Aperture 10:4 1962 (Frederick Sommer 1939-1962). Words not spent today Buy Smaller images tomorrow. Photographs, text, and design by Sommer. Brief introduction by Minor White. Aperture, NY, 1962. Octavo (Small size). First and only edition. White clothbound. No jacket as issued. Black-and-white reproductions.
This scarce, early issue of Aperture--especially in this hardbound issue-- was closely supervised by Minor White; it was Sommer's first full monograph (his work had been published there going back to 1956). He considered it his best. As White explained in a letter to Sommer, it was to serve as both a catalogue to a February 1963 exhibition in Chicago as well as Aperture's ‘standard’ quarterly issue. Sommer was responsible for all aspects of the text, design, image selection and sequencing (save for a brief editor's note by White). Writing in Roth's The Book of 101 Books, David Levi-Strauss says that with the exception of White's somewhat "quirky" text and David Campbell's portrait of Sommer, "this is an almost perfect monograph...Every two-page spread reveals something more about the images through their juxtaposition. And then there is the text. It is very unusual to have writing at this level, uninfected with either sentimentality or pomposity, from an American photographer, but what’s more unusual is to have an artist who makes images and text and can combine them in a way that deepens and extends the effects of each. This early enactment of Sommer's ideas about the workings of linguistic and pictorial logic is a gem."