Binders have not spent the past few years sitting on their hands. Indeed, it looks as if, at least in books meant for reading, the hard cover has made something of a comeback in terms of market share, albeit with glue instead of thread. In books for looking at we are witnessing the rise of separate sections – on narrower, shorter or simply smaller formats – being glued or sewn into books at surprising places.
In this book of pop star photos from the seventies by Gijsbert Hanekroot this last development has reached something of an apotheosis. Throughout the book the formats vary, not section by section but by gatherings of four pages each. Alongside full-size pages a quick glance reveals narrow and extra-narrow pages, quarter pages, half-height and three-quarters-height pages, not to mention pages that are narrow and short at the same time. It is an absolutely amazing piece of work by the binder to get all this together in a print run of six thousand copies. That doesn’t detract from the fact that such a masterpiece by the binder isn’t in itself enough to earn selection for the book in question. There’s more to it than that.
What’s more to this book is the clear choices that have been made. The whole thing is nothing but photographs, and every single one of them is a bleed. There’s not even room for any preliminaries. However, seldom have captions been missed as little as here. Sometimes you can hear the music in your head even before you realize that you can’t quite put your finger on the name to go with it. At the back there is a switch to text stock, on which the photographer-publisher provides an explanatory note of exactly one page. This is followed by an alphabetical index of names, complete with thumbnails. Hanekroot himself appears on the flaps and on the front cover – reflected in Neil Young’s shades. The printer has opened the black tap as far as it will go: Heidelberger in the role of Telecaster.