The Book or 101 Books. Edited by Andrew Roth. Essays by Richard Benson, May Castleberry, Jeffrey Fraenkel, Daido Moriyama, Shelley Rice and Neville Wakefield. Catalogue entries by Vince Aletti and David Levi Strauss. PPP Editions, in association with Roth Horowitz, LLC., New York, 2001. 306 pp. Large quarto. Limited edition of 500 numbered copies, quarter bound silk, with debossed title on spine, with custom-made slipcase bound in silk. Includes author biographies and an index.
Some would say that the Golden Age in the market for fine 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 a history and commentary of considerable scholarly heft--with contributions by David Levi-Strauss, Vince Aletti, Neville Wakefield, Shelley Rice, and others--when compared to Parr and Badger's Martin Parr and Gerry Badger: The Photobook: A History Vol. I, 2004 and Vol. II, 2006--it is more an exercise in connoisseurship: an examination of a group of photobooks as selected by one individual, in an attempt to define the qualities that make these books great.