than I do, so I won’t blame you if you leave here for there before continuing on…

Spring Tide doesn’t add much weight to the shelves (or take much from the wallet), but it does add a good bit of variety to my photobook collection. The book came about as a catalog for an exhibition at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, guest curated by Willem van Zoetendaal, and includes photographs from over 20 Dutch photographers. Prior to reading Colberg’s review and flipping through the book, I hadn’t heard of any of them.

Van Zoetendaal is a publisher, and he did a great job with this little book. It’s intimately sized and printed, and quite different from the big glossy exhibition catalogs in my collection (like Laura Wilson’s That Day, for example, which is really a monograph, or An American Century of Photography), and the dual language essay and photographer bios come at the end, so you don’t have to wade through 10000 words on the history of the collection to get to the photos.

One interesting thing: the photographs were all printed uncropped, fresh from the negatives, which leaves me a bit curious. I sometimes crop, especially when I get a wonky horizon or miss some distracting bit on the edge of the frame. While it’s interesting to see the full frames, we’ve lost the photographer’s intent/vision, and without the original crop to compare, I’m not sure how we catalog owners benefit, vs, for example, seeing the photographs printed as they were exhibited.

For this little confusion, I take some points off of the concept, but the content and design are first rate, and I’m not sure it’s fair to penalize too much.

Concept
Content
Design

Overall, I give Spring Tide a solid 4.3 stars.

Copies are available from Van Zoetendaal, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a copy.

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