The Contact Sheet provides a brief insight into the editing processes of forty international photographers by compiling their working contact sheets from shoots that have resulted in a single definitive or iconic image. The book’s layout is straightforward and the text on each of the photographers is concise, insightful and accessibly presented in four languages. The texts also contain short biographical information and descriptions on the photographer’s methodology and inspiration.
The works within The Contact Sheet are eclectically selected from fashion, fine art, architecture and photojournalism but images such as Robert Doisneau’s ‘Paris Lovers’ are hackneyed subject matter. One can quickly surmise that the inclusion of images like this was a deliberate strategy to lure in an audience and introduce them to a number of lesser-known contemporary photographers who are also included.
The contact sheets in the book are reproduced at their actual size, and unless you have a magnifying glass at hand it can be difficult to fully appreciate the smaller 35mm works, which appear miniscule. As a result, one tends to glance quickly over these smaller images and miss their nuances, which seems to defeat the purpose of the book. As a consolation to this factor, only thirteen out of the forty photography works within the book feature 35mm contact sheets, but the book would have benefited from a larger print or reproduction size.
The Contact Sheet is aimed at a broad audience with an initial curiosity about photography. As such the book’s condensed analysis would make a good starting point for a new reader who may be encouraged to delve further into the works of individual photographers. Contact Sheet is a novel concept offering a brief sketch and glimpse into photography practices.