Modern Times is a monumental book that does justice to the Rijksmuseum’s rich and glittering collection of twentieth century international photography. It is divided into ten themes with a historical introduction. In terms of their imagery the photos are very varied, but with their picture editing and thematic placing the editors and designer have created intriguing contrasts, graphic matches and substantive or photographic connections. Leafing through this book is a feast, not just because of the high quality of the photos in the Rijksmuseum’s collection but also because of the rhythm of old and new, the alternation of spreads, collage-like pages and photographs positioned in isolation with the rest of the page as backing.
The book’s monumentality is emphasized by the substantial, sharply rectangular book block, while the lemon-green colour on the edges gives added cachet to the modernistic aura of the book-as-object with its dainty/heroic photo of the Olympic women’s diving champion of 1936 on the front cover. The paper used for the interior has been well chosen and the cover has an attractive feel thanks to the uncoated, unlaminated paper. The lithography and printing have been beautifully done. The panel were universally happy with this book.