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I Want to Take Picture by Bill Burke, First Edition



I Want to Take Picture by Bill Burke

First Edition, First Printing, 1987

Limited to 1000 Copies

Near FINE Condition

This is a first edition, first printing of Bill Burke’s critically acclaimed photobook “The I Want to Take Picture” published by Nexus Press, Atlanta in 1977 with a limitation of 1000 unnumbered copies. “I Want to Take Picture” is a combination artist book and 'travelogue.' It is considered by many to be one of the very best, disturbing and important books in the history of photography. In the 2007 reprint, the publishers provide a wonderful essay on the significance of the book, “Driven by a desire to better understand the plight of the people in southeast Asia as affected by the repercussions of Pol Pot's terrible regime, Bill Burke photographed the region - Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam - over the course of several years, beginning in 1982. The results are compiled in "I Want to Take Picture," which stands apart from the usual fare of both photography on this subject and documentary photography in general through Burke's obvious desire to connect with the people on a basic level. Notably, he does not really identify "good" and "bad" people, or even a right side and a wrong side. He sees only victims of circumstance. This is as much Burke's story as it is his subjects' - a personal journey in an effort to understand the truth and to experience himself the circumstances of the war he was initially relieved to have missed fifteen years earlier. He again sets this book apart by wrapping his photos in related ephemera, made to look like a journal: cigarette packs, newspaper clippings, beer labels, handwritten notes, and fliers.” Bill Burke commenting on the book wrote, “all the information is filtered, everything I know about it is secondhand. I know what the refugees at the border say and what books say. I heard how bad the Khmer Rouge were, and then as I read more I found out the other people had been bad too. The people who were victims at one time were victimizing others at another time. There are two sides, the information is slanted, and it's good that people understand that. I would like things to be spelled out clearly so I wouldn't have to think about it. But that's not the way it is. I can't say this is this and that is that. There is no indisputable truth."

Measuring approximately 15.25” x 11.5” and containing numerous black-and-white and four-color photographs, the book is bound in photographically illustrated laminated boards, no dust jacket as issued. Overall, the book is in Near FINE condition. The internals of the book are in FINE condition. The boards are in Near FINE- condition with a small nick to the spine, a bump to the bottom edges, and surface wear.

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

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