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Williams, Michael; Cahan, Richard & Osborn, Nicholas (Editor/Authors). WHO WE WERE: A SNAPSHOT HISTORY OF AMERICA. Chicago, IL: Cityfiles Press, 2008. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 250 pages. As New/As New.

Retrospective collection of snapshot-photographs. One of the most evocatively beautiful photography books of our time. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. A brilliant production by Michael Williams and Richard Cahan: Oversize-volume format. Black cloth boards with white titles embossed on spine, as issued. Photographs by anonymous contributors. The beauty of the collection lies in the fact that almost all of the photographers are unknown. Printed on pristine-white, thick coated stock paper in the United States to the highest standards. In pictorial DJ with titles on the cover and spine, as issued. Presents "Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America". Gripping, "spot-on", touching vernacular photographs by amateur photographers. "Since the first snapshots were taken in 1888, Americans have used simple, inexpensive cameras to record their life-stories. In the process, they have left behind hundreds of millions of snapshots that document the story of America. For the first time, the best of these personal photographs have been gathered together to tell the nation's history. Forms the first people's photo-history of America: The Wright Brothers, the World Wars, Woodstock. They are all here, creating a crazy quilt of steamships and biplanes, migrants and flappers, seal clubbers and suffragettes. This is who we were and who we are" (Publisher's blurb). The collection draws to a close at the near-century mark, in 1972, with one of the greatest photographs ever taken in the medium's history: A snapshot that Apollo 16 astronaut Charles M. Duke took of his family's vintage snapshot, which he "placed" on the moon's surface, as if to signify that, through him, his family also made it on the moon. A simple yet inspired gesture, the image evokes, once again, photography's singular magic and mystique. The authors are right to exclude the digital cellphone camera altogether because the "selfie" (and ALL other digital-camera variants that emanate from it) is another story. It is nothing less (and nothing more) than a different way of photographic seeing: About oneself in relation to oneself and to others, though not necessarily other Americans, history, or the nation. An absolute "must-have" title for photography book collectors. This title is a contemporary photography book classic. This is one of few copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: Copies available online have serious flaws ("Very Good") because they have been pored over. A scarce copy thus. 370 plates. Some of the most beautiful photographs of our time. A fine copy. . ISBN 097854501X. $50.00

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