“THESE ARE IMAGES WHICH HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, AND WHICH SAY IT SUCCESSFULLY”: VERY SCARCE FIRST EDITION ODE MARITIME, BOUBAT’S FIRST PHOTOBOOK, WITH OVER 40 PHOTOGRAPHIC PLATES, INCLUDING FIVE IN COLOR
BOUBAT, Édouard. Ode Maritime. (Tokyo): Heibonsha, (1957). Slim quarto, original photographic French wraps over stiff paper boards. $1700.
First edition of this scarce first photobook by Boubat, printed in Tokyo, the earliest appearance in book form of timeless photographs by this “marvelous photographer and a photographer of the marvelous” (Le Monde), with 45 images, including five in color, text in French and Japanese.
Having witnessed the brutality of WWII, French photographer Édouard Boubat (1923-99) vowed to photograph only “the beauty of life… His rule, ‘no bodies, no blood, no war,’ even earned him the nickname of peace correspondent, given to him by the French poet Jacques Prevert” (New York Times). Boubat began his impressive career in the late 1940s, traveling the world for the French magazine Réalités. When his photographs, along with those of Doisneau, Brassai and others, were shown at “the Photo League in New York, they drew an enthusiastic response from the New York Times critic: ‘Their French origin is unmistakable, marked by a subtlety, tolerance and understanding… these are images which have something to say, and which say it successfully… Boubat possessed, to the highest level, that great skill-the art of meeting people” (Frizot, 624-6). In Ode Maritime, this very scarce first photobook by Boubat, that talent and vision, which would make him “one of France’s most celebrated postwar photographers,” is visible in these evocative images of life in a Portuguese fishing village (New York Times). First edition, published in Japan, with text in French and Japanese. With commentary by critic Bernard George and essay by Boubat.
A fine copy.