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Mike Mandel & Larry Sultan: Evidence (Third D.A.P. Reissue Edition)

Publisher: New York: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., 2017
Edition: 2nd Edition
Binding: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781942884149
Condition: New / New
Item #: 113179



2003/2017. Thrid D.A.P. reissue edition. Originally published in 1977 by Clatworthy Colorvues, Greenbrae, California. Hardcover. Blue cloth-like covered boards, with title stamped in gilt on front cover and spine, with dust jacket. Photographs from various private and public collections edited by Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan. Includes a list of government agencies, educational institutions and corporations that permitted access to their files. Essay by Sandra S. Philips. Afterword by Robert F. Forth. 92 pp., with 61 duotone plates, 18 black-and-white reproductions printed on a 2-page spread entitled 'Outtakes from Evidence, 1977-2003,' and 7 additional black-and-white reference illustrations. 9-1/4 x 10 inches.

This edition went out of print shortly after release.


New in publisher's shrink-wrap.


Before 1977, artists using photography usually made 'fine art photographs.' Museums and galleries, curators and collectors, increasingly embraced photography as an important medium. The contemporary art world was widening and refining its notions of 'art photography.' While practices and movements within the photographic arts were rapidly expanding and crossing into other media during the 60s and 70s, the constant at this time was that the 'art photograph' (or work of art that incorporated photography) was made by an artist. Many important artists at the time, such as Robert Heinecken, used images from the mass media and other sources as key elements in their cutting-edge works. And, artists such as Ed Ruscha were using photographs in a way that minimized the importance of the individual images (i.e., the photographic images were in service to the larger conceptual work).

Then, Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan collaborated to publish 'Evidence,' and changed everything! With a brilliant sensibility for the absurd and a keen awareness of the complexity that the single image possesses when viewed outside its original context, Mandel and Sultan selected photographs from thousands of images that previously existed solely within the boundaries of the industrial, scientific, governmental and other institutional sources from which they were mined. Some of the photographs are hilarious, others are perplexing, but it's in their isolation from their original context that these images take on meanings that address the confluence of industry and corporate mischief, ingenuity and pseudo-science. The resulting book, 'Evidence,' strongly influenced our shifting awareness of 'the photograph' and introduced the importance of the 'found image' in art. The finished and provocative collection forever altered how we view images.

Of course, we are now much more aware of multiple meanings images can evoke when viewed outside of a proscribed context. Before 'Evidence,' however, this was not... well, as evident. This book, unlike collections of "snapshot" photographs, forced the viewer to imagine that the larger world was using the camera to document dubious practices and alarming, amusing, and confusing experiments in the name of government. The 'photograph as art' question took on an entirely new perspective, and the world could never [seriously] look back. If borrowed from corporate-speak, a caption for 'Evidence' might be 'a paradigm shift' for photography. [Also included with the book is a copy of the planned introduction by Robert Heinecken, which was subsequently not published in the book, but was printed in the May-June 1977 issue of Afterimage.]

From the publisher: "In 1977, photographers Larry Sultan (1946–2009) and Mike Mandel (born 1950) published a book that would radically transform both photography and the photobook canon—a book described by Martin Parr, in The Photobook: A History, as "one of the most beautiful, dense and puzzling photobooks in existence, an endless visual box of tricks." Sultan and Mandel sifted through thousands of photographs in the files of the Bechtel Corporation, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, the US Department of the Interior, Stanford Research Institute and a hundred other corporations, American government agencies and educational, medical and technical institutions. They were looking for photographs that were made and used as transparent documents and purely objective instruments--as evidence, in short.

Selecting 59 of the best, they published these images with the care you would expect to find in a high-quality art photography book, issuing them in 1977 in a simple, limited-edition volume titled Evidence.

Long established as a photobook classic and a seminal example of conceptual photography, Evidence was reissued as a facsimile edition in 2004 by D.A.P. with a new spread of images and a group of black-and-white illustrations selected by the artists from an archive of photographs that were not included in the original book, plus a commissioned essay by Sandra Phillips. Today both this reissue and the original 1977 publication are exceptionally rare and command high prices. D.A.P. now reprints the 2004 edition of Evidence, making available to a general readership a truly pioneering and canonical photobook."