The Book of 101 Books. Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century. Text by Andrew Roth, Vince Aletti, Richard Benson, May Castleberry, Jeffrey Fraenkel, Daido Moriyama, Shelley Rice, David Lee Strauss. PPP Editions, New York, 2001. 320 pp. Quarto. First edition. Clothbound with printed dust jacket. 500 color illustrations.
Some would say that the Golden Age in the market for photobooks was spurred in large part by the 2001 appearance of the what has come to be known as the 'Roth 101'. As Roth said of the project, "The history of the photographic book goes back well more than a century; the medium of photography and the book format were understood very early on to relate to each other on both technical and aesthetic levels. The examples of truly great combination of photographic image and text, great design and typography bound together as books are numerous and make up an impressive artistic, social and documentary statement of the 20th century."
The Book of 101 Books has achieved the status of a definitive reference in the field. And while it offers some history and commentary of considerable scholarly heft--with contributions by David Levi-Strauss, Vince Aletti, Neville Wakefield, Shelley Rice, and others--when compared to Martin Parr and Gerry Badger's: The Photobook: A History (Vol. I, 2004 and Vol. II, 2006, and now Vol. III)--reads as more of an exercise in connoisseurship: an examination of a group of photobooks as assembled by one individual (who also published the book), in an attempt to define the qualities that make these books great.