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Book Bag: Harry Gruyaert's 'Edges' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

25 April 2019

Magnum member Harry Gruyaert collected his images of oceans, seas and rivers where humans meet the edge of the shoreline and the water begins in a uniquely bound book whose edges themselves are worth noting.

Edges includes 89 images from the Dead Sea, the Niger River in Mali, the North Sea of Iceland, South Korea and Biarritz.

They are all presented in landscape format, which means (as the thumbnail shows) you hold the book in landscape orientation. The cover wraps around what is essentially a sewn-signature paperback attached to the back cover rather than the spine.

Some spreads are paired with an image on both the top and bottom pages. The printing was done in Italy using a standard halftone screen. The cover image is actually glued to the cover.

Edges are themselves an interesting theme. But we found it a bit difficult to focus on it conceptually. We kept looking at the images as if they needed decoding like fine art or exploration like street photography.

Spine. A paperback bound to a hardback cover.

We did like the variation haze provided. In some images, it predominated, while in others it could not obscure the skyline of a distant town. Most of the time the action is right in front of you on the promenade, motorbikes parked right at your feet. But sometimes you seem to be a bit away from the drama.

It's a meditative experience. You can linger on an image or flip through the book. You can compare the paired images or not. You can wonder over an obscure detail.

Spread. Some spreads are paired with images. Note the page numbers in the gutter.

Captions for the images are provided only on one page at the back of the book. Like the images, they're numbered so you'll have to jump back and forth to identify anything.

But, as we said, it's designed to be a meditative experience not a scholarly one.

The printing is a little heavy handed. Detail in the darks is obscured and the midtones themselves seem darkened too much. That doesn't ruin your appreciation of the composition, but it does require strong light to enjoy them.

Perhaps the sun. On the beach.

Harry Gruyaert: Edges by Harry Gruyaert, published by Thames & Hudson, 144 pages, $65.00 (or $40.41 at

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