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Beruhmte Zeitgenossen by Erich Salomon, First Edition, 1931



Beruhmte Zeitgenossen by Erich Salomon

First Edition, First Printing, 1931

Very Good Condition

This is a first edition, first printing of Erich Solomon’s pioneering photobook, “Beruhmte Zeitgenossen in unbewachten Augenblicken (Famous Contemporaries in Unguarded Moments )” published by J. Engelhorns Nachf, Stuttgart, in 1931. Dubbed the "King of Indiscretion", Erich Salomon was one of the world’s first photo journalists and the inventor of candid camera photography. In “The Open Book”, Andrew Roth writes: “To capture history’s most powerful figures in their “unguarded moments,” Salomon often hid his Ermanox camera in his bowler hat or briefcase. Featured here are photographs of the reclusive William Randolph Hearst playing solitaire at San Simeon, cabaret-goers in Wiesbaden, Albert Einstein listening to a Reichstag speech, Benito Mussolini conferring with German statesmen in Rome’s Hotel Excelsior, and an image of Pablo Casals “that shows the great musician in ecstasy, with his eyes closed and his fingers blurred on the strings.” As Hitler rose to power, Salomon fled Germany with his family but all were eventually captured. “It is one of the tragic ironies of history that this man who did so much to humanize the face of power, to disseminate spontaneous and intimate images of international rulers in the mass media, to democratize information about the working processes of government, became a cog in the wheel of the Hitler machine and died in a concentration camp”.

Featuring 104 plates with texts in German, English, French and Spanish and measuring approximately 10” x 7”, the book is bound in the original blue cloth covered boards without the very scarce dust jacket. The condition of the book is Very Good with some fraying to the crown and heel of the spine, scattered soiling, and sunning to the boards. The internals are Near Fine with some age toning to the text pages. Overall, this is a presentable copy of one of the pioneering photobooks.

Cited in all three reference books on photobooks: “The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century” by Andrew Roth and “The Photobook: A History”, by Parr and Badger, and “The Open Book” by Andrew Roth.

Photographs of the books cover as well as stock images contained in the book appear in the photo section of the listing.