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Mannikko, Esko (Photographer); Jaukkuri, Maaretta & Dault, Gary Michael (Contributors). ESKO MANNIKKO: MEXAS. Gothenburg, Sweden: Hasselblad Center/Esko Mannikko, 1999. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 80 pages. Fine.

Collection of color photographs. One of the most important photography books of the new century. The first and only edition. An elegant production by Esko Mannikko and Petri Kuokka: Oversize-volume format in oblong shape. Sturdy pale-blue pictorial hard boards with photographic reproduction pasted on cover and metallic-silver titles embossed on cover and spine, as issued. Photographs by Esko Mannikko. Essays by Maaretta Jaukkuri and Gary Michael Dault. Printed on thick uncoated stock paper in Finland to the very highest standards. Without DJ, as issued. Presents Esko Mannikko's photographs of Batesville and San Antonio, Texas. All of the American subjects are of Mexican descent. Hence Mannikko's clever conflation, "Mexas". Mannikko's lifelong subject, the decline of rural Finland (which is tenderly mirrored by the decline of rural America in this collection), is off-putting, even depressing, something people say they do not want in their lives, as if it were ugly or toxic, an accusation that the American writer Annie Proulx had to endure all the way to "Brokeback Mountain". This is ironic because Mannikko's work breathes whereas most contemporary art and photography are lifeless exercises in Mannerist cleverness. Mannikko is a Classicist, a rarity in our shallow "post-modern" art world. It is important to be reminded that in a world saturated and choking with derivative images from glossy magazines, he is the real, original thing, a great artist: His impeccable compositional sense and formalist use of color as well as his aesthetic rigor and faultless eye are not just "world-class". They set Mannikko apart from other living photographers, and make him an artist in a class of his own. Mainstream recognition of his genius is long overdue. A "must-have" title for Esko Mannikko collectors. This copy is prominently and beautifully signed in blue fountain pen on the title page by Esko Mannikko. This is an Import title, had a very small print run, and is now very difficult to find. This is one of extremely few signed copies still available online and is in fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. A rare signed copy thus. 50 color plates. Esko Mannikko's "Naarashauki: The Female Pike" was selected as one of the greatest photography books in "The Photobook". One of the greatest living photographers. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER ESKO MANNIKKO TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 952910703X. $300.00

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